Sagal Ahmed, Contributing Writer
Richmond voters will choose from five mayoral candidates next Tuesday. Below is information regarding each of the candidates’ platforms.
Kim Gray is currently a 2nd District councilwoman, elected in 2016. Prior to serving on Richmond City Council, the 49-year-old served two terms on the school board. She criticized Stoney’s handling of COVID-19, saying his budget planning underestimated revenue loss and use of federal funding lacked urgency.
The councilwoman proposed an independent review of the Richmond Police Department and other agencies’ responses to this summers’ civil unrest. She supports establishing a citizen advisory board, but she has not publicly supported giving the board subpoena power. She has made public comments denouncing property damage and voted against a council resolution that would have banned tear gas in the city.
In the past, Gray has voted against the Navy Hill redevelopment project as well as tax increases on real estate and meals. In February 2019, she led efforts to rename Boulevard to honor humanitarian and tennis player Arthur Ashe Jr.
Gray has raised $391,503 from 764 donations as of Oct. 22, according to campaign finance records provided by Virginia Public Access Project. She has spent $290,367.
Justin Griffin was born and raised in Nashville, Tennessee. After completing law school at the University of Richmond, Griffin opened his own firm that he says has helped more than 500 Virginia businesses.
After reviewing the financial projection of the Navy Hill development project, Griffin created NoColiseum.com and drafted an analysis of the plan. He stated he will not raise taxes and hopes to use revenue to improve city roads.
The 31-year-old has a three-pronged plan to build better schools in Richmond. He aims to address the city’s falling graduation rates, school building maintenance and adapting curricula to focus on student literacy and teacher autonomy.
After reviewing the police department, Griffin plans to improve social services, accountability, training and implement community policing. Griffin said he does not support defunding the police and that vandalism “cannot be allowed,” in reference to civil unrest in Richmond.
Griffin has raised $44,336 from 276 donations as of Oct. 22, according to campaign finance records. He has spent $41,143.
Tracey McLean is a Richmond native. She is an award-winning author and talk show host. She is also a member of the NAACP, Women in Film and Television, the Metropolitan Business League and Humane Society.
McLean supports reparations for African Americans by giving Black Richmond families $500 each month. She told the Richmond Times-Dispatch that she would support the program by offering part of her salary and encouraging support from local corporations.
She has a plan for affordable housing that includes discounted housing for low-income families. McLean also aims to improve technology in public schools.
She plans to enforce mandatory and regular assessments of police officers. The author would divert funds from the police budget into the community. She supports having a mental health unit that would act as responders for situations involving mental crises.
The 49-year-old supports easing restrictions on land use to provide more affordable housing. She also hopes to start development projects to increase tax revenue.
McLean last reported in August raising $382 from three donations.
Alexsis Rodgers is a VCU alumna and currently lives in the Fan. The Hanover County native is a civic leader and former policy director for Gov. Ralph Northam when he served as lieutenant governor.
Rodgers has advocated for economic security, voting rights, college affordability and quality health care for the past eight years. She would work to receive more funding for Richmond Public Schools from the state. She also plans to evaluate the school funding system and expedite plans to safely return teachers and students to classrooms.
Rodgers supports the creation of a civilian review board and opposes excessive force against civilians. She has proposed implementing a citywide Marcus Alert, improving police training, increasing transparency within the police department, ending cooperation with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and combating gun violence.
The 28-year-old is the youngest candidate in the race and announced her run for office in June in response to the city’s handling of protest demands and civil unrest.
Rodgers’ campaign raised $414,319 from 2,972 donations, according to Oct. 22 campaign finance reports. She has spent $267,452.
Levar Stoney is the current mayor of Richmond. Stoney approved funding for three new public schools serving Black communities in the Southside and East End. The mayor also pursued the Navy Hill project, which failed in Richmond City Council. Some criticized the project for not being transparent to the community.
In regards to the COVID-19 pandemic, Stoney announced the Richmond Recovers grant in August to provide small businesses and nonprofits aid ranging from $10,000 to $15,000. Stoney has been vocal about closing VCU if COVID-19 cases increase.
The 39-year-old asked Richmond’s Commonwealth Attorney to investigate the incident where police officers tear-gassed protesters at the Robert E. Lee Monument on June 1, which led to the resignation of Police Chief William Smith. He also called for removal of the city’s Confederate monuments. Stoney is receiving backlash due to complacency with police use of chemical agents during summer protests.
Stoney’s campaign raised $1.05 million from 1,420 donations, according to Oct. 22 campaign finance reports. He has spent $863,130.
Staff Writer Katharine DeRosa and Managing Editor Hannah Eason contributed to this report.