Del. Rob Bell announces his retirement

Press Release

At the closing of the 2023 Virginia General Assembly session on Feb. 25, Del. Rob Bell announced that he will not seek re-election. Bell, a Republican, represents the 58th district, which includes Greene County and parts of Albemarle, Fluvanna and Rockingham counties.

“It has been the honor of a lifetime to serve in the House of Delegates. I want to thank the voters who allowed me to represent them in Richmond for the last 22 years,” said Bell. “Once the elections were over, they shared their ideas with me and came to the Capitol to testify for the bills we came up with. With their advocacy and hard work, we’ve been able to pass laws on issues like domestic violence, drunk driving and bullying in schools. These successes would not have been possible without them.” 

Bell was first elected to the General Assembly in 2001 after previously working as a prosecutor in Orange County. As a delegate, Bell served as Chair of the Courts of Justice Committee as well as the Virginia State Crime Commission.

During his tenure in the House of Delegates, Bell has written laws that crack down on repeat-offense drunk driving and keep sex offenders off school property. He has also passed laws to expand Virginia’s protective orders and to help crime victims recover restitution and require life in prison for those convicted of raping children. In 2015, he authored the law to address sexual assaults on college campuses, and in 2016, Bell led the effort to expand Virginia’s stalking laws and empower crime victims. He also patroned the law to make it illegal to maliciously distribute or send “revenge porn.” 

In recent years, Bell has also worked to improve mental health care in Virginia. In 2018, he patroned a bill brought to him by local high school students to improve mental health education in high school health classes. In 2019, he wrote a new law to establish minimum standards for mental health care in Virginia jails and to coordinate jail-provided mental health services with community services after inmate release. 

In this 2023 session, Bell successfully patroned a bill that will make it easier for victims to extend protective orders and another bill that will help ensure schools receive notice when an employee is arrested or convicted of a felony. He also worked with domestic violence advocates to successfully pass a bill to address smothering as a form of felony suffocation. 

In recognition of his work, Bell has received legislative awards from groups including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD-Virginia), the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Psychiatric Society of Virginia and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance. 

 “I’m also profoundly grateful that my family has allowed me to serve over the last 22 years,” said Bell. “When I first ran for office, it was just Jessica and me, and our time was our own. Things have been a lot more complicated as the kids have grown. Their support has been crucial to my ability to serve over all of these years. I look forward to seeing everybody once I am home from Richmond.” 

Bell earned his B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1988 and his J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1995. Bell ran unsuccessfully for attorney general of Virginia in 2013, losing to State Sen. Mark Obenshain at the Republican primary nominating convention on May 18, 2013.

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