The Northern Virginia Daily's Political Depot

A service for our readers outside the Northern Shenandoah Valley... a sampling of The Daily's political coverage, plus unofficial, 'reporter's notebook' stuff. And occasional dry humor...

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Location: Strasburg, Virginia

Friday, September 02, 2005

Gilbert to quit to pursue House run; B1

By Preston Knight
(Daily Staff Writer)

WOODSTOCK — Shenandoah County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Todd Gilbert’s pursuit of political office has led him to announce his resignation from his post in the prosecutor’s office.

In a Thursday press release, Gilbert said he will officially step down Oct. 1.

Gilbert, the Republican nominee for the 15th District of the Virginia House of Delegates, said Wednesday that he needs the time to campaign, and taking that time away from the prosecutor’s office would have been unfair.

“I have been honored to represent the citizens of Shenandoah County in the courtroom,” Gilbert says in the press release.

“Now I want to represent them and all of the citizens of the 15th District in the Virginia General Assembly.”

He could not be reached for further comment Thursday.

Stanley native Kenneth Alger, who has a private practice in Luray, will replace Gilbert as assistant commonwealth’s at-torney.

For the last two years, Alger has done criminal defense work in Shenandoah and Page counties.

He, too, could not be reached for comment.

Commonwealth’s Attorney Albert T. Mitchell said it was only a matter of time before Gilbert stepped down given his run for office. Mitchell hired Gilbert in 1999.

“He knew that because of the requirements of the campaign he could not fulfill the duties in this office,” Mitchell said. “He’s always been a very conscientious and effective prosecutor. He’s able to evaluate cases very quickly and pursue them very aggressively.”

Alger’s primary court, meanwhile, will be Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court, Mitchell said. Amy Tisinger, the other assistant commonwealth’s attorney, will be responsible for General District Court.

They will each likely spend time in Circuit Court, where Mitchell said he would handle all drug cases.

Alger’s academic background stands out the most to Mitchell. A 2000 graduate of the University of Virginia, Alger received his law degree in 2003 from the University of Georgia School of Law, according to a press release issued by Mitchell. During that time, he worked for a Georgia district attorney’s office, the release said, and at the criminal division of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Middle District of Georgia.

“He’s already shown he’s an accurate and well-qualified attorney,” Mitchell said.

Gilbert spent three years as an assistant commonwealth’s attorney for the city of Lynchburg before joining Mitchell’s office.

“One of the highest honors of my life was the day I learned that I would be coming home to Shenandoah County to work on behalf of my friends and neighbors,” Gilbert says in his press release.

“Having grown up in Shenandoah County, the job of being a local prosecutor was very personal to me. I hope that in some way I have helped to make Shenandoah County a safer place to live, work and raise a family.

“I have been blessed to do a job that I love in a place that I love, and I hope that another important job lies ahead.