To the editor:
I would like to make city residents aware of two dedicated, homegrown candidates running for constitutional offices in Alexandria: Dana Lawhorne for sheriff and Bryan Porter for commonwealth’s attorney.
They represent the very best of bright, dedicated and effective Democratic candidates. I am pleased to support both of them.
Lawhorne is the incumbent sheriff, having been elected in 2005. He was born and raised in Alexandria and attended our public schools. Since his graduation from T.C. Williams, Lawhorne has served in public safety positions. He spent 27 years as an Alexandria police officer before becoming sheriff.
In my opinion, Lawhorne’s crown-jewel achievement is his leadership in taking the sheriff’s office to a high-visibility position in our community. Before his election, sheriff’s deputies were mostly seen at the courthouse, jail or serving court papers. Now they participate in community events, serve needy residents, educate people about the responsibilities of the agency and assist in emergencies like the recurring flooding at the foot of King Street.
Lawhorne also shows leadership in forging a close bond with the police department and other public-serving city departments. As an insider for part of his tenure, I observed the sherriff’s office transform from a disorganized, poorly managed department into a highly efficient, well-managed and effective agency. He has increased the sheriff’s budget for staff training and necessary equipment, while saving taxpayer money in the process.
Porter also was born and raised in Alexandria. He is a product of our public schools, where his father served for 20 years as the principal of T.C. Williams. In 1995, Porter began his career in law enforcement as a police officer.
While serving on the Alexandria Police Department’s night shift, he attended the George Mason School of Law, where he graduated in 2001. It was then that Porter joined the commonwealth’s attorney’s office as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney under Randy Sengel, the commonwealth’s attorney. When Sengel announced his retirement earlier this year, he endorsed Porter as his successor.
While a prosecutor, Porter tried more than 40 jury trials involving some of the most serious offenses in Alexandria, such as murders, carjackings and gang offenses.
While busy trying cases, Porter taught thousands of law enforcement officers about the law. He was invited to teach constitutional law at the National District Attorney’s Association Drug Prosecution Seminar this year. Porter also won the 2013 Von Schuch Award, which is given yearly to Virginia’s most distinguished assistant commonwealth’s attorney by the Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys.
Porter intends to continue the community-oriented approach of his predecessor. He believes that the safety of our community is paramount, while treating victims of crime with compassion and serious offenders with the appropriate punishment.
For their entire adult lives, Lawhorne and Porter have brought their passion and dedicated service to their work for this community every day. They deserve our support and vote this November.
- Jack Powers