Former Secretary of the Commonwealth announces run for Richmond mayor

(Photo: Stoney for RVA)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC/AP) — Levar Stoney, the former Secretary of the Commonwealth, announced Thursday morning that he plans to run for mayor of the City of Richmond.

Stoney submitted his resignation letter to Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday, April 15.

As secretary of the Commonwealth, Stoney served as the Cabinet official who assists the governor in making some 4,000 appointments to state boards and commissions. The office also oversees the restoration of felons’ voting rights.

McAuliffe said in a statement that Stoney served with integrity and compassion. He said he looks forward to Stoney’s continued work to make Virginia and his community a better place to live.

Stoney released a statement of candidacy, which you can read in full below:

I am running for Mayor of Richmond because our city is on the rise, but we find ourselves at a crossroads. We cannot afford to have more of the same in City Hall. We need a new leader who will harness our momentum. We need a leader with new ideas, a new approach, and new energy — for a new Richmond.

Schools will be my top priority. Money in our schools is money in our pockets. But it isn’t just about economics—it is the right thing to do. I was the first in my family to graduate from high school—this is personal to me—we need to ensure that each and every child in the city of Richmond has a ladder to opportunity, and a foundation for success.

We have made great strides in public safety, but we must continue to commit our energy to drastically reducing gun crime until all neighborhoods are safe havens for families to live, work and go to school.

None of these things will get done without a fresh approach to city government.

I will be a hands-on, visible and transparent Mayor. I will promote collaboration across departments. I will promote diversity and I will motivate staff to get things done. I will be the champion of accountability. We will measure our outputs as well as our inputs, and the buck will stop with me.

In my first 100 days as Mayor, I commit to a comprehensive performance review and audit of all departments of city government, and it will be the top priority of my first term to execute those recommendations.

I am the product of kids having kids–my mom was 16 and my father was 19. Raised by my grandmother, I grew up on free and reduced lunch. Not only was I the first in my family to earn a high school diploma, but the first in my family to attend and graduate college. When I graduated, I moved to Richmond to pursue a career in public service.

I rose through the ranks from Fellow in then-Governor Mark Warner’s office to becoming the first African American Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia. There, I ran the largest, oldest, most public-facing office of the Governor’s cabinet. I was the driving force behind restoring civil and voting rights to more than 18,000 Virginians.

I was instrumental in forming Governor McAuliffe’s cabinet. A cabinet that has worked with the private sector to help attract over 150,000 jobs to Virginia and record the lowest unemployment rate since 2008.

I have first-hand experience of what government can do when it is firing on all cylinders. The people of Richmond are ready to take the city to the next level, but we will not get there with the status quo.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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