Michael Lee Pope

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Michael Lee Pope is an award-winning journalist who lives in Old Town Alexandria. He has reported for NPR, the New York Daily News and Northern Virginia Magazine. He has a master's degree in American Studies from Florida State University, and he is a former adjunct professor at Tallahassee Community College. Pope is the author of four books.

Recent Stories

Running for Second in Command

Thirteen candidates are running for lieutenant governor in Virginia.

Seven Democrats and six Republicans are trying to secure their parties' nomination to be the candidate for lieutenant governor on the November ballot.

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Lucky Thirteen

June 8 primary will feature more than a dozen Democrats running for six seats

Recent years have seen a dramatic shift in city politics. Three years ago, the incumbent mayor was unseated in an election where two incumbent City Council members were turned out of office. Now three of the six seats on the council are open, and 13 candidates are running for six seats.

Green Summer

Alexandria delegation works with the governor to legalize marijuana on July 1.

Alexandria is about to become the capital of marijuana in Virginia. The city's legislative delegation is at the center of an effort poised to legalize weed this summer, years ahead of an agreement that was struck behind closed doors at the end of the General Assembly session in February.

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Ethicist on the Bench

Prosecutor of bad lawyers to take a seat on the Alexandria Circuit Court

Prosecuting unethical lawyers is not a great way to win friends and influence people. Yet somehow Kathleen Uston has been able to figure out a way to trade her job as assistant bar counsel at the Virginia State Bar for a seat on the Alexandria Circuit Court. She'll be installed on the court next week, the culmination of a career that has given Uston an inside look at some of the worst lawyering in Virginia while also giving her a special insight into the role ethics plays in the law. — Yvonne Weight Callahan

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Seeing Double

Alexandria delegate is one of four House members whose name will be on the ballot twice.

The ballot for the Democratic primary in June might cause you to do a double take. Del. Mark Levine (D-45) will be on the ballot twice, once running for reelection against primary challenger Elizabeth Bennett-Parker and then again against seven other candidates for lieutenant governor. Levine and three other House members will be doing double duty, asking voters to reject their primary opponents for seats they would vacate if they win stateside office.

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McAuliffe to Pick Up Support in Alexandria

Former governor to receive key endorsements from prominent city officials.

As the spring campaign season heats up, former Gov. Terry McAuliffe is about to receive endorsements from prominent Alexandria elected officials in the hotly contested Democratic primary for governor.

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Starting from a Clean Slate

Compromise on expungement: automatic for some misdemeanors, petition for some felonies.

Marijuana convictions will be automatically expunged under a bill now under consideration by Gov. Ralph Northam, although convictions for crack cocaine will require missing a day of work and probably hiring a lawyer to go to court and seal the record. The legislation is a compromise crafted late in the General Assembly session by House Majority Leader Charniele Herring of Alexandria and state Sen. Scott Surovell (D-36), who clashed repeatedly over the last year about how the process should work.

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High Time for Legalization?

Advocates call on the governor to legalize marijuana as soon as possible.

The debate over legalizing marijuana is about to light up, putting Gov. Ralph Northam at the center of a budding controversy. At issue is a question of timing. Should he agree with lawmakers that legalization should wait until New Years Day 2024, giving the commonwealth enough time to stand up the new Cannabis Control Authority? Or should he amend the bill the General Assembly put on his desk to legalize weed now to prevent communities of color from being overpoliced in the interim?

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Controlling Gun Violence

After assault weapons stumble, lawmakers limit guns at polling places and government buildings.

Fulfilling their campaign promises to take action against gun violence, Democrats in the General Assembly are sending Gov. Ralph Northam several gun-violence prevention bills.

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The Strange Career of Felon Disenfranchisement

Amendment targets Jacksonian-era restriction weaponized during Jim Crow.

Felons have been prohibited from voting in Virginia since 1830, when the "right to suffrage" was denied "to any person convicted of any infamous offense." But it was during the era of Jim Crow that felon disenfranchisement became weaponized to prevent Black voters from influencing elections.

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