State Sen. Richard H. “Dick” Black (R-13th) announced this morning that he will not seek reelection to his seat in November.
Black, 74, served in the House of Delegates from 1998 to 2006 and then was elected to the newly created 13th District Senate seat in 2011 and re-elected in 2015. His term ends Dec. 31.
Black’s reputation as a social conservative firebrand began with his first public service in Loudoun County, as a member of the Library Board of Trustees. In the early days of the internet’s merger into everyday life and the library system began adding public computer terminals at its branches, Black pressed to have content filters installed. While the policy was overturned in a landmark First Amendment case in federal court, it launched Black’s two-decade political career.
“I’ve decided to retire at the end of my term. What started out as a fight to filter porn on library computers turned into serving for 20 years in Richmond. I’m proud of what we accomplished over the years. Thanks to everyone who fought along side me in these many battles!” Black stated on his Twitter account.
In a subsequent press release, Black highlighted 20 pieces of legislation he passed during his time in the Richmond and stated he hoped to spend more time with his growing family.
“I have dedicated my life to public service, whether it was wearing a uniform or serving in elected office. My family has made many sacrifices throughout the years in order for me to serve, and I am grateful for their support and the support of the voters,” he wrote. “I have been blessed with 16 beautiful grandchildren and it has become harder and harder to find the time to spend with them as my district has grown to over a quester of a million people. I am proud of what my office has been able to accomplish and I look forward to enjoying life’s next chapter with my family.”
During his time in Capitol Square, Black was known for stirring controversy with proposals against abortions and homosexuality.
He also championed his record of never voting for a tax increase, although he recently said that wasn’t because he didn’t think they were needed.
“I don’t vote for higher taxes in 20 years and don’t intend to do it,” Black said. “I don’t mean that every one of them has been bad, but I’ll just tell you there’s always plenty of people to vote for them and not enough people to vote against them. So, I vote against them,” Black said during a Nov. 19 forum in Purcellville.
So far, three Democrats have formally announced plans to seek their party’s nomination in the 13th District race. They are incumbent Del. John Bell (D-87), Army Reserve intelligence officer Jasmine Moawad-Barrientos and financial consultant Lucero Wiley.
The 13th Senate District covers the western half of Loudoun County and a portion of Prince William County. In 2011, Black handily won the seat over Democrat Shawn Mitchell. His 2015 re-election victory was narrower, as Democrat Jill McCabe came within 2,354 votes of a victory.