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Former Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris launches House of Delegates campaign

Former Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris officially kicked off his campaign for the 54th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“Sally Hudson leaves big shoes to fill, but I decided to try and take a stab at filling them,” Norris told The Daily Progress at his campaign launch party Sunday.

Hudson announced in November she would not be running for another term and would instead run for the state Senate seat in the 11th District, long represented by Democratic state Sen. Creigh Deeds as part of the redistricted 25th District.

Norris, who served as Charlottesville’s mayor from 2008 until 2011, said if elected he would continue his work on affordable housing.

“That’s a huge issue in our community, both in the city and in the county,” Norris said. “I’m trying to do more to help people who do the hard work of making this community function be able to actually live here.”

He said he wanted to put more money in the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, which creates and preserves affordable housing.

Norris also proposed a mental health care reform he dubbed the Virginia Community Mental Health Corps.

“That’s going to infuse our communities, our schools, our shelters with a new legion of trained mental health support workers that are community based and prevention oriented,” Norris said.

Another priority is creating more economic opportunity for people in the 54th District.

“We have a lot of residents that have been passed off from the mainstream financial system. So I’m proposing creating a statewide credit repair loan fund to help people get caught up on some of their debts,” Norris said.

The primary field is already crowded. Albemarle County School Board Chair Katrina Callsen, former Charlottesville Democrats co-chair Dashad Cooper, former Police Civilian Oversight Board member Bellamy Brown and former Mayor Dave Brown have all announced their campaigns.

Norris made his case for why voters should choose him.

“I’ve been in the trenches fighting for these issues for almost 30 years both wearing my hat as a public servant, but also I have a long career in the nonprofit sector here,” Norris said. “I have the experience, I have the vision, I have the energy.”

Norris, 52, is the manager of the Financial Opportunity Center + Housing Hub at the Piedmont Housing Alliance, a nonprofit group based in Albemarle County that provides housing, counseling, community development and management services to low-income communities. He also offers his services as a wedding officiant via his website

Born in Fort Belvoir, his father’s career in the military took Norris and his family overseas. Norris graduated from high school in Stuttgart, Germany, and later attended Curry College in Massachusetts, where he received a bachelor’s in politics and history, and the College of William & Mary, where he received a master’s degree in government.

In 1994, Norris moved to Charlottesville, and in 2006, he was elected for the first time to City Council.

Norris would win reelection to City Council in 2009 and served as mayor for three years before announcing in January 2013 that he would not seek a third term.

The primary election will be held June 20.


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