By Leonard E. Colvin
New Journal and Guide
State Delegate Lionell Spruill has wasted no time in announcing his intentions to run for State Senator Kenneth Alexander’s seat, now that Alexander has been elected mayor of Norfolk.
Spruill will run for Senate District 5 which covers parts of Chesapeake, where he lives, and the City of Norfolk. Spruill said his experience in the Virginia General Assembly – sitting on important committees, working on legislation and funding issues facing Norfolk and the region – is the reason why voters should choose him in the upcoming election to replace Alexander.
“This District needs someone with experience,” said Spruill, who has been in the House of Delegates since 1994. “I am a strong advocate of education and have supported both Norfolk State and ODU. That is on the record.” “I have worked closely with the Chesapeake Public Schools System, one of the strongest in the state,” he continued. “Norfolk Public Schools is at the bottom of the list in many areas and I want to help the division regain its footing.”
Because they have had a negative impact on the economy, Spruill said that he is working with fellow lawmakers and the Governor’s office to reduce the tolls commuters pay using the tunnels between Norfolk and Portsmouth. He said that he would work to keep the $150 million to extend lightrail to Virginia in the state transportation budget. “I am also interested in strengthening the role that the ports playing in our economy,” said Spruill. “Norfolk is the economic hub of the Hampton Roads, and I will work to bring jobs and opportunities to the city and Hampton Roads.”
It is unclear if other Democrats or Republicans will join Spruill in the effort to claim the Senate seat being vacated by Mayor-Elect Alexander. It is considered one of the most attractive in the region, and was held by the late Sen. Yvonne Miller before Alexander replaced her. Spruill told the Guide that he has endorsed former Chesapeake Council member Cliff Hayes if he chooses runs for his House seat.