RICHMOND, MAY 30 -- Gov. L. Douglas Wilder, who promised during his campaign last year that he would be Virginia's "drug czar" as well as its governor, announced today that he will do without the help of the state's top legal officer on his anti-drug advisory board.
For the last four years, Attorney General Mary Sue Terry has been chairman of the high-profile Governor's Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse Problems. But Wilder replaced Terry, a fellow Democrat, and the council's 18 other appointees who served under his Democratic predecessor, Gerald L. Baliles.
Wilder said the state law creating the council calls for its chairman to be selected from the "public at large," and he felt that Terry, as a prominent elected official, didn't fit that description.
In her place, Wilder named Martinsville lawyer Robert A. Williams, a former civil rights lawyer in the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office.
Terry and Wilder were political rivals before Terry announced in 1988 that she wouldn't challenge Wilder, then lieutenant governor, for last year's Democratic gubernatorial nomination. But Wilder said his decision not to reappoint her was not intended as a slap, and he was confident Terry didn't take it that way.
"She accepted it most graciously," Wilder said.
Wilder said he was impressed with Terry's emphasis on drug education and law enforcement, but repeated a pledge he made frequently in last fall's campaign: "The buck will stop with me in my administration, that I will be the anti-drug czar."
"I support the governor," Terry said in a statement. "I'm proud of the work the governor's council has done over the last four years. And I look forward to working with the new council."
Among those appointed today by Wilder are two people well-known in Northern Virginia political circles: Linda T. "Toddy" Puller, campaign manager for Fairfax County Board Chairman Audrey Moore in 1987 and an unsuccessful Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates last fall, and Wiley F. Mitchell, a former Republican state senator from Alexandria who now lives in Hampton Roads and is general counsel for the Norfolk Southern Railroad.
Wilder also announced that several programs would divide about $2.2 million the state will get in federal funds this July, including a drug education program for youth, known as "DARE," that is a pet project of Terry's and will receive $284,000. Other programs being financed will focus on fighting drugs in housing projects and rural areas and educating police officers, businesses and universities about how to combat narcotics.