The Great Mayoral Race!
While we are all very much aware and engaged with the ongoing presidential election, it is important that we do not forget that the mayoral election is underway in the City of Richmond as well. There are several candidates hoping to become the new mayor of Richmond, and below is some useful information about each of the mayoral candidates. There are also links to each candidate's site(s) and other helpful resources.
Jon T. Baliles is currently a member of the City Council for the 1st District, which covers the University of Richmond. As his platform, Baliles prioritizes giving local schools steady long-term funding as well as raising revenue for Richmond without raising taxes. More in depth information about how he plans to implement these ideas can be found here and here. Baliles also supports improving GRTC service and the Rapid Transit program (as long as it fits into the budget) and strengthening the Community Area Revitalization Effort (CARE) to help the Northside of Richmond. In addition, Baliles is in favor of establishing a historic district in Shockoe Bottom but does not support removing monuments from Monument Avenue. Furthermore, Baliles has a history of allocating resources to improving the James River Park System and has also co-produced the RVA Street Art Festival.
Jack Berry currently works as Executive Director at Venture Richmond, a public-private organization that promotes economic development in downtown Richmond. He formerly worked as the Budget Director of the City of Richmond. Berry prioritizes accumulating wealth for Richmond and sorting out finances in city government, without raising taxes. Berry supports using these funds towards a 5-year funding plan for public schools. Berry is also in favor of utilizing Bus Rapid Transit, renovating the Diamond (as long it fits in the budget), and establishing a historic district in Shockoe Bottom. Berry does not support removing monuments from Monument Avenue.
Bobby A. “BJ” Junes has served as a Henrico County Recreation Parks Commissioner and a real estate consultant. His platform is focused on reconnecting citizens with city government, which he would encourage by allowing citizens and employees to rate their interactions with the city. He would also create a position for someone to communicate regularly with employers in the city and learn about what they need. In general, Junes supports improving education and economic partnerships. Junes additionally would support financing the Diamond project if it proves to be beneficial for the city.
Joseph D. Morrissey is an attorney and former State Delegate. Morrissey is known for his boldness: such as when he brought out an assault rifle on the floor of the House of Delegates while giving a speech advocating for gun control. On the other hand, he has seen controversy: having had his law license suspended 10 times and being jailed and forcibly detained for misconduct five times during his time as a lawyer (though his license has been reinstated). Most notably, however, Morrissey served 3 months in prison after accusations he slept with his then intern (now wife) while she was a minor. On the issues, Morrissey supports increased funding for public schools and getting budget experts in office. Morrissey also is in favor of plans to reduce racial and economic inequality, such as raising minimum wage and using Pulse Rapid Bus Transit. Furthermore, he supports establishing a historic district in Shockoe Bottom in honor of African-American Heritage and removing monuments from Monument Avenue as well. More detailed outlines for his plans for schools can be found here, for managing city government here, and reducing inequality here.
Michelle R. Mosby is currently the City Council President, the first African-American woman to be elected to the position, and represents the 9th District. As a member of City Council, she prioritized a measure called Ban the Box that removed a requirement for city job applicants to disclose prior convictions. Mosby supports providing a steady funding for public schools as well as implementing a 5-to-10 year funding plan to address infrastructure needs in the schools. Mosby also supports government transparency and raising revenue in Richmond by encouraging more businesses to come to Richmond and to rely less on raising taxes to increase revenue. However, Mosby is not opposed to raising the debt ceiling and increasing taxes to pay off additional debt. Mosby supports Pulse Bus Rapid Transit, turning Shockoe Bottom into a historic district, and opposes removing the monuments from Monument Avenue.
Levar M. Stoney is the former Secretary of the Commonwealth, the first African-American appointed to the position. He also worked as executive director of the Democratic Party of Virginia in 2008. Stoney has a history restoring civil and voting rights to ex-offenders. He also served as Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s adviser and deputy campaign manager. He supports improving low performing schools by increasing school funding and communication about school needs. In addition, Stoney says he would review city government, its efficacy and its employees, as well as fix finances. For more information about his plans for public schools, look here and for more about his plans for reforming City Hall, look here. Stoney lists reducing violent crime in Richmond as a key issue for him as well as addressing poverty. Stoney additionally supports expanding transportation in the city.
Lawrence Williams is an architect. Williams supports improving school funding as well as creating two new middle schools surrounded by mixed-income housing and development in order to attract middle income families back into the city. He also would like to expand the Office of Community Wealth Building to include The International Social Research and Development Center, which would research the successful programs around the world to be used as a guideline for revising and creating new services. Williams supports building a new stadium and establishing a historic district in Shockoe Bottom. More details from Williams’s 10 point plan can be found here.