Meet Virginia's new First Lady Pam Northam

Published: Jan. 7, 2018 at 8:07 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 8, 2018 at 9:10 PM EST
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As Governor-elect Ralph Northam will be inaugurated on Saturday, Virginia is also getting a new First Lady and First Family.

Pam and Ralph Northam have shared a love for children and education since they met. It's what the First Lady plans to make her platform.

"Ralph and I understand the need for early childhood development and that's where I think I'm going to really work, and providing more access to quality early childhood, whether it's care or education, all the things that are involved," said Pam Northam while visiting a school recently in Virginia Beach.

Pam and Ralph met while they were both training for their careers in San Antonio, Texas. She told the story while campaigning for her husband last year, saying a mutual friend was trying to set Ralph up at a pool party.

"She said she'd set us up, so I went on what I thought was a blind date and when I got there it was a pool party with twenty other women.  But I persisted and I got the rose!" Pam quipped.

Pam reportedly fell for Ralph, according to, when he made a feeding apparatus to save her cat's sickly kitten, Lamont.  In fact, since marrying in 1987, the couple has taken in several stray and rescue animals as pets.

They currently have a tabby cat named Odysseus and a black lab named Murphy, who will be the Mansion's official greeter.

The Northams' son Wes is completing his residency in neurosurgery at UNC-Chapel Hill, following the footsteps of his father who is a pediatric neurologist.  Their daughter Aubrey works as a web developer in Richmond.

Pam Northam has worked as a pediatric occupational therapist, an elementary school teacher, and a high school biology teacher. She's also been an education advocate and environmentalist, working for Lynnhaven River NOW.

She wore both hats at another recent school visit in a YouTube video.

"I wanted these children to think about STEM careers, science careers, technology, engineering, mathematics.  They all have within them what's important for those careers in the future," she said.

Pam Northam says she's received advice from outgoing First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, as the two have become friends over the years.

"She's a great teacher, she's given me all the great pointers and I can only hope to aspire to what she's done," said Pam.

Pam and Ralph Northam will host an open house at the Executive Mansion on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.  It's open to the public.  Pam Northam will also host the First Lady Brunch on Sunday at the Jefferson, which is a ticketed event.

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