NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Longtime Norfolk Sheriff Robert McCabe hopes to be the city’s next mayor.
McCabe, who’s been at the helm of the sheriff’s office since 1993, announced Tuesday he will run for mayor in 2016.
Paul Fraim has been Norfolk’s mayor since 1993. McCabe told WAVY.com his decision to run has nothing to do with Fraim personally. Quoting Colin Powell, he said: “everybody has a shelf life.”
“Kind of like when I ran for sheriff, I think I can bring something there that’s not going on there now,” McCabe said.
When McCabe took over as sheriff, the department of corrections was threatening to shut it down over prior mismanagement. McCabe opened it up to WAVY News 10 and all of the public, in an effort to be transparent. He said city government needs more of that.
He is also concerned about the direction of the city in other areas.
“My biggest priority is the schools, because we’re not going to generate businesses, we’re not going to have people moving into the city until we improve our schools,” he said.
He’s also concerned with debt ceilings and spending priorities: “I’m still trying to figure out how a light rail was $100 million over budget. I don’t know how that happened,” he said.
McCabe brought his department’s spending under its $34 million budget last year.
McCabe looks at a vacant waterside and the troubled Military Circle Mall and wonders how the prime properties got to this point.
“And I think I can bring some direction to the whole city and look at issues in Campostella, Ocean View, the East Side, our whole Military Highway corridor,” he said.
McCabe told WAVY.com others encouraged him to run. “It just got louder and louder over the past six months, so I started to take it seriously,” he said.
He has not spoken to Mayor Paul Fraim about his bid for office, and holds no ill will. He just thinks it’s time for change and believes he’s the man for the job. “I love Norfolk, and Norfolk has a lot of potential, and that’s why I’m running,” he said.
McCabe was a police officer before he became sheriff. He said with 30 years working in the public sector, he knows what the needs are and what people want.
WAVY.com reached out to Mayor Fraim. His secretary told us he was busy with back-to-back meetings all day and did not have time to comment on Wednesday. We hope to hear from him soon.
The mayoral election is slated for May.