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Former Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris running for House of Delegates

Former Charlottesville Mayor Dave Norris has returned to politics.

Norris announced in a Facebook post on Thursday afternoon he is running for the 54th District seat in Virginia’s House of Delegates.

“I have a track record of getting good things done for the community,” Norris, who served as mayor from January 2008 until January 2012, told The Daily Progress.

Norris will be campaigning for the seat currently held by fellow Democrat Sally Hudson. 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 said that after Hudson’s announcement, district residents began encouraging him to run.

“The opportunity presented itself, with Sally Hudson stepping up to run for Senate,” Norris said. “I’ve continued to be engaged in the community even though I’ve been out of elected office.”

Norris said his campaign and any future career in the House will prioritize reproductive freedom, affordable housing, economic opportunity, environmental issues, education and mental health care reform.

Those priorities are not unlike the “track record of accomplishments” during his time as mayor that Norris lists on his personal website, a list that includes “affordable housing, environmental sustainability, youth opportunities, fiscal stewardship, and upgrades to the Downtown Mall, City parks and other public infrastructure.”

Norris, 52, is today 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 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.

In March of 2016, he was hired to be general manager of the Charlottesville Parking Center, which operates city-owned parking facilities downtown. City officials at the time questioned Norris’ qualifications for the job, arguing that he did not have six months of experience in parking management.

That year was a rocky time in the relationship between the city and the company. The same month Norris was hired, the Charlottesville Parking Center sued the city, claiming the city had kept rates at the Water Street Parking Garage below market rate. The city countersued a month later claiming breach of contract when CPC purchased 106 spaces in the parking garage.

Norris told The Daily Progress that during his tenure at the Charlottesville Parking Center he served as a lead negotiator on a deal between the city and Charlottesville Parking Center that resulted in “the dismissal of lawsuits and a mutually-agreed plan for managing the parking garages moving forward.”

Norris left the Charlottesville Parking Center in 2018 and served as redevelopment authority at the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority before starting his job at the Piedmont Housing Alliance.

In addition to his other leadership positions, Norris also has served as executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Central Blue Ridge, executive director of the People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry group, associate director of Madison House, interim director of the Public Housing Association of Residents, founding director of the Connecting People to Jobs Initiative and coordinator of the Virginia Economic Development Corporation’s Micro Loan Program for low-income, minority and female entrepreneurs.

Norris has also served on a number of boards and commissions including the Monticello Area Community Action Agency, Public Housing Association of Residents Advisory Board, Westhaven Nursing Clinic Coalition, Thomas Jefferson Area Coalition for the Homeless and Jefferson Area Board of Aging 2020 Community Plan for Aging.

Norris is a graduate of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Charlottesville program and the Quality Community Council’s Explorations in Excellence leadership development program.

Norris was named one of the Distinguished Dozen by The Daily Progress in 2005 for his leadership and service to the Charlottesville community.

Sally Hudson, whom Norris aims to replace, said she welcomes Norris’ addition to the field of Democratic candidates who have already announced they are running in the party’s primary.

“I’m so glad to see a strong field of candidates,” Hudson told The Daily Progress on Thursday. “Democracy thrives when voters have options, and the winner will serve better having worked hard to earn support from every corner of our community.”

Albemarle County School Board member Katrina Callsen, former Charlottesville Democrats co-chair Dashad Cooper and former Mayor Dave Brown have all filed to run. Police Civilian Oversight Board member Bellamy Brown has also announced he would run for the seat on Facebook but has not yet filed paperwork, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.

Norris said he welcomes the competition.

“Competition is good,” he said. “At the end of the day, not to be cliché, but it’s up to the voters to decide.”

The voters will decide on June 20.


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