Levar Stoney

Levar Marcus Stoney (born March 20, 1981) is an American politician from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the 80th mayor of Richmond, Virginia. He served as the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2014 through 2016, the youngest member of Governor Terry McAuliffe's administration.[1]

Levar Stoney
Levar Stoney.jpg
80th Mayor of Richmond
Assumed office
January 1, 2017
Preceded byDwight Jones
Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia
In office
January 17, 2014 – April 15, 2016
GovernorTerry McAuliffe
Preceded byJanet Vestal Kelly
Succeeded byKelly Thomasson
Personal details
Born
Levar Marcus Stoney

(1981-03-20) March 20, 1981 (age 40)
Nassau County, New York, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
EducationJames Madison University (BA)
Signature
WebsiteGovernment website

Early and personal lifeEdit

Stoney was born on Long Island, New York. When he was seven years old, he moved with his younger brother to Virginia's Hampton Roads area.[2][3] His parents never married; Stoney and his siblings were raised by their father (who supported the family via various low-wage jobs, and eventually became a high school janitor) and grandmother (a retired domestic worker).[4]

At Tabb High School in Tabb, Virginia, Stoney became quarterback on the school's football team, and also president of the student body (as he had in elementary and middle school).[5] Stoney graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, in 2004. He was the first African-American male elected president of the student government,[6] and involved with the school's chapter of the College Democrats.[7]

In 2016, Stoney divorced his wife of four years.[4]

CareerEdit

In the summer of 2004, Stoney served as a Governor's Fellow in Mark Warner's administration.[4] Stoney then worked as an organizer in John Kerry's 2004 presidential campaign as well as for the Democratic National Committee and the Democratic Party of Wisconsin in a get out the vote effort. Five of his colleagues were later charged with slashing the tires of a van meant to be used to drive Republican voters to the polls. Stoney initially lied to police claiming he had no knowledge about the incident. He later admitted to FBI investigators that he was present in the Democratic campaign offices after his colleagues came in to brag about slashing the tires. Stoney then went on to testify against his colleagues and fully cooperated with law enforcement. After questioning during a committee meeting with Virginia Republican lawmakers about his indiscretion, it was accepted as "an isolated, youthful mistake."[8][9][10]

During the 2005 Virginia Attorney General election Stoney worked for Creigh Deeds, who narrowly lost.[11] Stoney then worked for the Democratic Party of Virginia from 2006 to 2009, first as political director and then executive director.[12] In this role, he worked extensively with President Barack Obama's successful 2008 presidential campaign.[6]

In 2011, after losing his father, who (with his grandmother) had supported his political involvement (and after Creigh Deeds lost the 2009 Virginia gubernatorial race to Republican Bob McDonnell), Stoney began working as a consultant at Green Tech, an automotive company run by Terry McAuliffe (who had lost to Deeds in the 2009 Democratic gubernatorial primary).[4] The following year Stoney began working with McAuliffe's 2013 gubernatorial campaign, as deputy campaign manager, under campaign manager Robby Mook.[13] When McAuliffe won, Stoney became deputy director of the gubernatorial transition team, during which McAuliffe described Stoney as his "closest adviser."[14]

McAuliffe appointed Stoney as Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia on November 18, 2013.[14] Following confirmation by the Virginia General Assembly, he took office on January 17, 2014.

As Secretary of the Commonwealth, Stoney championed efforts for the restoration of voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences, an effort begun under Governor Bob McDonnell and accelerated under Governor McAuliffe.[15][16] Stoney said that "once you have served your time and paid your due, we still should not be punishing you years afterwards. Instead, we should find ways to give that individual an opportunity to better themselves and to contribute to society."[15]

Mayor of RichmondEdit

Dwight Clinton Jones could not run for re-election as mayor of Richmond because of a two-term limit.[4] Stoney became a candidate in the 2016 election to succeed him,[17] announcing his candidacy after resigning as Secretary of the Commonwealth.[18][19]

Stoney won the election over Jack Berry, 36% to 34%, with Joe Morrissey in third place.[20][21] Shortly after the election, Mayor-elect Stoney named Tiffany Jana and Bill Leighty as co-chairs of his transition team, with University of Richmond professor Thad Williamson named as director.[22]

Stoney was sworn into office on December 31, 2016. At 35 years of age, he became Richmond's youngest elected mayor.[4] In March 2019 Mayor Stoney proposed a nine-cent per $100 assessed value real estate tax hike. He also proposed adding a 50-cent tax on packages of cigarettes.[23]

Tear-gassing incidentEdit

In June 2020, in response to the murder of George Floyd, a peaceful protest assembled in Richmond at the Robert E. Lee Statue on Monument Avenue. Police responded by tear gasing the crowd before curfew and without warning. The response was widespread in its criticism of law enforcement officers and local government, including Stoney. The police initially issued a statement defending their use of tear gas, stating: "To our peaceful protestors: We are sorry we had to deploy gas near the Lee Monument. Some RPD officers in that area were cut off by violent protestors. The gas was necessary to get them to safety." However, after video footage from several people at the protests was released which contradicted the police's statement showing no signs of violence, the police responded with a tweet apologizing for tear gassing the crowd of peaceful protesters, stating that the Chief of police "apologizes for this unwarranted action. These officers have been pulled from the field. They will be disciplined because their actions were outside dept protocols and directions given."[24][25] Stoney responded by showing up to another protest, apologizing to the crowd for violating their rights.[24]

