From sheriff to delegate: that's the path Roanoke Republican Octavia Johnson hopes to take.
On Friday afternoon, Johnson announced in an e-mail that she will run for the 11th District Delegate seat from which Democrat Onzlee Ware is stepping down. Ware said on Thursday that health concerns with his mother is the reason he's stepping down.
Johnson lost her re-election bid earlier this month to Democrat Tim Allen. She has served eight years as Roanoke's sheriff, defeating George McMillan by fewer than 500 votes in 2005.
Johnson is the first woman and African-American to serve as Roanoke's sheriff.
Johnson's statement on running for delegate:
"It has been an honor to serve as Roanoke City Sheriff for the past eight years. Working with the people of the Roanoke Valley to make our region a safer and better place has been a true privilege. I hope I can have the opportunity to continue to serve, so today I am proud to announce my candidacy for the Virginia House of Delegates.
"Delegate Onzlee Ware has been a great leader for our City. As a member of the House of Delegates, I would follow in his footsteps by putting the best interests of the people of the Roanoke Valley ahead of politics, political parties or anything else. I believe that we can make our community stronger only by working together to solve our most pressing challenges.
"Creating good jobs, keeping our communities safe and building strong schools will be my top priorities. I will continue to build on the groundwork laid by Delegate Ware, working with other members of the Roanoke Valley delegation on these and other issues.
"To help create good jobs in our region, I will promote small businesses, increase access to workforce training and development programs, and facilitate outreach between the business community and minority groups in our community.
"As Roanoke City Sheriff, I was committed to keeping our communities and neighborhoods safe. This would continue to be a priority in the Virginia House of Delegates, where I would seek to increase funding for public safety and law enforcement agencies.
"Finally, I know that in order to create good jobs and keep our communities safe, we must have a strong K-12 education system. I believe every child deserves the opportunity to attend a strong and successful school. I will work to improve our schools by giving local leaders more flexibility and control, as well as ensuring that the City of Roanoke gets its fair share of state funding.
"There are a number of important issues facing our community and I believe that the people of Roanoke deserve a strong and effective leader. I will be that leader in the Virginia House of Delegates."