Field clear for Mayor Jones to chair the Democratic Party of Virginia

Posted at 7:01 PM, Mar 11, 2014
and last updated 2014-03-11 19:21:46-04

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR)—Richmond City Mayor Dwight Jones faces no competition in his bid for chairman of the Democratic Party of Virginia (DPVA), and he has the support of key officials.

As of the 5 p.m. filing deadline, Mayor Dwight Jones is the only candidate for DPVA chair, as all other candidates have dropped out and remain unified behind McAuliffe, according to the organization’s press secretary Ashley Bauman.

The current chairwoman Charniele Herring endorsed the mayor and said he also has the support of Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe.

Jones served as chair on McAuliffe’s inauguration committee.

Jones’ Deputy Chief of Staff Don Mark said DPVA chairwoman Charniele Herring intends to step down at a March 15 meeting. Her replacement would be voted on at that time.

Last week the People of Faith for Equality in Virginia (POFEV) sent a letter of caution to Governor McAuliffe, concerning his support for the mayor.

POFEV is “an interfaith movement for LGBT equality” in Virginia.

Their concern is that Jones’ previously stated position on marriage equality would set “a low bar for all elected officials in the state about the importance of marriage equality and could be interpreted as indicating that your support for equality is less deep than your public statements would indicate.”

Then on Monday, some LGBT leaders met with the mayor and called the session “productive.”

“Mayor Jones’ commitment to equality and the LGBT community is already on record through his executive order on non-discrimination policies for LGBT employees in the city of Richmond, the appointment of an LGBT Liaison on the Richmond Police Force and official recognition of Transgender Day of Remembrance,” James Parrish, executive director EV Advocates, said in a statement that was shared with CBS 6.

“However given the recent media attention for his nomination for party chair, it was important today to hear Mayor Jones reiterate his commitment to leading the Democratic Party in seeking the full equality all Virginians deserve,” Parrish said.

“The freedom to marry is a fundamental right and EV Advocates looks forward to working with both parties to ensure that all Virginians can soon marry the person they love in the place they call home. ”

The mayor issued a statement saying that his position continues to evolve.

“I reiterated my position that I believe our laws should not be discriminatory.  I also had the opportunity to share about my own personal evolution on issues that concern the LGBT community; an evolution that anchors many of the actions I’ve already taken in support of equal treatment.  My position continues to evolve,” the mayor wrote in the statement.

“I’m appreciative of the LGBT community’s acknowledgement of my past efforts and I look forward to continued dialogue on issues related to marriage equality and equal treatment under the law. Our Party has always stood for social justice and equal treatment; a platform and principles that I carry with me each day and that I will fight for as party chair. It would be my honor to lead the Party in seeking full equality under the law, which everyone deserves,” Mayor Jones said.