Hello Grid readers. Since being elected mayor of this great city, I’d like to share some of my objectives to lead a city that grows and prospers as “One Richmond,” a theme I incorporated in both my campaign and now in my new administration.
My immediate objectives include bringing accountability to City Hall, an initiative that is now already well underway with an unsparing and comprehensive performance review of all city departments. We are now figuring out what works and what doesn’t; then we will take the appropriate actions to keep and maintain what works, while improving or abandoning what does not.
My administration is focused on investments in our future, and our young people of the generation that will lead us next. We have initiated a new, collaborative approach to meeting the needs of our school children with the formation of an Education Compact, unanimously supported by our City Council and School Board. This compact will formalize a partnership institutionalizing both collaboration and communication between the administration, City Council and Richmond Public Schools.
This initiative goes hand in hand with our Community Wealth Building efforts designed to connect low income families with the services, support and job opportunities that can help lift them out of poverty, a priority that will stay with me each and every day I am fortunate enough to serve as Richmond’s mayor.
As a city, we are also reaffirming our policies of inclusion for all Richmond’s residents. We are taking a stand against the recent intolerance and divisiveness coming from Washington, embodied in legislation and policies that are un-Constitutional and un-American. No matter how you worship, where you’re from or who you love, we welcome you in Richmond. Richmond will not make misguided attempts to keep our communities safe. Public safety is a universal priority and shared responsibility, not a political commodity. Richmond, like many other cities, is not immune to the scourge of gun violence and the opioid epidemic, which leaves a trail of death and destroyed families. People who are addicted to opioids need help whether they’re in Ohio, New York, Cali, or Richmond – no one is immune to addiction.
As I have said many times before, our police department does a super job, but they are not super heroes; and while I have submitted my administration’s first budget with additional funding for our public safety needs, I am calling upon our citizens to be proactive. We need people who see something, to say something. We need disputes on social media to stay on social media. We also want you and your fellow citizens to join us in holding state and federal lawmakers accountable to do their part. We all have a responsibility to our fellow citizens to be proactive in this regard.
I’ve committed to being a hands-on, visible Mayor. It’s part of what is needed to bring people together to build One Richmond. Facing our challenges head on is the only way to move our city forward and keep the momentum we have going; because we do have momentum. Richmond is where people want to be now. We are a foodie destination and city that bikes. We have a thriving arts, culture and entertainment scene in an especially historic city – with one of the best river and park systems in America.
We are now also poised to take our economic development successes to the next level, fueled by our small businesses, innovation and tech startups, and encouraged by the successes of homegrown breweries and more Fortune 500 companies moving to Richmond. And most importantly, we have the people of Richmond – our greatest asset, whose abundant talents and love of RVA make the One Richmond goal attainable. Your active citizenry is essential, and it gives me great confidence that we can overcome our challenges and build upon our early successes.
Working together is what One Richmond is all about. It is how we will write a new history for this city going forward, one of which we can all be proud.