Del.-elect Danica Roem, Del. John Bell

Del.-elect Danica Roem, D-13th, and Del. John Bell, D-87th, listen to Prince William County constituents during a Jan. 6, 2018, legislative town hall in Woodbridge.

Del. John Bell has joined a field of four other Democrats seeking that party’s nomination to run against State Sen. Dick Black, a Republican, next year for the 13thDistrict seat.

The 13thDistrict includes parts of Prince William and Loudoun counties. The 87thDistrict that Bell represents includes parts of the same two counties. He’s been a delegate since 2016.

Bell said Black, who is serving his second four-year term, has “not been focused on the most important issues of the district.”

He referred to Black’s 20-minute speech about Syria during this spring’s special session on the state budget and Medicaid expansion. Black, who previously met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, addressed the issue of a chemical attack on civilians in Damascus. Black said it “is not entirely clear that there was an attack,” the Washington Post reported.

That speech was “the straw that broke the camel’s back” and motivated him to run, Bell said.

Bell, a retired Air Force officer, said the issues that concern voters in the 13thSenate District are economic development, improving education and health care.

Bell pointed to his work on the appropriations committee in getting Medicaid expansion to the state Senate for action. 

He also listed as accomplishments two bills he introduced dealing with procurement issues to make state government more efficient and less wasteful. Another bill allowed patrons of wineries, breweries and distilleries to bring their dogs to those establishments. Barring dogs had cut into business by 25 percent, he said.

Bell said he was also proud of a total $20 million pay raise approved for the state’s correctional officers.

Bell said he’ll be filing a statement of organization for his candidacy with the Virginia Department of Elections within the next 10 days.

He has plenty of company. Also running as Democrats are Kyle Green, Lucero Wiley, Suhas Subramanyam and Jasmine Moawad-Barrientos. 

Bell noted that his candidacy has been endorsed by 13 state senators and delegates, including House Minority Leader and 57thDistrict Del. David Toscano, Del. Hala Alaya, D-51st, State Sen. Scott Surovell, D-36th, and State Sen. Jennifer Wexton, D-33rd.

Wexton is the Democratic nominee running against Rep. Barbara Comstock this year to represent the 10thDistrict in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Reach James Ivancic at

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