RVANews, the community news aggregator for Richmond, is asking candidates for mayor and City Council to answer a question per week. Questions are emailed to candidates, responses are emailed back. Simple stuff. Last week, both 3rd District candidates responded — as did two of the three 2nd District candidates. This week, only one candidate from […]
RVANews, the community news aggregator for Richmond, is asking candidates for mayor and City Council to answer a question per week. Questions are emailed to candidates, responses are emailed back. Simple stuff. Last week, both 3rd District candidates responded — as did two of the three 2nd District candidates. This week, only one candidate from each district responded. Here are their answers to the RVANews question of the week — “What are two qualities that people who know you well might say make you suited for the office you seek?”
Charles Samuels, District 2 candidate
I could go on and on about why I think I’m the man for the job, however, while I was making the decision to run for this position, I asked people who know me if they thought I’d do a good job. They were very supportive and many of them focused on the following reasons why I would be a responsible council person:
I am willing to take the time to listen to what people have to say and educate myself on the issues before making a decision; and I took the time to gain valuable experience essential to a good council person by being active for my community in many roles where I displayed an even-temper and conducted myself professionally and respectfully.
Chris Hilbert, District 3 candidate
Passion: I am passionate about the real issues facing our city. The issues of crime, education and community building are not just campaign rhetoric; they are very much a part of who I am.
Because an immediate family member of mine was murdered, I want safer streets for us all. I know the pain that this trauma inflicts upon the entire community. I want to not only be there for the community in a crisis, but am working on crime fighting issues such as adding 100 new police officers since I have been on council. It also means working on prevention programs, protecting our youth from the harsh realities of our streets by promoting positive activities in which they can participate.
Also, by being the first person in my family to graduate from college, I know what a difference it has made in my life. I went to an underperforming high school and know that I had to work that much harder when I went to college. I want those same opportunities for the children of Richmond, but without the obstacles that I faced.
Finally, I have spent the last 10 years of my professional career in community development lending. That is lending in low and moderate income neighborhoods, to developers of affordable housing and businesses that serve and/or employee low and moderate income individuals. Serving on city council provides me an opportunity to have an even greater impact in these areas.
Therefore, I believe that my life experiences uniquely qualify me for the most important issues facing our city: crime, education and building strong communities.
Persistent Independence: When I came to council in 2005, I was ready to work with the Administration in a collaborative fashion on the important issues facing our city. I wanted to elevate the discussion. However, we quickly became entangled with issues over budget procedures and other technicalities. Nonetheless, I stayed true to my pledge to conduct myself in a fashion that would reflect positively upon the city. I did not engage in name-calling or other divisive language, yet I persisted in maintaining a sense of decorum even though I disagreed with others. I spoke out when I saw something that I believe was wrong, regardless of who was involved. My loyalties will always lie with the people of our district and the citizens of the city. They are the ones who sent me to city hall to represent their interests. It is certainly important to have good working relationships with people and I believe that I have laid that foundation at city hall. However, I do this in the context of knowing that I work for the residents of our district and the citizens of Richmond.
We all know that the wheels of government turn slowly. Government has lots of rules and regulations to make sure that sound decisions are made and carried out in a fair and equitable manner, which can be counter to efficiency. I believe that it takes someone with the persistence to stay on an issue until it is resolved. I have done this and will continue to do so if re-elected.