Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson announced that he won’t be seeking reelection in the Virginia city next year.
Wilson, who also works for Amtrak, made the announcement in his monthly newsletter.
“I would be thrilled to do this job forever. But doing two full-time jobs and being a good husband and father is not sustainable forever. Nor should anyone be in elected office forever,” Wilson said.
“Good governance requires the constant injection of new ideas and energy.”
He was elected as mayor in 2018 after serving on the city council for a decade. He ran unopposed in the general election after defeating sitting incumbent Allison Silberberg in an upset in the Democratic primary in 2018.
“I feel like there is an opportunity for other people to serve, you know, we’re not intended to be in these positions forever,” Wilson told WTOP in an interview. “We have done an enormous amount of good during the time that I’ve been privileged to be in elected office, and I’m really proud of the work that we’ve done.”
As a mayoral candidate, Wilson campaigned on boosting affordable housing and small businesses along with expanding classrooms across the city.
Under his leadership, Alexandria opened a new Metro station and a graduate engineering campus at Potomac Yards. He also secured a deal to turn the old Landmark Mall on the city’s West End into a hospital.
In 2021, he proposed to make the city’s DASH bus service free for all riders, especially for low-income, minority and senior residents, to improve ridership. The DASH bus is still free for all riders in 2023.
Wilson’s exit will likely create a competitive Democratic primary in June when the mayor’s office and all six seats on the city council will be up for grabs.
“I’m going to hope we get good people to step forward and articulate a vision for Alexandria’s future to the great people of our City,” Wilson said.
When asked about any pushback regarding zoning that might have caused his decision to backdown, Wilson said, “the controversy that we deal with in local government relates to land use and development decisions.”
He added, “It’s been about making sure that that changes don’t happen to us. We actually shape the changes and we make sure that they are changes that help us adapt in the future.”
Is he going to endorse anyone in the race?
“At this point, I’m not endorsing anyone, but I’m going to certainly let the race develop in and you know, we’ll see I could. I’ll make a decision at the appropriate time whether it makes sense to get into that race,” she said.
WTOP’s Shayna Estulin contributed to this report.
Editor’s Note: This story has been updated from a prior version to clarify the year the mayor was elected.