Bell, Gooditis, Howell announce retirements from Va. General Assembly

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Three additional Northern Virginia legislators announced their retirements from the General Assembly this week, bringing to six the total number of departures from the region’s delegation.

The latest announcement came Thursday afternoon from Democratic Sen. John Bell, whose current 13th District encompasses a large portion of Loudoun County and a small portion of western Prince William County.

Democrat John Bell currently represents the 13th District in the Virginia Senate.

Bell, 60, said in a statement that he was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer and that although his prognosis is positive, he needs to focus on his health, business obligations and family. He will remain in office through the current term, which ends in December.

Bell was elected to the seat in 2019, defeating Republican Geary Higgins to succeed retiring Republican Dick Black.  Bell, a retired U.S. Air Force officer, previously served in the Virginia House of Delegates from 2016 to 2020.

“Serving in the General Assembly has been a great honor and a privilege that I will always cherish,” Bell said in his statement. “I come from a humble background, and it still amazes me that I have had the opportunity to serve in the same body as great Americans like George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and so many others.”

The redistricting approved by the Virginia Supreme Court in December 2021 placed Bell in a new Senate district, the 32nd, which consists primarily of the Ashburn, Sterling and South Riding areas of Loudoun County.

Bell’s announcement was quickly followed by one from Democratic Del. Suhas Subramanyam, who said he would run for the 32nd District seat.  Subramanyam was elected to the 87th District seat in the House, replacing Bell, in 2019 and became the first Indian-American, South Asian and Hindu elected to the General Assembly.

“Senator Bell is a friend and a mentor, and you would be hard-pressed to find a more dedicated public servant,” Subramanyam said in a news release. “I am so grateful for his decades of service in the military and in public office. … I know that I have big shoes to fill, but if elected to the Senate, I will continue the work I started as a Delegate to empower my constituents, put people and families before special interests, and stand up for our core values.”

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