Staten: ‘We have to create’

Published 7:47 pm Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Suffolk native in his first run for elected office says he’s running to “let the citizens have a candidate that they could run to when all else fails.”




Geral D. “Bishop” Staten, 30, is the youngest ever to run for Suffolk mayor, which has been an elected position since 2008.

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He is a Nansemond River High School graduate and attended two years of community college in Maryland. He works first shift at California Cartage and second shift at QVC and has three children.

Because of his work schedule, Staten said, he was unable to meet with the Suffolk News-Herald in person. He responded to questions by email.

“I’m running because three years ago, I observed the neglect and how the inner city (East Suffolk) was being treated, and I vowed to make a difference in the local GOP in how things are being handled,” he wrote. “To ensure the people of Suffolk that change can be made if they’re not happy with results of seat holders, to make sure that elected officials are being held accountable for the assurance, safety, growth and the ‘nobody left out’ approach to our city as a whole.”

Staten said his top three focus areas if he is elected will be education, economic growth and safety.

“Get our teachers back, fully fund our schools, give immediate raises, or at least make the pay competitive so the teachers will have something to work with,” Staten wrote on the subject of education. “Add updated features in our school systems that better advance the learning process.”

Economic growth is also needed, Staten said.

“We have to create,” he said. “You need input from opportunists. Affordable housing (and) better jobs come from opportunity to welcome businesses in and support them. Focus our attention to things that compensate the areas that the city is weak. An updated inner city with more affordable housing quarters, where small businesses can flourish and not just unpack their bags for a ‘one night stand.’”

Public safety also is an area of focus for Staten.

“Law enforcement patrol in the most vulnerable areas of Suffolk to keep our businesses safe,” he wrote. He also favors “diversity of selection,” “putting the best people in the proper places to better serve our communities,” he wrote.

Staten has had some run-ins with the law in recent years.

In 2011, he was found guilty in Petersburg Circuit Court of assault and battery of a family member and violating a protective order for charges that happened in 2010. He served a month and 10 days for the charges.

In Suffolk, he was charged in 2014 and again in January of this year with assault and battery of a family member.

In the 2014 case, a woman accused him of grabbing her by the hair and dragging her out of the house when she questioned him about another woman being in the house, according to a court document. The charges were not prosecuted.

In June of this year, he was charged with driving on a suspended license. That case has yet to be finalized; his next court appearance is Nov. 17.

Staten said he has learned from his mistakes and stressed that he is a registered voter, meaning he has never been convicted of a felony.

“I did not hide from the people that I’ve had ex encounters with the law,” he wrote. “I’ve really grown in the last 10 years through incarceration and lessons learned. I think the very person that has been there, done that can tell the story better than anyone.”