John Avoli announces 20th district run

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STAUNTON, Va. (WHSV) — Staunton resident John Avoli announced Tuesday that he is running for Dickie Bell's seat in the House of Delegates.

Bell represented the 20th District for almost a decade, but decided to retire in 2019.

Avoli has been in public service for more than 40 years, including time 16 years as a member of Staunton City Council, including 14 years as mayor.

A press release by Avoli says he collaborated with council members to revitalize the downtown area and attract new businesses and attractions, like the American Shakespeare Center, which was founded during his time on council.

“I have worked tirelessly for residents in the city of Staunton and have been very successful in improving the city and quality of life for city residents,” Avoli said. “I know I can do the same in Richmond and am excited to work just as hard for all the citizens in the 20th District.”

He also worked as the principal/director of Valley Vocational Technical Center for 14 years and as principal of Stuarts Draft High School from 1983-88.

“It was a privilege to have served as a coach, teacher and administrator for nearly 30 years,” Avoli said. “It is very rewarding to see former students successfully employed in our community and raising their families.”

For the most recent 15 years, he's been working as the executive director of the Frontier Culture Museum.

He says he's looking forward to the next stage. Avoli says if he's elected, working with others is important to him.

"I'm a collaborator, I'm a conservative," Avoli said. "At the same time, I also know anything in life must be, it has to be negotiated so everyone feels good about something."

Avoli says Interstate 81, education and bringing jobs to the Calley are all important issues for him.

Avoli immigrated to the U.S. from Trivigliano, Italy at the age of 10 in 1960. He's now married to Lynn LaBonte Avoli with two children and five grandchildren.