State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis running for mayor of Charleston

State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis has announced he will run for mayor of Charleston.

State Rep. Leon Stavrinakis announced Monday that he will run for mayor of Charleston in the November election.

Stavrinakis, 49, a Charleston Democrat, is a lawyer who has served in the state’s House of Representatives since 2007. He previously served on Charleston County Council from 1999 to 2006, and was chairman from 2005 to 2006.

The Charleston native and West Ashley resident said that if he is elected, he will take a hands-on approach to being mayor, and focus on issues that matter to residents, such as traffic, crime and public schools.

“My plan is practical and straightforward,” Stavrinakis stated in a news release. “Fix our streets. Tackle traffic. Improve the schools. Keep people safe. Keep taxes low. And demand excellence in everything we do.”

One of Stavrinakis’s major accomplishments in the Legislature was writing and sponsoring the Boland Act, which passed and has kept guns out of the hands of many mental health patients known to be dangerously ill.

The law, passed in 2013, required state probate courts to report the names of all individuals adjudicated mentally ill in the past 10 years. They also were required to continue reporting new cases.

Those entries were than submitted by SLED to the FBI’s national database, which is used to conduct background checks for gun purchases.

The law is named after Alice Boland, a woman with a history of mental illness, who in 2013 pointed a .22-caliber pistol she’d bought a few days earlier at an administrator of Ashley Hall school. Boland pulled the trigger, but the gun didn’t fire because she’d improperly loaded the ammunition, authorities said.

Stavrinakis is seeking to replace Mayor Joe Riley, who has announced he will not run again. Riley is in his 40th year at the city’s helm.

Charleston’s mayoral field so far includes businessmen Dick Elliott and John Tecklenburg; two former City Council members, Paul Tinkler and Henry Fishburne; and current Councilman William Dudley Gregorie.

Several others are considering a run, including Ginny Deerin, Riley’s former campaign manager, and City Councilman Mike Seekings.

Reach Diane Knich at 843-937-5491 or on Twitter at @dianeknich.