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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Richmond City Council District 5

Duties - City Council creates and amends local laws, provides government policy and oversight, and approves the city budget and school budget. Nine Council members are elected from districts in nonpartisan elections. The Council elects a president from among its members and appoints a city clerk.Term - 4 years - this is a special election to fill an unexpired termSalary - $25,000 (Council president $27,000)

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  • Candidate picture

    Nicholas DaSilva
    (I)

  • Candidate picture

    Stephanie Lynch
    (I)

  • Jer'Mykeal D. McCoy
    (I)

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    Robin Denise Mines
    (I)

  • H.W. "Chuck" Richardson
    (I)

  • Candidate picture

    Graham J. Sturm
    (I)

  • Candidate picture

    Mamie L. Taylor
    (I)

  • Candidate picture

    Thad Williamson
    (I)

Biographical Information

What qualifications make you the best candidate for this office?

What are the greatest challenges facing your district and the City? How would you address these?

How would you prioritize City spending to ensure adequate funding of services, including meeting the needs of the school system?

What can be done by the City to reduce gun violence and crime in general?

Campaign Phone (540) 848-3771
Age 21
Twitter page https://twitter.com/DaSilvaRVA
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/DaSilvaForCouncil
I am a working-class candidate who personally lived through and seen the struggles of every day Richmonders. Richmond needs a city council member who will fight for the economic and social justice for all people. We need a city council member who will make Richmond a sanctuary against the repressive laws of State and Federal legislatures who seek to infringe upon human rights. I have organized and fought for that Richmond as a private citizen, now I want to bring that fight to city hall.
The greatest challenge facing the district and Richmond generally is the economic disparity a quarter of our residents face daily. 25% of our population lives in poverty while we have vastly underfunded city services. This year, thousands of residents will be evicted from their homes and thousands more kicked out of public housing. We need to prioritize unheard voices by meeting people where they are and funding services through taxing corporations and developers.
The lack of funding for necessities of life is the most relevant issue for residents. When people spend hours trying to get to work, can’t easily access healthy food, and worry about whether they will be evicted, they can’t possibly live a happy and fulfilled life. We need to prioritize funding for public transportation, schools, and housing through changes in progressive taxation in our real estate taxes and by taxing corporations and developers who take advantage of our city for profit.
I recently spoke to the mother of a man who died of gun violence in Richmond. We discussed how the majority of crimes happening in Richmond are economic crimes of opportunity. When people are pushed to desperation and crime because of a lack of housing, food, or other basic needs, we are failing that person. By creating and public schools, housing, and transportation that address peoples basic needs, we can strike at the root of crime and prevent it from happening.
Campaign Phone (804) 441-2671
Age 32
Twitter page twitter.com/stephanie4rva
Facebook page www.facebook.com/electstephanielynch
I am intimately familiar with the challenges faced by everyday residents in Richmond, and have experience addressing those challenges. I have years of experience as a social worker in Richmond directly helping people in difficult circumstances, and I similarly have years of experience developing policy solutions, advocating for funding and reforms on behalf of Richmond at the State Level. I also would be the first woman to ever represent the fifth, as well as the first south side resident.
The biggest issue facing the 5th District is a lack of funding for the most critical functions our City offers to our residents. We need to be willing to think outside of the box on this issue. Instead of continuing to rely solely on increasing the tax burden of Richmond residents, we need to fight for Richmond to get its fair share out of the Virginia state budget through advocacy, and renegotiating the "Payment in lieu of taxes" paid by VCU and other tax exempt entities.
I have a “Back to Basics” approach. We need to prioritize properly funding schools, administration of our basic city services, and maintenance and investment in our aging infrastructure first. I have a decade of experience working with budgets and administrations in the General Assembly, so I know what tough questions to ask, and how to prioritize critical investments first. Outside of funding, we have to find ways to engage with our communities first to meet their needs more effectively.
I live just four block from Carter Jones Park, where Markiya Dickson was gunned down. As a social worker in these communities, I know that we need to take holistic action to prevent further gun violence. First, we need invest in our schools and economic development to engage our youth, second, we need to invest in a community policing model that is responsive in all neighborhoods, and third, we need to advocate in the General Assembly for common sense gun reforms to keep guns off the streets.
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Campaign Phone (804) 304-5918
Age 61
Twitter page Rev. Robin D. Mines @RobinMines1
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FriendsOfRobinMines
Second Email rdmspirit@yahoo.com
I believe the voices of our citizens must be heard and their concerns must be addressed. Advocating for the citizens in my district is my primary goal. I will bring to the seat of City Council a spirit of cooperation that reflects the character, integrity, sound judgment, compassion and respect our citizens deserve. My quality of life, commitment to service and professional experiences have combined to prepare me to serve my district and the City with a clear understanding of what it means to
One of the biggest challenges is high concentrations of poverty which have a huge impact on our children which affects the education process. I would work with HUD, RRHA and the Mayor proposing to diversify communities which will include a mixture of high-end homes as well as housing for low-income families and affordable units. I experienced this living environment when I resided in Shoreview, Minnesota. I would support these mixed-use developments by including retail, market-rate housing.
