Yesterday evening, I was a guest on the Jeff Katz News Radio on WRVA. Jeff invited me to celebrate my 92nd birthday. He told me, fortunately, his gift to me was to not sing “happy birthday”.

I told him more now than ever, we must educate young minds to help transform our society. I shared that at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at VCU, we are dedicated to teaching our students about what America was, what America is, and what America can be. In many instances, I’ve been fortunate to be in a position to advocate for greater access and opportunity on behalf of higher education. It’s a foundation upon which everything rests, and without it, the mistakes and shortcomings of the past will not change.

I encourage you to listen to the interview.

Our graduates are not just traditional students, but continuing professionals, full-time workers and often parents cultivating young minds themselves. With preparation, we watch our students graduate and go on to exceptional careers in public service. They are, and will continue to be our leaders and we teach them to advocate and represent the needs of the people they serve.

When I look across America, I see many challenges and instances where our leaders are focused on serving themselves, not the people. They must be forced to show their commitment to their role as elected and appointed officials. Crime, healthcare, housing and education are perennial issues and many bad decisions have and are being made that come at the expense of the people.

While blame shifts back and forth between parties, it’s incumbent for leaders to set aside their differences and reach across the aisle. The constant, partisan bickering serves no one, and delays effective and needed change. Leaders that cannot answer this call need to be replaced. And if not now, when?

Stay tuned.

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