We are in a climate emergency and I will work across departments and districts to find ways to decrease Richmond's environmental footprint and mitigate the challenges we're already experiencing from our changing climate. There are great things happening across the city on this front already, from the neighborhood level in Carver to student led initiatives at VCU.
I am a Green New Deal "Champion" and was proud to spearhead the Green City Commission's NetZero 2050 goal which was adopted June 8 by City Council as an ordinance from Mayor Stoney. I will continue to be an active partner for those working on this critical, global issue.
Richmond must continue to pursue the best possible strategies for supporting our public school system, especially as RPS adapts to remote teaching. For our families, COVID-19 highlighted and heightened the urgency of addressing achievement and resource gaps. I support discussions of investigating a year-round schedule and other actions to create a more equitable and resilient school system. I also support pay increases for our teachers and staff, and School Board member Scott Barlow's questioning of the relationship between RPS and RPD and how we can do more to stop the school to prison pipeline. I consistently advocate for RPS funding from neighborhood grants and from City Council during each budget cycle. If elected, I would challenge our state lawmakers on the antiquated funding formula they use to calculate our per pupil state allocations.
The murder of George Floyd has ignited a renewed call for policing reform including discussion of reexamining funding (RPD receives almost $100M). It also pushed Mayor Stoney to adopt the Marcus Alert and commit to creating a civilian police review board, both of which were initiatives promoted by local activists for the last two years after the killing of Marcus-David Peters. These conversations wouldn't be happening at the City Council level without the sustained push from everyday Richmonders, local activists, and subject matter experts.
Richmonders are asking for a role in public safety functions and I support that involvement. I back the Citizen Review Board with subpoena power, Marcus Alert, demilitarization of RPD, banning of tear gas and other measures currently moving forward through City Council and the General Assembly’s Special Session.
Our family supports the removal of the statues and hopes City Council will expand the ordinance beyond Monument Avenue to include a process for other statues and renaming of publicly owned assets (streets, buildings, parks, bridges). This energy must push beyond symbols however and engage in measurable actions to dismantle institutional racism so we can all live in a more equitable community.
Throughout the 2nd, and especially in the Fan where my family lives, neighbors are highly invested in the future of Monument Avenue. The City needs to begin outlining what the process will be for next steps, and how residents can be engaged in the decision making process. Read opinions on that task here: https://vcu.exposure.co/what-should-happen-next-on-monument-avenue I followed and attended the events for the General Demotion: General Devotion design competition referenced in the article, and have been in talks with it's participants on lessons learned and how we can move forward in a constructive way. The design competition can be viewed here: https://monumentavenuegdgd.com
Whether it's the lack of sidewalks in Scott's Addition or broken and dangerous ones in Rosedale, nearly every neighbor brought up sidewalks as an issue for their community. We have to find more resources for this basic infrastructure. Neighbors are also passionate about creating a vibrant and safe mix of transportation options. The 2nd is home to every demographic from seniors to students as well as businesses, schools, hospitals and non profits. All of which have different modal priorities that deserve continued attention and coordination.
Most agree Richmond needs more housing options and focused growth, however, there is tension in where to build, and how those decisions are made. I am committed to making sure those conversations are in full daylight with substantive outreach, especially now given the communication challenges of COVID-19. There is plenty of room for a vibrant mix of densities, price-points, and uses in our city.
I support economic development that is of size, timelines and financing that our city can manage successfully. I could not support Navy Hill for these concerns as well as the the lack of transparency.
We all know it's expensive living in Richmond and I'm hearing from worn-out and almost priced-out neighbors and business owners. Like many underlying city issues, COVID-19 has prompted budget discussions on tax amnesty programs that will hopefully provide relief. Richmonders also want more say in where their tax dollars go, and I support participatory budgeting which has been successfully implemented in other cities.
As the city works to recover, my focus would be on increasing revenues through economic growth and federal and state funding, not new or increased taxes. Richmond has miles of underutilized land and assets we need to activate. We also need a mechanism to address absentee owners sitting on vacant properties such as those in Jackson Ward. Additionally, if we want to promote economic growth, especially for our small business owners, we have to make it easier to "do business" in Richmond. I look forward to working with our small business owners on how we can better serve and support them.
COVID-19 has made outreach difficult. Please let me know what 2nd District & Richmond issues are your priorities.
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