I have spent most of my career in public service, striving to make government work better. Eight of those years were in Richmond’s City Hall, where I pushed for change from inside our city government.
I teach public policy students at the University of Virginia about innovating city governments, and, through my work at Civic Innovator as well, I have learned how cities all over the world operate. I want to apply right here in Richmond the lessons I’ve learned from working with cities across the U.S. and around the world. From my teaching, work, and community meetings, I’ve seen the exceptional city Richmond can become, and better core services are essential.
Richmonders want a City Hall that can clean our streets, pick up trash and recycling, fill potholes, plow snow, cut grass, and repair sidewalks in a timely manner. While our city has a long way to go, we have made significant strides in creating better services since I took office.
40% of First District roads have been repaved since 2017, and Richmond’s paving budget has more than doubled. Our streets are safer and easier to drive and cause less wear and tear to vehicles than they did four years.
Since I was elected, the city has purchased eight trucks to handle solid waste and hired 16 workers to operate them, resulting in faster pickup times.
One of my top projects throughout my time at City Hall was improving city services through the RVA 311 hotline, where citizens can request services like repairing an alley or fixing a pothole. As your Councilman, I worked with City Hall to expand RVA 311 from 8 services listed to over 60 services, making it a one-stop-shop for service requests. We also made RVA 311 more transparent by requiring City Hall to publicly report all requests they receive. The continuous improvements we have made to RVA 311 have made City Hall more responsive to you and faster to get the job done.
Despite the progress we have made in improving service provision within the City, we still have a long way to go. I am committed to ensuring that your interactions with City government are quicker, easier, and smoother. Basic home improvements like adding a back porch to your home should not be held up by a back-log of permitting needs. It should not take months for the city to review simple projects.
If you re-elect me, we will continue improving our city’s core services. We will continue to pave roads, pick up garbage, and finish service requests more quickly than before I took office, and I am working hard to build upon and exceed the progress of the past four years.
My plan to start participatory budgeting as part of the city’s budget process will give you more power in deciding what projects the city builds. With participatory budgeting, residents will have the opportunity to come together, design, and vote upon different projects funded by city dollars. This money will come from existing funds in the budget, and can be used on anything from planting trees, to paving roads, to fixing sidewalks. Our city can improve its services by giving you more say in how the city is run. To learn more about participatory budgeting, you can read my Richmond Times-Dispatch op/ed on how this process will improve our city.
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