25-year council member Randolph reflects on changed Manassas

Randolph (J. Steven Randolph)
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By Sarah Lane
Sunday, July 18, 2010

A job in publishing brought J. Steven Randolph to Northern Virginia 32 years ago, but a passion for history and small towns drew him to Manassas.

Randolph's commitment to the city began as a resident of Georgetown South, where he served on the board of trustees. Later, he was elected PTA president at Baldwin Elementary School, where his two children went to school.

This year marks the 25th that Randolph has served on the Manassas City Council. Few council members in the city's history have served as long. A Washington Post reporter recently met with Randolph to discuss his tenure and the city to which he has committed so much time. His responses have been edited for length and clarity.

Q: What brought you to Manassas?

A: I grew up in Atlanta and Charlotte, but I was with a publishing company in Lynchburg, Va., and they promoted me here. They moved me to Northern Virginia, and then I chose Manassas -- the most beautiful town with a lot of history, and very enchanting for someone, especially like me, with a great interest in history.

Are there certain historical periods that you're interested in?

I'm very interested in the city of Manassas, not only from the Civil War aspect of it, but this is really a dynamic little community. People lived and worked here 100 years ago. The reason there are so many brick buildings is because the fire burnt everything down in about 1905. The Town Council said, "We'll rebuild it in brick." It's intriguing to me, the sense of history, the sense that we're a part of something ongoing. Somebody will look back and say some fellow named Randolph certainly served a long time. I have a real interest in history because it's about people.

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