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Former Richmond mayor who served prison time admits he’s ‘not perfect’ when announcing run for state office

Posted at 1:25 PM, Mar 17, 2015
and last updated 2015-03-17 13:25:42-04

HENRICO COUNTY, Va - Former Richmond mayor and convicted felon Rev. Leonidas Young announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for Virginia's 74th House of Delegates seat Tuesday. Young made the announcement in the front room of the law office of Joe Morrissey, the man who currently represents the district. Young, who served prison time and since had his voting rights restored, said redemption will be a major theme for his campaign.

"The premise of redemption is that you can change; you can become a better person," Young said.  "Please understand, I am not a perfect man, but I am a much better man than I used to be."

Young previously served on Richmond City Council and was Richmond's mayor from 1994 to 1996. In 1999, after he left office, Young was convicted of influence peddling while mayor. He was also convicted of defrauding the church where he was the pastor.

In addition to voting rights, Young said he would focus on issues like expanding Medicaid and raising Virginia's minimum wage.

Henrico County School Board member Lamont Bagby previously declared his intention to run for the seat currently occupied by Del. Morrissey.  A primary for the Democratic nomination would be on June 9.

Even though Young's announcement was held at Morrissey's law office, the controversial state delegate was not in attendance.  Young said Morrissey encouraged him to seek the nomination. Morrissey  (I-74th) was re-elected to the seat, which covers parts of Richmond, Henrico County and Charles City County, during a special election in January.

Morrissey was serving a jail sentence at the time after he entered an Alfred plea to contributing to the delinquency of a minor. He will face trial in April on charges that he entered false documents in the case.

When asked what Morrissey's political future might be, Young would not give any specifics, but said expect an announcement in "10 days or so."