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8 candidates vying for Agelasto’s City Council seat

Jeremy M. Lazarus | 8/23/2019, 6 a.m.
And the race is on. Eight people successfully qualified to compete for the 5th District seat on Richmond City Council ...

And the race is on.

Eight people successfully qualified to compete for the 5th District seat on Richmond City Council from which Councilman Parker C. Agelasto plans to resign on Nov. 30.

According to the Richmond Voter Registrar’s Office, the list of candidates who cleared the filing hurdles and are approved to run in the special election set for Nov. 5 are:

• Nicholas Da Silva, a community organizer.

• Stephanie Lynch, director of government affairs, strategy and development for the nonprofit Good Neighbor, which provides mental health and disability services.

• Jer’Mykeal McCoy, a Schutt Sports business development manager and president of the Urban League of Greater Richmond Young Professionals.

• The Rev. Robin D. Mines, associate minister at Hood Temple AME Zion Church.

• Henry W. “Chuck” Richardson, who previously represented the 5th District on City Council from 1977 to 1995.

• Graham Sturm, an Armstrong High School history teacher.

• Mamie L. Taylor, who represented the 5th District on the Richmond School Board from 2013 to 2016.

• Dr. Thaddeus “Thad” Williamson, a University of Richmond professor who launched the city’s Office of Community Wealth Building and served as an adviser to Mayor Levar M. Stoney.

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Mr. Agelasto

Councilman Agelasto, whose resignation was forced because he moved out of the 5th District, said he has not endorsed anyone, but is proud of the field that has emerged. He noted the candidates reflect the “wonderful diversity of the district I represent.”

The district straddles the James River and includes Carytown, parts of The Fan and Virginia Commonwealth University, Byrd Park, City Stadium, Randolph, Maymont and Oregon Hill north of the river and Spring Hill, Swansboro, Woodland Heights, areas along Reedy Creek and neighborhoods in and around George Wythe High School south of the river.

Amid the crowded field, Dr. Williamson is regarded as the putative front-runner.

He has raised about $10,000 to fuel his campaign, or far more than the rest of the field — although this will largely be a shoe-leather, door-knocking campaign.

The biggest issue for the candidates could be their position on Mayor Stoney’s controversial proposal to replace the Richmond Coliseum in Downtown.

City Council is not expected to take up the issue until early next year, well after Mr. Agelasto steps down and his replacement takes the seat on Dec. 1 to fill the remaining13 months of Mr. Agelasto’s term that ends Dec. 31, 2020.

None of the candidates has yet endorsed the proposal.

Dr. Williamson has stated he would announce his position no later than Oct. 21 in response to a question from Activate Virginia, a nonprofit pushing to end political giving from utility companies and other major corporations. Some consider him a likely yes, given his ties to the mayor.

In response to the question, Mr. Da Silva stated he was flatly opposed. Mr. McCoy stated he had not yet taken a position, but added he is “very concerned about the city prioritizing this project when our schools are long overdue for substantial improvements.”