I will propose and support any legislation to maximize our education budget to ensure we have the best for our students in RPS and work diligently along with the school board to ensure funds are being properly used and distributed to all neighborhoods. I would also support teacher salary increases to exceed the national average. I would also support teacher housing assistance/grants in order to attract strong teachers. I would also encourage congregations to support our schools.
We have to create more opportunities for our youth. Recreation, job training programs, gun buyback programs, and better schools. We have got to address poverty with affordable housing other than project living. Rebuild trust between RPD and our communities. I would also support efforts to increase the number of police officers in Richmond.
Candidate has not yet responded.
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Campaign Phone (804) 212-8654
Age 32
Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/grahamrva5/?modal=admin_todo_tour
My best qualification is that I am a teacher in Richmond Public Schools. I have taught high school in the city for eight years. The school system is the largest part of the budget and our aging schools need to be replaced. Not a single teacher serves on city council and me and my colleagues have first-hand knowledge of the challenges that face our students, staff, and facilities. It is time we get serious about education.
Our greatest challenge is setting priorities. Too often Richmond pays for what it wants while what we need goes unaddressed. In my house we pay for what we need first and save for what we want. We pay our mortgage bill first, cell phone bill last, and save for vacations and granite countertops. You cannot put a vacation on your credit card, pay your cell phone bill, and let your mortgage lapse--yet we'd pay for a new coliseum, let potholes go unfixed, and let our schools continue to crumble.
First I would adopt a zero-based budgeting practice. You cannot adequately fund and address our needs without first justifying the money that is already being spent. Second, you prioritize your needs and your wants. We want a coliseum. We need new schools. We need trash services without a backlog of garbage cans. We need roads repaired. You cannot kick the can down the road, at least not here in Richmond, it would just get stuck in one of our potholes!
I was a student on campus at Virginia Tech on the day the worst school shooting in the history of our country unfolded. It is very important to me that we provide safe schools. They should all be outfitted with metal detectors, security staff, and resource officers. More broadly, reducing the amount of illegally owned guns on our streets means more community policing. I support state-wide efforts to decriminalize non-violent drug offenses and such efforts would drastically reduce crime.
Campaign Phone (804) 420-5239
Age 50
Twitter page @MamieTforthe5th
Facebook page Mamie Taylor For City Council
Experience/Transparent: I am a former RPS educator who became a School Board member for the 5th. I served a 4 year term, writing and revising policies (Equity and Kindergarten), creating positions (testing coordinators and parent/teacher liaisons) and suggesting the salary decompression that put more money in the pockets of our teachers. I also know how to work the city’s budget to meet the needs of the constituency. I've lived in the district for 28 years, and my 3 children are RPS graduates.
Government Spending and Schools. Underfunded, dilapidated and mold-infested facilities, curriculums not aligned with instruction, and children matriculating through K through 12 not prepared for work, military, or higher learning. Additionally when families make decisions about where to live, schools are a significant deciding factor. If we do not fund our schools, Richmond’s appeal will continue to decline. I will assist with getting money to our schools as we invest in our children and future.
I will dedicate time meticulously to watching our city’s spending trends, and when council forms the city’s budget, I will make sure the community's needs are present and heard. I will further identify where potential surpluses lie in order to redirect those funds into escrow specifically for school capital improvement. For too long Richmond Public Schools have gone underfunded. I will also encourage long-term repairs to our road infrastructures in hopes of alleviating our Potholes concern.
Economic Development and job training: Gun violence is a manifestation of a systemic problem. Too many Richmonders find themselves in areas of economic divestment that then results in people turning to alternative methods of gaining income, usually illegal. Guns on the streets are a product of this. On council I want to make a reinvestment in areas that have been benignly neglected by financing effective community-based programs working to impact lives of youth where gun violence is present.
Campaign Phone (804) 241-0625
Age 49
Twitter page Twitter.com/ThadWilliamson
Facebook page facebook.com/ThadWilliamsonRVA
I have a proven track road of getting thing done in City Hall: While on leave from UR, I launched and served as the first director of the Office of Community Wealth Building which last year helped 600 people gain employment; later, while working part-time in the Mayor's Office, I led the establishment of the RVA Education Compact to promote more collaboration between city leaders on education, and led establishment of a new Performance Management unit to promote efficiency in city government.
The challenges of improving public education and reducing poverty in the City of Richmond are deeply intertwined. They can be best addressed through a “two-generation” strategy that engages children and parents at the same time. This means investing in early childhood education, workforce development, and after-school programs; while also developing a comprehensive citywide housing plan, expanded public transportation, and supporting small business development and job creation for City residents
We need to work on four levels:

First: invest in performance management efforts to improve the functioning, efficiency and performance of all city agencies, so that more work can get done with the available resources;

Second,grow the tax base through economic development and intelligently planned growth;

Third, seek greater support from the Commonwealth of Virginia and external grants.

Fourth: prioritize funding for agencies and programs with demonstrated success in advancing key goals.
1. Provide quality schools that show all children we believe in them & their potential 2. Work with youth to teach conflict resolution skills 3. Increase the city’s efforts to fight poverty & create pathways to economic security 4. Look at law enforcement practices top to bottom to get rid of racial bias and build greater trust in the community 5. Develop more, better quality affordable housing 6. Push the General Assembly to adopt sensible gun laws 7. Apply a racial equity lens to all policy