Manassas Mayor Hal Parrish will not seek re-election this November. The mayor has served in that role since 2009 and been on council since 1993. He made the announcement Wednesday night and spoke with InsideNoVa on Thursday.
Parrish declined to give a specific reason for the decision, but said he started to come to it not long after he won his third term in 2016. The year prior, he had lost his bid for the state senate to Jeremy McPike.
“There are lots of pieces to come into a decision like that, obviously I love this community. It’s the community I grew up in, it’s the community I will continue to live in and want to support and make it the best it can be,” Parrish said, adding that among his proudest accomplishments were building a new Baldwin Elementary School, rebuilding Osbourn High School, constructing an overpass on Wellington Road over the train tracks and a new lane on Centreville Road. “There’s lots more to be done and good people, capable people, need to be doing it. So I’m hopeful for the city and remain willing and able to move the city forward.”
Parrish also saw the city’s political make-up shift drastically. When he was first appointed to the city council in 1993, no Democrats held seats. But in 2018, they won a majority on the council for the first time in the city’s history. At the end of last year, Councilperson Michelle Davis-Younger announced that she would be the first Democrat to challenge Parrish for the position in his tenure. He made the announcement that he would not seek a fourth term at an event with family and friends at Okra’s Cajun/Creole Restaurant in Old Town.
Parrish wouldn’t say for sure that he was done with elected office. He will continue to run the Manassas Ice & Fuel Company on Center Street. His father Harry Parrish, for whom the Old City Hall building is named, began serving on the town council in 1951, was elected to mayor in 1963 and served in that role until 1981. He then served in the Virginia House of Delegates until his death in 2006.
“Since 1951 there’s been a Parrish that has served the citizens of the City of Manassas, by the time I finish my term it’ll be pretty close to 70 years,” Parrish said. “Hopefully we’ve been good to Manassas. Certainly Manassas has been good to us.”