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Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
The Papers of Peter Kostas Babalas
Peter Kostas Babalas, son of Kostas Babalas and Katherine B., was born July 8, 1922, in Boston, MA and grew up in Cambridge, MA. He attended a vocational high school and went on to receive an A.B. degree in economics from Harvard College in 1945. His college work was interrupted by service in the armed forces of the United States during World War II.
In 1948 he married Lillie Macheras of Lexington. They became the parents of two daughters, Marcia A. and Karen E. He received an L.L.B. degree from the University of Virginia Law School in 1950 and began the the practice of law in Norfolk, VA. In 1951, he opened the law firm of Peter K. Babalas & Assoc., PC. In the late 1960's, he left the firm to start a general private practice with his wife as his paralegal.
Babalas' record of military service began in 1942. On September 8, 1942, he enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the V-5 Program, US Naval Reserve, and served until March 5, 1943. Two weeks later he enlisted as a Private in the Army and was sent to the Anti-aircraft Military School, Camp Davis, NC, and served until January 26, 1944, during which period he became a First Lieutenant. The next day, January 27, 1944, he began service in the 423rd Infantry and was discharged on June 7, 1946. Recalled during the Korean Conflict, he served in the army from February 1951 to May 12, 1952. From that date he remained as a First Lieutenant in the US Army Reserve until April 1, 1953, when he was honorably discharged. His various commands included the European Theater of Operations where he received the ETO Medal with 4 Battle Stars.
Babalas became a Virginia State Senator representing the 5th District Norfolk in 1967. He served the consolidated 5th, 6th, and 7th Senatorial Districts of Norfolk City and Virginia Beach City from 1968 until his death in 1987. He rose through the ranks of the state Democratic Party to become chairman of the powerful Senate Rules Committee. He was also a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee and thus a participant in the budget-writing process. His papers indicate that he also chaired the following committees: VALC Committee on Virginia Port Authority, Joint Subcommittee on Banking, and VALC Industrial Development and Revenue Bond Study. He is remembered in particular for his work in unifying the Hampton Roads ports and championing the causes of his constituents. He was also known throughout his political career, as well as in his personal life, as a scrapper.
When Babalas returned to the General Assembly at its session on January 9, 1986, he was accused by the Senate Ethics Advisory Panel "of violating two sections of the conflict-of-interest law last year by casting votes that benefited one of his clients, Landbank Equity Corp." (quoting Atty. Gen. William G. Broaddus, Virginia-Pilot, January 9, 1986). In that same month he became the first member of the Virginia General Assembly to be censured by his colleagues for unethical conduct. After several months of study and deliberation, a news item appeared on August 15, 1986, stating that "State Senator Peter K. Babalas of Norfolk was acquitted the preceding Thursday [August 14, 1986], on charges that he violated the Virginia conflict-of-interest act, even though Circuit Judge Thomas N. Vance said Babalas had a personal interest at stake when he helped defeat a bill last year" (Virginian-Pilot).
In addition to being a member of the Virginia State Senate, Babalas was also a member of numerous other organizations: Greek Orthodox Church, Saints and Sinners, Masonic Lodges to Shrine (Khedive), Elks, Civitan, Knights of Pythias, American Legion, Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, American Bar Association, Virginia Bar Association, and Norfolk-Portsmouth Bar Association.
He died on December 29, 1987, in Virginia Beach, VA, after a near decade-long battle with myeloma.
SCOPE AND CONTENTS
The Babalas Papers spans the years 1943-1979, and deal primarily with his legislative duties as a Virginia State Senator. The legislative files include speeches, copies of bills introduced, correspondence, news releases, news clippings, and studies that chiefly relate to banking legislation, Industrial Development and Revenue Bond Act, Pari-Mutuel Betting, and studies concerning the port of Hampton Roads. Other materials include the platform released during his campaign for the State Senate in 1965, and his military discharge papers.
Gift of Peter Kostas Babalas, April 28, 1977
Open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.
Consists of 0.75 shelf feet in two (2) Hollinger Document Cases
MG - 17
Series I - Legislative Files
Folder 1 Independent Bankers Association. House Bill No. 1285
Folder 1 VALC Committee to Study Industrial Development & Revenue Bond Act. Correspondence, 1977.
Series II - Personal Papers
Folder 7 Platform speeches as candidate for State Senate, 1965. Resume of Esten Corbell Jones