BY CAROL VAUGHN, Eastern Shore Post
Senator Lynwood Lewis announced this week he will not seek another term in the Virginia Senate.
Lewis, 60, has been a state senator since 2014 and was a delegate for a decade before that.
“I did not come to this decision easily, but I believe it is the right one for my family and for me at this time,” Lewis wrote in a March 6 press release, calling it “the honor of a lifetime to serve in the General Assembly.”
The announcement likely means there will be no Eastern Shore resident in the Virginia Senate for the first time in recent memory.
Lewis will serve out his current term in the Senate.
While he did not detail future plans, Lewis said he is “hopeful that, in the future, there may be other opportunities for me to serve my community and the Commonwealth.”
Lewis, a Democrat and Eastern Shore native, currently represents District 6, which includes both Eastern Shore counties, Mathews County on the Middle Peninsula, and part of Norfolk.
If he ran, Lewis would have faced a challenge from sitting Republican Senator Bill DeSteph, 59, of Virginia Beach, after newly drawn district lines put the two in the same district, Senate District 20.
DeSteph, who currently represents District 8, said he has filed the necessary paperwork to run for the seat in November.
He has been a state senator since 2016 and was a delegate from 2014 to 2016.
Victoria Luevanos, a Democrat from Virginia Beach, also has announced plans to run for the seat.
Luevanos works in information technology for SAVVEE Consulting, Inc.
A California native and mother of two, Luevanos enlisted in the Navy after high school and was stationed in Virginia in 2011, serving onboard the USS Theodore Roosevelt, the USS Bataan, and at Naval Station Oceana, according to her campaign website.
She holds a bachelor’s degree in political science and has been a Department of Defense contractor since leaving the Navy.
District lines in Virginia were redrawn after the 2020 U. S. Census.
District 20 includes Accomack and Northampton counties and parts of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.
Virginia Beach residents make up nearly 68% of the new district’s registered voters, with Norfolk voters making up a little over 10%, Accomack voters making up almost 16%, and Northampton voters making up around 6% of voters, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
The new district leans Republican, according to a VPAP analysis.
Lewis said he is “deeply proud of what we’ve accomplished over the past many years together” and called his time in the Senate a “unique opportunity to represent vastly different areas of our Commonwealth at the same time — from Mathews County on the Middle Peninsula to the City of Norfolk in Hampton Roads to the Eastern Shore, the very special place I have been lucky enough to call home for my entire life.”
Lewis also said that “during a time of increasing polarization and rising distrust of each other, our governments, and those who do not think or look like us, I have borne witness to the reality that we are all more alike than we are different.
“Whether you happen to be a nurse in downtown Norfolk or a schoolteacher in Oceanview, a waterman in Mathews or a restaurant owner in Cape Charles, a small farmer in Accomack, or like me, a small-town lawyer from Parksley, all these years listening and learning from people so different from each other has shown me that there is so much value in perspectives unlike your own.”