Blackwell Will Not Seek Re-Election



Thomas M. “Tommy” Blackwell, after serving for over 17 years as Essex County Commissioner of the Revenue (COR), has decided not to stand for re-election this November. First elected in 2005 to finish the final two years of his predecessor’s (Mabel Franklin) term, Blackwell was re-elected without opposition in 2007, 2011, 2015, and 2019.

During his time in office, Blackwell and his staff have implemented several changes and enhancements, including land use valuation (2008), personal property file-by-exception (2012), business licensing (2020), and transient occupancy tax (coming in 2023). His office has worked tirelessly over the years to provide fair and equitable service to all citizens and taxpayers, including periodic updates to the elderly and disabled tax relief program, the initialization of the state’s real estate and personal vehicle tax exemption for 100% permanently and totally disabled veterans, and administrative support for real property general reassessments in 2008, 2013, 2017, and 2021.

Blackwell received his professional designation as Master Commissioner of the Revenue (MCR) in 2011 from the University of Virginia Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service. In 2019, he was elected President of the Commissioners of the Revenue Association of Virginia (VACOMREV) at its Centennial Conference in Colonial Williamsburg, and he currently serves as 4th Vice President on the Virginia Association of Local Elected Constitutional Officers (VALECO) Executive Board.

Blackwell grew up in Essex County and graduated from Tappahannock High School in 1970. He attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill on an NROTC scholarship and received his chemistry degree in 1974. After serving as a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy, he retired as Commander, U.S. Naval Reserve in 1994, and then earned a degree in computer science from Mary Washington College in 1996.

Before being elected, Blackwell completed over 30 years of combined active, reserve, and civilian service with the U.S. Navy, deploying to the North Atlantic, Mediterranean Sea, and South America, and working in Charleston, SC, Jacksonville, FL, Biloxi, MS, the Pentagon, and Fredericksburg/Dahlgren, VA. He is married to the former Lillian Baird of Essex County, and they reside on the Rappahannock River at “Otterburn Farm” in Chance.

“After serving my country, I decided to come home and, if elected, serve Essex County and the Town of Tappahannock,” Blackwell said. “I will be forever thankful for the opportunity to work with state and local officials, and especially my colleagues in the Virginia Commissioners of the Revenue Association and the dedicated public servants who have served as deputies in my office – Marsha Moore, Kathy Kirila, Lauma Hill, Maggie Johnson Holmes, Kristen Andrews Foster, Tina Funai Brock, Kelly Ambrose Bischof, and Taylor Grace Mitchell. And heartfelt thanks to my fellow citizens and taxpayers who have supported me in this rewarding endeavor. May God richly bless you all.”

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