AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — After over 20 years serving in Virginia's House of Delegates, Del. Steve Landes is not seeking re-election in 2019.
Landes, who was first elected to represent the 25th District in 1996, will instead run for the Clerk of Circuit Court for Augusta County.
Carol M. Brydge, the current Augusta County Circuit Court Clerk, is stepping down this April.
Landes will be running against Carolyn Bragg, a current member of the Augusta County Board of Supervisors.
"Today, I am announcing that I will be a candidate for the Clerk of Circuit Court for Augusta County and that I will not be seeking re-election to the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 25th District,” said Landes in an announcement. “It has been a high honor to serve in the House of Delegates and to be the Delegate from Augusta County for over 20 years. I know the time is right for me to use my experience in the General Assembly and put that experience to work for all the citizens of Augusta County as their Clerk of Circuit Court. The people have trusted me to be their representative for over 20 years. I am asking them to trust me once again to serve as their Augusta County Clerk of Circuit Court. I pledge to earn that trust over the course of this campaign.”
Landes represents the 25th District, which includes parts of Albemarle, Augusta, and Rockingham counties. In the decades he has served in the House of Delegates, he has also sat on the Board of Trustees for the Fronteir Culture Museum, helped lead the Augusta Historical Society, led the Weyers Cave Ruritan Club, and participated in numerous community organizations.
He currently works as a community liaison for Home Instead Senior Care.
"After much thought, prayer, and in speaking with family and friends from across Augusta County, I know the time is right for me to use my experience in the General Assembly and put that experience to work for all the citizens of Augusta County as their Clerk of Circuit Court," said Landes.
The Clerk of Court takes on hundreds of responsibilities for a county in Virginia, including the administration of justice working with both judges and public safety officials, serving as the recorder of deeds and records related to land transactions including the collection of taxes and legal fees related to these transactions, serving as a probate judge when a last will and testament is presented to the Clerk for legal probate of an estate, and providing the public services such as issuing marriage licenses, processing notary public commissions, and issuing concealed weapons permits.
Landes says his years of government work on both the state and local levels make him qualified for the position.
"I will be meeting with Mrs. Brydge, and, if possible, the hardworking and dedicated staff in the Clerk’s Office to get their input and ideas," he said.
Landes plans to campaign across Augusta County for the position.
In the House of Delegates race, Lauren Thompson and Jennifer Kitchen are competing for the Democratic nomination to run for Landes' seat. At this point, no Republican has confirmed that they will be running to replace Landes, but announcements are expected in the coming days.
House Speaker Kirk Cox released a statement on Tuesday praising Landes' leadership:
“Steve Landes is a respected leader in the House of Delegates and while he will be missed in the House, I know he will do a great job as Augusta County Circuit Court Clerk.
“Steve has served in a number of leadership roles in the House. He was Chairman of the House Republican Caucus and currently serves as Chairman of the Education Committee and Vice-Chairman of the Appropriations Committee. He has helped improve the quality of education in our Commonwealth, working to reform the SOLs and improve the teacher licensure process. Working closely with his colleagues on the Appropriations Committee, Steve helped chart a fiscally-responsible course for our Commonwealth, protecting taxpayers and ensuring their money is being spent in a prudent and efficient manner.
“I have always had an immense amount of respect for Steve and I wish him, Angie, and Roth the best as he continues his career of public service.
“Whoever succeeds Steve will have big shoes to fill, but we are confident that we will retain this seat in November.”
WHSV has a reporter at Landes' announcement. Tune into WHSV News at 5 and 6 for more.