Delegate won’t seek reelection

Published 11:11 am Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Del. Richard “Rick” Lee Morris (R-64) has decided against running for a third term in office, choosing instead to devote more time to caring for his children. He made his announcement on Tuesday afternoon via an e-mailed press release to The Tidewater News.

In the letter, Morris quickly addressed the issue of his personal life erupting into public view when he was arrested this past fall on charges of abusing two family members, one of which was a child. During a hearing this past December, all but one of several charges was dismissed when the youth admitted lying. But the prosecution convinced the judge on the merit of one charge, and later managed to add a few others that were presented to a grand jury in Hampton last month.

The delegate maintains those are false allegations with political undertones, and his name will be fully cleared this spring.

Morris said he’s been the chief caregiver of three of his children, and to pursue reelection would take “dedicated time away,” which he’s not willing to surrender.

The Navy veteran, who went on to become an attorney, decided to seek former representative Bill Barlow’s seat in the 2011 election and won.

Had Morris chosen to stay, it would have been for a third term, and he would have had challengers: Democrat John Wandling of Carrollton; Republican Rex Alphin of Zuni and Emily Brewer of Suffolk.

“I am extremely grateful to the good people of the 64th district for allowing me to serve them and this has truly been one of my greatest honors,” Morris concluded. The full text of his letter follows.

It has been my privilege to serve the people of Virginia and the good people of the 64th District of the House of Delegates. As your delegate, I have fought for individual rights, an open and transparent government and the virtues of individual responsibility and the free market system.

The past six months has been a personal struggle as I’ve vigorously fought false allegations against me, and I greatly appreciate the support and prayers I’ve received. Over the last 4 ½ months I’ve been the primary care provider for my three smallest children ages 2, 4 and 5. While at the General Assembly in Richmond, it has been a challenge to give them the attention they deserve, and my commitment to them is greater than no other.

I am supremely confident that these false allegations will be dismissed in May, however to seek re-election to this office will take dedicated time away from my children that I am not willing to further sacrifice. As they are my primary consideration, I am announcing that I will not seek re-election to the House of Delegates, but will instead spend that valuable time on our small farm with my children. They are eagerly awaiting to plant some fresh new vegetables, and my 5-year-old is lobbying for a pony while my youngest wants a baby goat.

I am extremely grateful to the good people of the 64th district for allowing me to serve them and this has truly been one of my greatest honors.

Thank you,
Richard “Rick” Lee Morris