HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — In front of a Henrico community center that bears his name, Lamont Bagby vowed Monday that the legacy of the late Rep. Donald McEachin “will live on forever” when he announced his bid to fill Virginia’s 4th Congressional District seat.
Rep. McEachin died at the age of 61 on Nov. 28 after a battle with colorectal cancer, his congressional office announced, leaving Virginia’s 4th Congressional District seat vacant weeks after he won reelection.
Surrounded by supporters, including Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney, Del. Luke Torian (D-Prince William) and Henrico County board of supervisors representative Tyrone Nelson, an emotional Del. Bagby (D-Henrico) spoke about McEachin’s influence on him.
“I hope that this run not only shows individuals that a young boy from Essex Village can make it but also a young boy from Essex Village can lead,” Bagby said outside the Lamont Bagby community center at the St. Luke Apartments, a complex where he grew up previously known as the Essex Village Apartments, in Henrico County. “And lead with a heart, a heart like Donald McEachin had.”
Following his announcement, Bagby told 8News that he wouldn’t have moved forward with his run if he hadn’t spoken with Rep. McEachin’s wife, Richmond Commonwealth’s Attorney Colette McEachin, first. But he said he never would ask for her endorsement during such a time.
Bagby, the chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, said if he’s elected to Congress, he will continue Rep. McEachin’s work to help underserved communities in the 4th District and push for environmental justice and civil rights.
While he shared plans to push for initiatives McEachin advocated for, Bagby said Monday that education has always been his “passion.”
The former teacher and Henrico County School Board member said he believes that more funding should go towards education and public safety, not criminal justice, in order to tackle educational and safety concerns head-on.
Bagby also spoke about how he, McEachin and other community leaders worked to improve the conditions at the Essex Village apartments. During his announcement Monday, Bagby took a moment to address comments he’s heard from people about invoking McEachin’s name.
“I got news for folks. I’m never going to stop. I promised him [McEachin], I promised his wife, I promised his children, his legacy will live on forever,” an emotional Bagby said as he wiped his eyes.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has set a special election for Feb. 21, 2023, to fill McEachin’s seat. Potential candidates have until Dec. 23, at 5 p.m. to file with the Federal Election Commission, according to the writ of election from Youngkin.
State Sen. Jennifer McClellan (D-Richmond) has also filed paperwork to run for the 4th District seat and plans to make a “substantial” announcement in Richmond Tuesday morning. Former Democratic state delegate Joseph Preston also announced plans to seek the congressional seat.
Republicans Leon Benjamin, who lost to McEachin in November, and Dale Sturdifen, a former Mecklenburg County School Board chairman, are running to be the GOP nominees.