RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Former felon Chuck Richardson announced Tuesday evening that he will be running for Richmond’s 5th District City Council seat after Parker Agelasto announced his resignation earlier this year.
“These potholes, the sewer lines...We need to play more of a direct role in fixing up these schools and stop getting excuses," Richardson said.
Agelasto announced his resignation in April after he had come under fire for moving out of that district but remaining its representative. He was facing a lawsuit over the move and said in a statement he was resigning because of it.
Richardson is one of those filing a suit.
"If you resign because of that law this coming November, that means you’re sitting illegally today, in April, and you were sitting last June and you have been sitting illegally ever since you moved,” Richardson said earlier this year.
Now, the man who fought to get Agelasto out of office is running to replace him. Former councilman Chuck Richardson, who served from 1977 to 1995, and faced a public battle with drug addiction and arrests, says he’s now fit to sit on council again.
“I was good at resolving. I’ll go back there and do it again," he said Tuesday.
Richardson was banned from city politics after selling heroin to an undercover officer. Richardson’s rights - which include running for office - have since been restored. In fact, the Purple Heart recipient was the city’s longest serving councilman.
Richardson says he will also be an advocate against drug use.
“I’ve been. I’ve helped so many people discontinue the use of drugs. I’ve been in so many interventions...My experience has served as an asset now. I understand the problem. I don’t give lip service to it,” he said.
“We are a society now that is far more welcoming and supporting and encouraging of those who have been victims of addiction. We actually consider it a disease now. We treat it with morality and justice as our frameworks," said political analyst Dr. Ravi Perry.
Perry says Richardson’s checkered past may not be a roadblock.
“Generally voters want people who they think are what we say ‘stand up citizens.’ But we live in the Trump era now, and Trump has certainly introduced colorful candidates back to the American politics scene," Perry said.
But he says that doesn’t make Richardson a shoo-in.
“He’s going to have to convince us that he is a politician of 2019 and 2020, and not an old school politician of the 80s and 90s,” Perry said.
It’s a challenge Richardson seems ready to accept.
“There’s nothing wrong with adding a touch of experience, seniority and wisdom," Richardson said.
He enters the field against at least three other candidates who have filed so far. After voters choose their pick come November, the winner will serve the remainder of Councilman Parker Agelasto’s term - which expires at the end of 2020.
Richardson is now eligible to run for office after Governor Terry McAuliffe’s historic restoration of rights, allowing over 200,000 former felons to regain the right to vote and run for public office.
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