District 2 candidate
Overall participation: 71%
List five initiatives that you believe are more important than finding a new baseball team for the City of Richmond.
There are a couple of things that are more important than replacing the baseball team.
First of all, we need stronger support for our schools. I shared with the REA how one of my closest female friends have left RPS to teach in DC because she fills that she will receive more support as an Art Teacher. She feels that the political climate in Richmond has stifled the potential of strong academic programs. We need cooperation where our school system can work in concert with academic programs in some of our surrounding sister jurisdictions. We also need a sincere effort between the 5 four year institutions in our region to help all of the school districts in our region to create thematic centers which focus on certain areas of academics. This will enhance the education experience all of our youth. I am thankful for the endorsement of the REA. I shared this vision with them. And with me on council, we will begin to see that support.
Second, we need to have a regional approach to mass transit, and we need to repair our desperate roads.
Third, we need to encourage more small business opportunities in Richmond. Small businesses help create more jobs. Not only do we need to make the city easier for small businesses to succeed, we also need to lure some more major companies to the city. This all helps us to create more jobs, which allows us to spend our dollars in our communities several times before it leaves our community. This ultimately helps support any new schools, teams, roads, and any other infrastructure initiatives which makes Richmond great.
Fourth, we need to make Richmond a place where ALL can live. As we move toward helping the homeless find decent housing, we still create a community that Bill Gates can call home. In other words, we need to create housing options that invites the middle class and does not displace the poor. In my district exist one of the larger public housing communities. There isn’t a secret that RRHA will tear it down. We need to assist those who are there so that they are guaranteed housing there if they wish. By having a diverse choice of housing styles, with the new development, we help to create a more inviting community where we can get as close to one for one replacement as possible. This community will be a stronger community and not a repeat as to what happened in Blackwell.
Fifth, we need to not set a new team up for failure. We need to create a world class sports complex which will make Richmond a contender for more national sporting chains and events. This is not to be done totally on the city’s dime, but a regional approach which shows that a new Richmond Region has emerged where we work together. All of these things help us to get closer to A GREATER RICHMOND!!!
What are two qualities that people who know you well might say make you suited for the office you seek?
1. Passion for community: As a Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year, a CACIL member for 13 years, Youth Matters Board Member, Urban Land Institute Young Leader, Urban League Young Professional, Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee Member, NAACP Affordable Housing Committee Member, Polaris of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity Inc. (Eta Chapter), 6th Mt. Zion Member, and countless other organizations, I have had the opportunity to work with many different facets of our community. All of these organizations work toward creating stronger communities which everyone can live in. I am proud to associate with all of these organizations and bring what they have taught me to the council. The diversity of these organizations is what help me want to make Richmond a city where everyone has a place. Everyone is loved. Everyone can contribute.
2. Audacity: The mere fact that I am running, knowing that I would be the underdog, shows that I am bold enough to try new things to push this city in a direction which will turn it into a top tier city. I haven’t been bought out by any special interest, nor do I have the political who’s who in my back pocket. I have a tenacious drive to make the audacious vision that my community has come to fruition, and it won’t be compromised.
What are your thoughts on the relationship between the current mayor and city council? Outline a model for how you’d like to see the mayor and city council work together in the future.
If you support the proposed Downtown Master Plan and if you are elected, what specifically will you do to ensure the plan is implemented? If you oppose the proposed Downtown Master Plan and if you are elected, what steps will you take to correct, change, or modify the plan?
I support the downtown plan. As a member of some of the planning sessions, I certainly will work to see some of my personal thoughts come to fruition.
The company who was hired to help us put this plan came up with excellent solutions to how we can make this plan a reality. I believe that we should follow their suggestions and move toward funding the plan. This plan helps us in our initiative to become a top tier city.
The only thing that I would change with this plan is the creation of a Slave Memorial Museum at the end of the slave trail in Shockoe.
What do you consider to be Richmond’s greatest asset? What do you consider to be its greatest liability?
There are so many great assets. History, people, location, GRTC, and many others. I would say that one of the best (but not necessarily the greatest) would be our higher education community.
Virginia Union can boast about being the institution which graduated the First Black Mayor of Richmond, Governor of Virginia, and Admiral in the Navy. No other school in the nation has that distinction. Virginia Union, along with Virginia State, implements the regions Upward Bound program. This program tutors and mentors high school students so that they may become strong candidates for admission to college. If it were not for Union, Richmond may not be here as we know it today.
Reynolds also works in tandum with our School System to help improve the performance of our middle school students with the New Horizons program.
MCV has been recognized nationally for its great trauma center.
UofR Law School is ranked in the top 100 of our Nations Best Law Schools by US News and World Reports.
VCU is celebrating 40 years as an institution.
Our 2 & 4 year institutions are doing great things and we need to continue to show our support.
The greatest liability is the Region’s unwillingness, until now, to work together. As we face the economic times that we are in, we must not continue to find ways to separate and divide us. I believe that now is the time for us to work together to help insure our economic viability as a region. This is done with regional partnerships with thematic schools, regional transportation, and business community support with education.
If elected, how will you promote the use of public transportation by Richmond residents? What improvements would you make to the current system in order to do so?
The production of a world class regional transit system is one of the key components of my plan for a Greater Richmond. As a member of the Citizen Transportation Advisory Committee, we have made improvements to GRTC one of our top priorities. Some of these improvements include a downtown transfer station and a Bus Rapid Transit line along Broad St and possibly Hull or Midlothian. At this time however, we need to move toward routes which help to connect the city with the surrounding counties. This helps to make the system reach places where everyone wants access. Currently, the system only operates in certain neighborhoods, and doesn’t reach major destinations in the surrounding counties.
Providing service, on a smaller scale, to communities outside of the downtown core helps to interconnect the region. Also, creating a downtown circulator, which helps to connect people to major downtown attractions, helps to speed service on routes which are destined for local neighborhood routes. This circulator also will cut down on wait times for riders so that we don’t have a mass of riders waiting on sidewalks. Service in these areas also helps to make the system more attractive for use beyond major peak work hours.
Regional transit is the key to providing the link to connect our suburban community with our urban community. This initiative will help us as we continue to face unstable gas prices, and it will motivate us to find alternatives to driving which pollutes our community.
The city, state, and nation are facing a severe economic crisis, and yet during elections we typically hear candidates promoting projects and ideas that will require additional financial support. What are some initiatives you think Richmond is going to have to put on the back burner as we weather these challenging times? Please explain why.