Electoral historyEdit

2016 Richmond, Virginia mayoral election[26]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Levar Stoney 35,525 35.64
Democratic Jack Berry 33,447 33.56
Independent Joe Morrissey 20,995 21.06
Democratic Michelle Mosby 5,792 5.81
Democratic Jon Baliles 2,230 2.24
Independent Lawrence Williams 543 0.54
Republican Bruce Tyler 500 0.50
Independent Bobby Junes 381 0.38
Write-in 255 0.26
Total votes 99,668 100
Democratic hold
2020 Richmond, Virginia mayoral election[27]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Levar Stoney 41,145 37.72
Democratic Alexsis Rodgers 28,885 26.48
Democratic Kimberly Gray 28,478 26.11
Republican M. Justin Griffin 7,786 7.14
Independent Michael Gilbert (withdrawn) 1,473 1.35
Democratic Tracey McLean 1,099 1.01
Write-in 220 0.20
Total votes 109,086 100
Democratic hold

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Biography". Commonwealth of Virginia. Archived from the original on November 2, 2014.
  2. ^ "Levar Stoney Named Executive Director of Va. Dems". Fourth Estate. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  3. ^ "Pep talk launches College Application Week". The Record Online. Retrieved May 21, 2015.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Oliver, Ned (December 31, 2016). "Levar Stoney, Richmond's youngest elected mayor, took office Sunday: Here's how he got there". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  5. ^ "Stoney, Tabb Punish Weak Greensville". Daily Press. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  6. ^ a b "James Madison University - Levar Stoney ('04)". www.jmu.edu. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  7. ^ "JMU Madison Magazine - Summer '09 Issue - 0024". Virtual Paper. Archived from the original on June 23, 2016. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  8. ^ "Democratic campaigners testify against their comrades in tire-slashing case - CourtTV.com - Trials". October 23, 2008. Archived from the original on October 23, 2008. Retrieved July 29, 2016.CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  9. ^ "Five Charged in Tire Slashing Incident". WisPolitics.com. Archived from the original on August 17, 2016. Retrieved July 29, 2016.
  10. ^ "Virginia Republicans on panel play nice with Levar Stoney".
  11. ^ "Virginia Republicans on panel play nice with Levar Stoney". Washington Post. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  12. ^ "McAuliffe names Brown, Reagan, Denslow, Stoney to posts". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  13. ^ Alexander Burns. "McAuliffe taps Mook, Stoney to lead campaign". POLITICO. Retrieved November 5, 2014.
  14. ^ a b Wiggins, Ovetta (November 18, 2013). "Virginia Gov.-elect McAuliffe chooses veteran Democrats for key Cabinet appointments". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  15. ^ a b "Commonwealth secretary talks about efforts to restore voting rights". NewsAdvance.com. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  16. ^ "In Charlottesville talk, Secretary Stoney says rights restoration has a ways to go". The Daily Progress. Retrieved November 9, 2015.
  17. ^ "Richmond could see a competitive mayor's race in 2016 | OUR OPINION". richmond.com. April 25, 2015. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  18. ^ Small, Leah (April 21, 2016). "Holdout Candidate Levar Stoney Joins Crowded Race for Richmond Mayor | Scrum". Styleweekly.com. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  19. ^ [1][dead link]
  20. ^ https://www.richmond.com/news/local/city-of-richmond/how-levar-stoney-appears-to-have-pieced-together-a-surprise/article_abbc80b4-6f78-50ee-8954-b1123d7f0cca.html
  21. ^ "Levar Stoney leading 5 districts in Richmond mayoral race". wtvr.com. Retrieved November 9, 2016.
  22. ^ "Richmond Times Dispatch [Friday, Nov 11, 2016]". www.richmond.com. Retrieved November 12, 2016.
  23. ^ Robinson, mark. "Stoney proposes 9-cent hike to Richmond's real estate tax rate, 50-cent tax on cigarettes". Richmond Times Dispatch. Retrieved March 15, 2019.
  24. ^ a b "Protestors call on Stoney for answers after being tear-gassed Monday: 'Where were you'". ABC 8 News. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  25. ^ "Tear gas deployed on protesters on Monument Avenue". NBC 29. Retrieved October 25, 2020.
  26. ^ "Citywide Election Results, 2016". Richmond, Virginia Government. Retrieved November 11, 2016.[permanent dead link]
  27. ^ "2020 November General Official Results". Virginia Board of Elections. Retrieved December 3, 2020.

External linksEdit

Political offices
Preceded by Secretary of Virginia
2014–2016
Succeeded by
Preceded by Mayor of Richmond
2017–present
Incumbent