Levar Stoney was raised in Virginia by his grandmother and his father, a custodian. A product of Virginia public schools, Levar grew up on free and reduced lunch and was the first in his family to earn a high school diploma. He went on to graduate from James Madison University, becoming the first in his family to do so, before moving to Richmond to begin a career in public service.
Levar rose through the ranks from Fellow in then-Governor Mark Warner’s office to become the first African American Secretary of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the youngest member of Governor Terry McAuliffe’s cabinet.
As Secretary, Levar led the largest, oldest, most public-facing office of the Governor’s cabinet and was the driving force behind transforming the process that restores civil and voting rights. Under Levar's leadership, government was made more efficient, and he helped to restore the rights to more than 150,000 disenfranchised Virginians — more than the past seven administrations combined.
As mayor, Levar has made education his top priority by consistently fighting for additional resources and reform in Richmond Public Schools including an over $30 million increase in funding. This amounts to the greatest investment in public education in over a generation, with three new schools opening in Black and brown communities in the East End and Southside. Additionally, Levar worked with nonprofit and philanthropic partners to expand free after-school programming for RPS students. Now each elementary and middle schooler has access to a high quality after-school program.
Levar has maintained fiscal responsibility and financial stability while bringing in major change to city government. Under Levar’s tenure, Richmond city saw its credit rating increase to AA+, and the city saw a $15 million surplus in 2019, all while the city paved over 500 miles in new road lanes, invested over 6 million in the city’s eviction diversion program and affordable housing trust fund, and expanded healthcare access to city residents.