Its official: Donald Caldwell has issued a press release announcing that he is seeking re-election as the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Roanoke in November. Caldwell points to his 40-year track record, also noting what he says is the poor financial management history of his Democratic opponent, Melvin Hill. Caldwell is running as an independent candidate.
(full release) This written press release will serve as my official announcement that I am seeking re-election as the Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Roanoke for a four year term commencing on January 1, 2022. Early voting will begin on September 17, 2021 and run through October 30, 2021. The general election will be held on November 2, 2021. For more than forty years, Roanoke City voters have placed their trust and confidence in my abilities to carryout the duties, responsibilities, and management of this office with professionalism, honesty and integrity. I believe that those abilities include good judgment, common sense, proven managerial skills and a commitment to financial responsibility in all aspects of my life—both public and private. I have tried to lead by example and have always tried to avoid bringing discredit to the City as the reputation of a city rises no higher than the reputation of the people who are elected to represent it.
As a candidate for re-election to a position I have held for nearly forty-two years, the obvious question is “Why am I running?”.1) First and foremost, as I did when I decided to run as an Independent in 2017, I am running because I feel compelled to give all voters –Democrat, Republican and Independent –a choice in deciding who will be the City’s next Commonwealth’s Attorney. The City’s next Commonwealth’s Attorney should be decided by the voters, not by a political committee obviously willing to embrace a candidate without scrutiny or question. The bottom line is: If I don’t run, the position would go to that candidate by default. 2) Second, I am running because I continue to be motivated to serve in a capacity where I believe my actions and decisions make a positive difference in our community. The fundamental role of the Commonwealth Attorney is to try to seek justice for all parties involved in a criminal matter. Sometimes this means a decision that criminal charges are not appropriate. Sometimes it means reducing felonies to misdemeanors. Sometimes it involves putting people on probation or into drug court. In some cases, it means asking that people be incarcerated for appropriate periods of time. Regardless of the situation, my philosophy of prosecution is to treat people as I would expect to be treated if I were in the same situation.
3)Third, I am running because the elected Commonwealth’s Attorney is not only an attorney, but also a manager of a staff of twenty-three people as well as the financial administrator of a budget that exceeds two million dollars annually. As exposed by The Roanoke Times and The Roanoke Rambler, my opponent has an extensive history of poor financial management and judgment to include multiple bankruptcies and civil suits. He as not been able to successfully manage a small office, much less one of the bigger law offices in the City of Roanoke. 4) Fourth, I am running because I feel that if one seeks an office which requires enforcement of the law, one should follow the law themselves. Eleven years of deliberate decisions not to pay federal income taxes(1995, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017) and four years of not paying federal taxes for your employee(s)(2010, 2011, 2012, 2013) are not consistent with either good judgment, financial responsibility, or legal integrity.5)Fifth, I am running because I continue to enjoy the job itself as well as the people who I see on a daily basis-my staff, defense attorneys, clerks, Judges, police officers, deputy sheriffs, probation officers, and the general public just to name a few of the hundreds of people who interact with this office. Every day is different and presents different challenges to attempt to address. As someone once told me, “If you enjoy it, it is not work.”
6) Finally, I am running because there is more I would like to accomplish. I would like to seethe completion of the relocation of a portion of the Commonwealth Attorney’s office into the former law library space in the Oliver Hill Justice Center. I would like to be involved in the conclusion of the two special prosecutions my office is handling –the voter petitions fraud case in Virginia Beach and the police shooting in Bristol. Additionally, I intend to establish an elder fraud and abuse position within the office as that is an area which will see more scrutiny as our population continues to age.In closing, I would appeal to all voters to put aside partisan politics and vote based upon the most qualified candidate available. My opponent’s career is riddled with continuous financial trouble, poor decision making, and disregard for his obligations under the law. There is the old saying “You get what you pay for”. In November, the voters of Roanoke City will get what they vote for.