Dickie Bell not running for re-election in 2019

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — After nearly a decade in the General Assembly, Delegate Dickie Bell will not seek re-election to the House of Delegates in 2019.

Delegates Steve Landes, Dickie Bell, and Ben Cline on a tour of a Valley business in July 2017.

Bell has represented Staunton, Waynesboro, Highland County, and parts of Augusta and Nelson counties since he was elected to represent House District 20 in 2009.

Delegates serve two-year terms and are not subject to term limits. Bell previously served on the Staunton City Council and was named the Republican nominee for District 20 with no opposition in recent years and then easily won re-election.

"Public service has always been a calling for me, and I am pleased and proud to say that I have answered that call," Bell said in a press release. "This coming year, 2019, marks a decade of service for me in the House of Delegates, following thirteen and a half years of service as a member of Staunton City Council and fourteen more years of volunteer service on the City’s boards and commissions prior to that. It has not been without its challenges, but it has been a labor of love. Public service has given me the opportunity to meet and serve many, many wonderful people, making me aware everyday of why I chose to do this."

Bell got quite a few laws passed in Virginia during his tenure in the House, including one this past year to offer American Sign Language as a foreign language credit in Virginia high schools.

“I have tried to be a good representative and a good public servant. Being a good politician never really mattered to me because I don’t have a fondness for politics and I never have," he said in his announcement. "It’s a game I just don’t play well. I care more about people than politics. Today’s political climate saddens me and the partisan divide we see at every level of government makes public service more difficult."

"There is an old quotation from a gentleman named James Freeman Clarke that says 'a politician cares about the next election, a statesman cares about the next generation.' It’s not original to me but I think it describes my service well, and I believe my legislative record supports that claim. It would be an honor to someday be remembered as a statesman."

Bell, who recently discussed the coming debates on Virginia re-districting with WHSV, says he plans to spend more time with his family, including a granddaughter due in January.

“I have been overwhelmed and humbled over the last 10 years by all of the support I have received from across the 20th District," Bell concludes in his statement. "It has been my honor and pleasure to serve in the House of Delegates. May God bless the Commonwealth of Virginia and may God bless the United States of America.”