Blevins announces retirement

Published 12:24 am Thursday, April 4, 2013

By Mark Robinson

Capital News Service

Sen. Harry Blevins, R-Chesapeake, announced his retirement Wednesday from the state Senate after serving 14 years in the Virginia General Assembly.

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In 1998, Blevins won a special election for a seat in the House of Delegates. After three years, he was elected to the Senate. He represents Senate District 14, which includes parts of the cities of Suffolk, Franklin, Chesapeake, Portsmouth and Virginia Beach and parts of Isle of Wight and Southampton counties.

Following Blevins’ announcement on the floor, several of his colleagues praised his contributions to the commonwealth over the years.

“We could always count on Harry to do what he believed was in the best interests of Virginia, regardless of the prevailing political winds,” said Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment Jr., R-Williamsburg. “His calm, measured and unflappable demeanor has been refreshing in an arena where bombast and hyperbole are too often the norm. His integrity and decency — and his gentle manner — will be remembered and missed by his colleagues.”

Blevins’ colleagues also praised his contributions on the Senate Education and Health Committee.

“Harry really truly has the heart of an educator, and he’s carried that with him in all of his pursuits,” said Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg.

Blevins, 77, is a retired high school principal and coach. His wife is recovering from surgery. Blevins cited her health and personal health concerns as reasons for his retirement.

Blevins has represented part of Suffolk in the General Assembly since the redistricting process in 2011 put him in the same district with longtime Sen. Fred Quayle, a Suffolk resident. Quayle, also a Republican, stepped aside to allow Blevins to run unopposed.

In Suffolk, Blevins’ district includes the Airport, Cypress Chapel, Holland, Holy Neck, Kilby’s Mill, Lake Cohoon, Lakeside and Whaleyville precincts and parts of the Elephant’s Fork/Westhaven and King’s Fork precincts.

A special election will be held to fill his seat, but a date has not yet been set.

— News Editor Tracy Agnew contributed to this report.