RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — With the end of 2019 approaching, Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney sat down with 8News Thursday to discuss his current tenure and plans for the City of Richmond moving forward.
The mayor is looking forward to 2020 while acknowledging the challenges Richmond faced in 2019.
“I see the city doing better. I see the city going in the right direction,” Stoney said. “I’m always reminded of why we do what we do. It starts with our children and the investments in public education.”
In his sit-down interview, Stoney reflected on one of the worst days he had as Richmond’s mayor in 2019.
“I think one of the lowest days I’ve had is when I learned of the death of Markiya Dickson.”
In May, Dickson was struck and killed by gunfire at Richmond’s Carter Jones Park. She was 9.
The tragedy was just one of many deaths that rocked the community.
“The terrible acts of gun violence, they don’t just impact the family of the victim, they affect everyone at once,” Stoney said Thursday. “It’s a traumatizing situation.”
The mayor also addressed what he feels is progressing in Richmond Public Schools, a system that has faced its challenges in 2019 with one of the lowest graduation rates in the state.
“I think RPS schools are on the rise. I think you’ve seen in the past they have struggled. I think Superintendent Kamras is doing a great job. I think he is investing in the turnaround, we are investing in the turnaround,” Stoney told 8News. “Like I said, the most dollars invested in Richmond Public Schools in a generation.”
While crime and education are always hot topics, a subject that leaves many divided is the Navy Hill project. Stoney told 8News he’s been very open about it and that the proposal has the potential to create thousands of jobs and affordable housing opportunities in the city.
“They think this project is just about buildings, but, it’s about people,” Stoney declared. “However, black and brown people in this city, working paycheck to paycheck need a lift up I think. This is the certain project that can do that.”
When asked about his plans in the future, and whether he plans on a run for governor in 2021, Mayor Stoney said he has “the best job” in Virginia.
“You know, I think I have the best job in the Commonwealth of Virginia being the great City of Richmond, the capital city. I intend to run for mayor next year in 2020,” Stoney explained.
“I intend to fulfill my term. The job will be incomplete after four years. So, we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. But, I’m focused on being the best mayor I can be.”
FULL INTERVIEW: Mayor Stoney reflects on Richmond’s 2019:
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