University of Richmond professor Thad Williamson says he is “strongly considering” running for the 5th District seat on Richmond City Council.
Williamson’s announcement on Tuesday came less than a day after City Council voted to hold a special election on November 5. He was the first person to indicate an interest in running for the seat being vacated by Parker Agelasto. The 5th District includes parts of the Carytown, Maymont and Randolph neighborhoods.
Williamson said he plans to spend the coming weeks speaking with his neighbors in the 5th District about what they want out of their representative.
“I want to hear from people, in their own words, what they want on a personal level and a policy level,” he said. “It can be everything from something on their block or city-wide.”
In addition to teaching leadership studies at U of R, Williamson has held a number of administrative and advisory roles in Richmond City Hall. He was a member of former mayor Dwight Jones’ Anti-poverty Commission and was subsequently tapped by Jones to be the first director of the Office of Community Wealth Building. He was also a key part of Mayor Levar Stoney’s transition team and served as Stoney’s senior policy advisor during his first year in office.
Williamson describes himself as “deeply progressive.” He said he is likely to run on a platform focused on community wealth building and equity.
“We are a city that is partially thriving, I want us to become a city that is fully thriving,” he said. “I think the 5th District has always been a diverse district: we have areas that are doing well and areas that have challenges. The task I would focus on is how do we build more opportunities for those in need.”
The winner of the special election will serve the remaining one year of Agelasto’s term. Agelasto has faced increasing calls to resign after he admitted to moving out of the 5th District last year. He is currently being sued by two former Richmond City Council members who are asking for his immediate removal from office.