Holley first served as a member of the Portsmouth City Council from 1968 to 1984, and was vice-mayor from 1978 to 1980. Upon his election in 1968, he became the first African American to serve on Portsmouth's City Council. He has twice held the office of mayor, first from July 1, 1984, to December 15, 1987, and again from July 1996 to the present day. Holley is also the first African American mayor in the city's history. His first term came to an end when he was forced from office following an expense account scandal, becoming the first Virginia politician in modern times to be recalled. Another factor in Holley's removal from office was his being linked to hate mail that was sent to community leaders. In May 2008 Holley was re-elected, narrowly defeating challenger Martha Ann Creecy in the first contested mayoral election in Portsmouth since 1996.
While an Independent, Holley has backed both Democrats and Republicans running for office, including Hillary Rodham Clinton's 2008 presidential bid and former Senator George Allen's 2006 re-election bid. He also made a campaign contribution to Barack Obama.
Holley has supported a smoking ban proposed by Tim Kaine. He also serves as chairman of Hampton Roads Transit.
Holley drew criticism in 2008 for suggesting that Portsmouth needed a "black" hotel to act as a counter-balance to the "white" Renaissance Hotel. Holley was an early supporter of the Renaissance; his portrait hangs in the lobby, and the hotel's ballroom is named the "Holley Ballroom." He later apologized for the remark, saying that his words were "misconstrued" and "misinterpreted."
That is some “independent”
I lived in Portsmouth for over 20 years. Never heard Holley called an independent before.