RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Kristen Nye Larson has represented Richmond’s 4th District since 2017 and is running unopposed in November.
The City Council, made up of nine members who are elected to part-time, four-year terms, creates and amends local laws, sets policies for the city, appoints members to boards and commissions in the city and approves the annual budget.
Larson won a highly-contested five-way race for the Southwest District 4 seat and sits on the council’s finance committee and chairs its education and health committee.
8News asked Larson six questions — each with a 300-word limit — about pressing issues in her district, including her solutions to critical problems in Richmond schools, Mayor Stoney’s plan to remove the city’s Confederate statues, whether the mayor and current city council have done enough to help residents and businesses struggling amid the pandemic and what she would do differently.
Why should your district vote for you?
Over the past four years as Council Member for the 4th District, I’ve sought to increase transparency in city government, reject cronyism and no-bid contracting, and sought to refocus the government on core services. I am running for re-election to continue these efforts and to continue to listen to 4th District residents.
What do you see as the top priority in your district? How would you address it?
My top priority is working to rebalance our city budget thoughtfully, ensure core services are delivered, and help small businesses recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.
What solutions do you have to offer to help improve Richmond Public Schools? Would you consider supporting a tax hike?
As a parent of two RPS students, I know that success in school depends on commitment from parents, students, and teachers. We all need to stay engaged and committed, especially in our current remote-learning environment. Obviously, I support adequate school funding levels, but anyone who has served on the School Board (I served as 4th District’s School Board member), or has children in the system knows we cannot spend our way out of RPS’ problems. I did not support the mayor’s proposed real estate tax increase in 2019 and I don’t plan to support it moving forward.
How do you think Mayor Stoney handled the process to remove the city’s Confederate statues?
I have concerns about the expedited procurement process for the statue removal and the amount of money that was expended on that removal.
In July, I voted to remove the statues and I hope they can be relocated to a museum or historical society that will display them with context. I also think we need to engage the public in the future of the public space on Monument Avenue and how we can recreate an inclusive space for all in our city.
Which proposals from the city council or mayor do you feel have helped residents and businesses struggling during the pandemic? Has enough been done? If not, what would you propose doing to help?
We have not done enough to help our essential restaurant and entertainment industries in Richmond. Small businesses are the heart of our city and a lot are really struggling right now. The civil unrest, combined with the impact of pandemic has hurt many of our businesses. Dozens of restaurants have already closed, putting hundreds of people out of work. Just driving around you can see how many have closed. We need to work with restaurants to ease their tax burden while they are struggling, including deferred payments, payment plans, and other options during the COVID-19 pandemic.
What is your assessment on how the council has served city residents in recent years? What concerns you moving forward? What gives you hope for the future?
I can only address my own work on City Council. I was proud to have worked to reject the flawed Navy Hill development plan. Imagine if that tax burden was going on in the middle of our current fiscal crisis. I look forward to continuing my work to increase access to our James River Park system, increase interconnectedness in our transit, sidewalks, and bike systems, and make sure that RPS has a real plan as we transition back from the COVID-19 crisis.
I hope that the next four years will bring people together. If there’s one thing we can all learn from the past year is that we’re all in this together. I want to hear from you. Send me an email or give me a call. My campaign website is www.electkristenlarson.com. Let me know what you are looking forward to in the next four years.
2020 ELECTION COVERAGE
- Trump ally, former NJ governor Chris Christie: president's election fraud claims are a 'national embarrassment'In an interview on Sunday, former New Jersey Governor and frequent Trump aide Christie condemned the Trump team's challenges against the victory of president-elect Joe Biden as "a national embarrassment."
- President Donald Trump’s campaign has requested a recount of votes in the Georgia presidential race, a day after state officials certified results showing Democrat Joe Biden won the state.
- Georgia’s top elections official on Friday certified results showing Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential race in the state after a hand tally stemming from a mandatory audit affirmed the Democrat’s lead over Republican President Donald Trump.
- Fighting to challenge an election he lost to President-elect Joe Biden, Trump has launched a barrage of lawsuits across the country. Top Republicans have stood behind him and said they will wait for those cases to be resolved before officially recognizing the winner, a standard that has no modern precedent.
- WILMINGTON, Del. (NEXSTAR/AP)- President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris held a news conference Thursday afternoon after meeting with the National Governor Association's leadership team. The National Governor Association's leadership team is comprised of five Republicans and four Democrats. According to the Associated Press, all of the Democrats and a majority of the Republicans […]
- Democratic Party officials in Virginia sent a letter Thursday to Richmond's Electoral Board calling for the resignation of the city's general registrar, J. Kirk Showalter, or for the board to dismiss Showalter over her handling of the 2020 election.
- A divide has begun to emerge among Democrats between the progressive and moderate wings of the party, stemming from a disappointing election performance.
- SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — When Gov. Brian Kemp won election two years ago, he pushed back forcefully against an outcry from Democrats who accused him of suppressing voter turnout to improve his odds of winning. “Look, we have laws on the books that prevent elections from being stolen from anyone,” Kemp, who oversaw that election […]
- Virginia's election results were certified Wednesday during a brief state Board of Elections meeting, two days after they were initially scheduled to be finalized.
- In normal times, the certification of election results is a routine process that doesn’t get much attention. But these are not normal times. As part of an ongoing series of attacks on the integrity of the election, President Donald Trump and his Republican allies are trying to stop the formal certification of results in some […]