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Paul D. Fraim was born in Norfolk, Virginia, graduated from Norfolk Catholic High School, completed undergraduate studies at Virginia Military Institute, received his Masters in Education from the University of Virginia and his law degree from the University of Richmond.

A member of Norfolk City Council since 1986, he was elected Mayor on July 1, 1994, and has been elected to a new four-year term beginning July 2010 and served until 2016.

He began private practice in May 1977, and is presently president of the law firm of Fraim and Fiorella, PC. He is a member of the TowneBank Board of Directors and Chairman of its Norfolk Board.

He has been a member of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission since 1990 and formerly served as chairman. He is a former chairman of the Hampton Roads Transportation Planning Organization and currently serves on the Board of Directors. He is past co-chair of the Hampton Roads Military and Federal Facilities Alliance and currently serves on the Board of Directors. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Norfolk Corporation. He is former chairman of the Norfolk Electoral Board and the Norfolk Highway Safety Commission. He is the former chair of the USS Wisconsin Foundation, is a member of the Virginia Maritime Heritage Foundation, and a member of the National Maritime Center Board of Directors. He is a trustee of the Eastern Virginia Medical School Foundation. He is vice-president of the VMI Board of Visitors. He is a member of the Board of Directors of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and Museum.

He was co-captain of the football team at VMI and coached football at both the University of Virginia and the University of Richmond. The Norfolk Sports Club named him “Man of the Year” in sports in the metropolitan area for 1994. In 1995 he received Old Dominion University’s “Bud Metheny” award, and was named “Sportsman of the Year” in 1996 by The Virginian-Pilot. In 1996 the Downtown Norfolk Council selected him as the “Downtowner of the Year.” He was also awarded in 1996 the Meritorious Public Service Award Medal from the United States Navy. He was the recipient of the 1998 Tidewater Humanitarian Award presented by The National Conference of Christians and Jews. In 2004 the Hampton Roads Maritime Association presented him with its "Port Champion" award. In 2007 he was presented the “Bishop’s Humanitarian Award” by Catholic Charities of Eastern Virginia and the “A Home for Every American Award,” a national honor given by the United States Interagency Council on Homelessness.

Mr. Fraim is a member of the Virginia State Bar. He is a member of and has served on the Executive Committee of the Virginia Bar Association, and he is also a fellow of the Virginia Law Foundation.

He is married to Elizabeth Peer Fraim and they have four children.