Former Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney formally announced his candidacy for Richmond Mayor Thursday morning.
“I’m running for mayor because Richmond is on the rise, but we are at a crossroads and frankly, I think we just can’t accept more of the same in City Hall,” Stoney told a gaggle of reporters near Battery Park Thursday morning. “I think we are ready, and in need, of a new, dynamic leader, someone who is going to bring new energy, new ideas and a new approach to City Hall.”
Stoney, 35, was the youngest member of Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration. During his time as Secretary of the Commonwealth, he restored the voting rights of more than 18,000 people convicted of felonies. He resigned from his state post last week.
In a statement released prior to the press event, Stoney said that schools and school funding would be his top priority, adding that the issue was personal to him because he was the first in his family to graduate from high school.
He also committed to a comprehensive performance review and audit of all departments of city government within his first 100 days in office.
"I will be a hands-on, visible and transparent Mayor," he said in the statement. "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."
Prior to his role in state government, Stoney served as the deputy campaign manager of McAuliffe’s gubernatorial bid in 2013. He worked for the state’s wing of the Democratic Party from 2006 to 2009, including a stint as executive director. He has never held elected office.
Stoney has retained Hannah Burke as his campaign manager and Matt Corridoni as his press secretary. Burke served as the deputy finance director of Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s short-lived presidential bid. She was paid more than $10,000 for her work as a field organizer on McAuliffe’s campaign for governor, according to campaign finance records made available through the Virginia Public Access Project. Corridoni, too, worked for O’Malley's presidential campaign.
Stoney joins City Council President Michelle Mosby, West End councilman Jon Baliles, former councilman Bruce Tyler, former delegate Joe Morrissey, former Venture Richmond executive Jack Berry, community strategist Lillie A. Estes, architect Lawrence Williams, businessman Brad Froman, activists Alan Schintzius and Rick Tatnall, Richmond Public Schools teacher Chad Ingold and former VCU student Nate Peterson.
Asked whether he's prepared to withstand attacks from his fellow candidates, Stoney replied, “I have thick skin. I’ve been engaged in public service for a number of years now. But leave the nastiness to the side, what people want to hear about is the future of Richmond, and where we’re going next.”