|80th Mayor of Richmond, Virginia|
December 31, 2016
|Dwight C. Jones|
|Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia|
January 17, 2014 - April 15, 2016
|Janet Vestal Kelly|
|Born||Levar Marcus Stoney
March 20, 1981
Long Island, New York, U.S.
|Alma mater||James Madison University|
Levar Marcus Stoney (born March 20, 1981) is an American politician from the Commonwealth of Virginia and the 80th and current mayor of Richmond, Virginia. He served as the Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia from 2014 through 2016, becoming the first African American to serve in this role and the youngest member of Governor Terry McAuliffe's administration.
Stoney was born in Long Island, New York, and when 7 years old moved with his younger brother to Virginia's Hampton Roads area. 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).
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). In 2004 Stoney graduated from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia, where he was the first African-American male ever elected president of the Student Government, and involved with the school's College Democrats chapter.
In 2016 Stoney divorced his wife of four years.
In the summer following his graduation from James Madison University in 2004, Stoney served as a Governor's Fellow in Mark Warner's administration. 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 (as discussed below); then in the 2005 Virginia Attorney General election worked for Creigh Deeds, who narrowly lost.
Stoney then worked for the Democratic Party of Virginia from 2006 to 2009, first as political director and then executive director. In this role, he worked extensively with President Barack Obama's successful 2008 presidential campaign.
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). The following year Stoney began working with McAuliffe's 2013 gubernatorial campaign, as deputy campaign manager, under campaign manager Robby Mook. When McAuliffe won, Stoney became deputy director of the gubernatorial transition team, during which McAuliffe described Stoney as his "closest adviser."
Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe appointed Stoney Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia on November 18, 2013. Following confirmation by the Virginia General Assembly, he took office on January 17, 2014.
As Secretary of the Commonwealth, Stoney championed efforts to restore of voting rights for felons who have completed their sentences, an effort begun under Governor Bob McDonnell and accelerated under Governor Terry McAuliffe. 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."
Richmond voters elected Stoney their Mayor in a controversy-filled, multi-candidate race to succeed Mayor Dwight C. Jones, who could not run for re-election because of a two-term limit. Stoney won five districts and 35% of the citywide popular vote. 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.
On December 31, 2016, at 35 years of age, Stoney became Richmond's youngest elected mayor.
In 2004, Stoney traveled to Wisconsin to work with the local Democratic Party in a "get out the vote" effort. Five of his colleagues would later be 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 would later admit 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."