Previous Loser Joins Mayor's Race 

click to enlarge street18_williams_100.jpg

Add Lawrence E. Williams to the list of people running for mayor.

A University of Virginia-trained architect, Williams, 55, says he's the man to replace Mayor L. Douglas Wilder.

The problem will be convincing voters. He ran, unsuccessfully, to represent the 6th District in City Council in 1996, 2003 and 2006. He also ran against Wilder in 2004. Wilder received 57,078 votes. Williams pulled in 1,147 votes ranking last after Wilder, R.C. "Rudy" McCollum Jr. and Charles H. Nance.

If elected, Williams says he wants to increase the availability of affordable housing throughout the region, strengthen neighborhoods, bolster schools and carefully consider the location of the new city jail. "[The city is] still small enough we can almost get it right," he says, "but we can't do social politics like we have in the past."

John V. Moeser, a visiting fellow at the University of Richmond's Bonner Center for Civic Engagement, says he likes Williams personally, but isn't holding out much hope for a fifth Williams' candidacy.

"He just doesn't have the name recognition, certainly not like Dwight Jones or Paul Goldman," he says of the other two announced mayoral candidates. "He's not one you need to watch in terms of a possible winner."

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