Mayoral candidates square off at VUU

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Andrew Crider
Online News Editor

12 candidates for mayor took the stage of Virginia Union University’s Allix James Chapel Wednesday night as part of a forum hosted by former mayor and governor Douglas Wilder.

The forum was the first meeting of the 12 candidates, some of whom announced their candidacy as late as several weeks ago for the November election.

The candidates included city council members Chris Hilbert, Jonathan Baliles, Bruce Tyler and council Pres. Michelle Mosby, former delegate Joseph Morrissey, community activists Alan Schintzius and Rick Tatnall, community strategist Lillie Estes, Venture Richmond Executive Director Jack Berry, Richmond Public Schools teacher Chad Ingold, businessman Brad Froman and architect Lawrence Williams.

The two hour event consisted of panel discussions on policy and leadership, political landscape, the importance of turnout and communication followed by a Q&A with the audience.

There was no shortage of criticism of the Dwight C Jones administration from the mayoral candidates, with the city’s budget and public schools being the focal issues of the night.

Chad Ingold, VCU alumni and public school teacher, was the first candidate to speak and immediately emphasized the importance of public schools.

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“Our schools are under attack. As mayor of Richmond I will put the city school system at the highest level,” Ingold said. “I will be ready to go on day one because this city cannot wait. “

On the issue of education, Tyler said that he would work to reduce the school to prison pipeline.

“Fightin” Morrissey argued in favor of fixing the city’s finances while criticizing the mayor’s delayed budgets.

“You need budget experts who can get a capital report out and out all time,” Morrissey said. “The first thing i would do every morning for two hours, just like I did in city government, is go over the budget line by line.”

VCU Alumni and community strategist Lillie Estes argued that the city needs to work to address poverty.

“Richmond does not work for all of its citizens and we need to fix that,” Estes said. “I cannot believe with the redevelopment going on in east end when you are going to shut down a high school.”

Estes said that as she’s running for mayor, she lives in public housing, an example she used to stress the point that she believes everyone had a right to be represented no matter their circumstance.

“We need to look at what we are doing for the entirety of the citizens,” Estes said.

Wilder interjected Hilbert’s statements about vetoes from the mayor’s office and argued that Hilbert’s claims of cooperation with the mayor where bad compromises in reality in a three minute one on one.

Estes, Morrissey and Ingold were the only candidates to support the removal of the confederate statues.

Morrissey again received gasp from the audience when he advocated shutting down the mayor’s protection detail. The mayor’s protection detail has become larger and more costly under Jones’s administration.

Ingold spoke on this during his opening remarks but Morrissey got shocks when he said, “At a million dollars a year, I don’t need a protection team to protect me, I can protect myself, I’ve been in a fight once or twice.”

The forum was a part of The Wilder Symposium: Race & American Society, a program organized by VCU.


Online News Editor, Andrew Crider

Andrew Crider, photo by Brooke MarshAndrew is a junior economics major who has written for student newspapers since he was in high school. Andrew is interested in political history, aviation, photography and running. He has a tendency to refer to his peers, coworkers and bosses as “ma’am” or “sir,” but is getting better about referring to his friends at the CT by their first names instead. // Facebook

crideraa@commonwealthtimes.org

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