Mayor Questionnaire: Kim Gray (https://kimgrayrva.com/)
Dear Richmond Together:
Thank you for your thoughtful questionnaire and insights into some of the many challenges the City faces. The questionnaire format you have provided doesn’t always do justice to the interconnectedness of these issues, and I hope you will accept this letter as an appropriate response.
Let me preface this letter by stating that many of the issues you cite can be attributed to the lack of transparency or community outreach by the Administration. Whether it is excluding RRHA residents from RRHA board meetings discussing their future, secretly negotiating downtown development deals, failing to energize and lead the Education Compact, ignoring the written requests of the Richmond Transparency and Accountability Project, or abandoning the longstanding practices of community policing, it is clear to most citizens that Richmond has gone backwards on many fronts.
Compounding this is the extraordinary economic uncertainty facing the entire country. We are relatively lucky to be in the orbit of our national and state capital regions, but there is a strong likelihood that Richmond may be in a long struggle to regrow our economy and our tax base. To that end, I will have three priorities as Mayor—my “three C’s”
These priorities will drive our budget priorities. I completely agree with your emphasis on job training and the value of technical education for our students who may not want to pursue a college education. Along with expanded programs for home ownership and City requirements for living wages, we can seta standard for the region that will benefit all of us and, potentially, allow for regional solutions to housing affordability and meeting the skill needs of the contemporary Richmond economy.
To many of your other points, the City and the Commonwealth have frameworks, like the Office of Community Wealth Building, that may not completely solve every problem, but at least provide an opportunity for incremental progress and show the larger community that we can make progress on these difficult issues.
I would welcome your insights and advice on the best City investments to achieve these worthwhile and achievable goals. As Mayor, I will ask groups like Richmond Together to work with me and roll up our sleeves and help us make Richmond the City we all know it can be.
Kim B. Gray