Thursday, January 3, 2013

From The Honorable Ellen F. Robertson


Richmond City Council – Richmond City Hall - 900 E. Broad Street, Suite 200 - Richmond, VA 23219 -



Thursday, 3 January 2012

From The Honorable Ellen F. Robertson

(Richmond, Virginia U.S.A.) – "To the citizens of Richmond, Virginia and especially the citizens of the inspirational Gateway 6th District, members of Richmond City Council, and Mayor Dwight C. Jones, I am honored to serve again as the Vice President of Richmond City Council.

January 2, 2013, was a special occasion and is one to be celebrated for many reasons -- first, because we are fortunate to be Americans and second, because we are citizens of Richmond, Virginia.

The past nine years, because you asked and I willingly accepted, have afforded me the opportunity to serve as chair of several Richmond City Council Standing Committees, regional committees, and to serve on many other boards and commissions. I am honored to have had Richmond City Council’s support to serve three consecutive terms as Council Vice President.

The City of Richmond is a GREAT place to serve. I welcome our new council members and pray their stay will be rewarding and fulfills their desires for the constituents and the City.

The year 2013 marks a new beginning and one with promising opportunities. We have already opened the doors to two new Richmond Public Elementary Schools south of the James River. This includes Oakgrove-Bellemeade in the Gateway 6th District and Broad Rock in the Southside 8th District. Richmond Public Schools' Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School is also under construction and a new public high school will be next. In the face of economic stagnation, fiscal turmoil, and federal grid lock, Richmond is witnessing an urban revolution. Our accomplishments are many and deserve mentioning so we do not forget our successes while we focus on the future.

The work remaining to be done allows little time for rest and demands commitments that are beyond a part-time duty and the needed resources that are beyond the abilities of many of our citizens, especially the working middle class and people of poverty.

The next four years demand that Richmond City Council and the City stop delaying the implementation of the Mayor's Anti-Poverty Commission Report, which includes a blueprint for creating jobs and establishing efficient regional public transportation.

In moving forward, we must support the Affordable Housing Trust Fund in order to eliminate blighted buildings. In too many neighborhoods there are at least one or two blighted buildings on almost every block. We also must rebuild our public housing communities so that they are economically inclusive and include all the needed supporting amenities that Richmond citizens deserve and are due.

A system of economic equality is fair, it is just, and it demands a balanced playing field if it is to establish prosperity for all citizens. During the past four years, significant proportions of tax dollars have leveraged economic development in the City. We are grateful to our business partners, our schools of higher learning, and our government agencies and staffs. But, beginning now, in 2013, our priorities must be equitable, fair and just. Our children, people earning less than a living wage, those who don’t own property and small businesses are not receiving a fair share of the tax dollars and representation in the City.

As Vice President, my top priority is to make “the future of our children’s education” number one. Second, poverty and the consequences that are created by injustice in public policy must no longer be tolerated. Richmond will never reduce poverty and homelessness until every child is achieving excellence in education, the poor are healthy and earning at least a living wage and economically inclusive neighborhoods replace “projects.” These must be our first priorities. Richmond City Council, the Mayor and the Richmond School Board must budget to achieve desired educational outcomes, communities with amenities and jobs and business opportunities for every one desiring to work.

Time is not on our side. When I found out yesterday that Richmond City Council President Charles Samuel decided to excuse me off serving as a chair of any Richmond City Council Standing Committees, my heart was at first troubled. But, after a moment of reflecting on the authority of my life, I welcome this major reduction in service demands that were denied me as a window of opportunity to refocus my energy on the things most important to me.

Today, I am seeking advisors regarding the Richmond Alternatives to Incarceration Citizen Advisory Board. I welcome the Richmond Public School Board Members and look forward to a renewed relationship to join forces to make “achieving excellence in public education” our number one priority to ensure we “win the war waged against our children and our future generations.” As Vice President, I am here to serve full-time to make these and many other significant accomplishments a reality so that our citizens will be healthy and live prosperously in the City of Richmond.

I look forward to working with the Mayor, Richmond City Council, Richmond Public School Board and citizens for the next four years. Thank you and it is an honor to serve you."

CONTACT For more information, please contact The Honorable Ellen F. Robertson, Councilwoman, Richmond City Council, Gateway 6th Voter District, at 804.646.7964 (office) or;

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