We are witnessing an increase in crime, the likes of which has NEVER been seen in our nation.

In Richmond, we’ve seen homicide rates rivaling those at their highest 20 years ago.

The question we demand an answer to is what, if anything, are elected officials, from local and state levels, doing about it? A lack of action and response perpetually conveys that those in leadership positions are ignoring these crises and instead clamoring for higher office.

We have the mayor of the city and the governor among those so endeavoring to advance personal career ambitions; that is not unusual. One of the questions I regularly ask of those seeking elected office, including first-time candidates is, “what have you done to earn my vote and those of the people?” The answers forthcoming are frequently and abysmally absent of substance.

We can do far better than this relating to the increase in crime.

In Richmond, the mayor, and the chief of police (six chiefs and counting actually during this administration – including three in one fateful week) have created a continuing environment of deception and obfuscation to the public. 

For example, these so-called leaders previously credited themselves with “preventing a mass shooting.” This hoax was to have taken place last year at Dogwood Dell during an Indepedence Day celebration, where several men were arrested – all without a shred of evidence. The judge in review of the case asked, “Where is the evidence?” “There is none,” replied the prosecutor for the Commonwealth Attorney. 

I’ve had a great deal of experience in managing these issues, as both Mayor of Richmond and as Governor of the Commonwealth. The record will show that during these situations, decisive action was taken. With the participation of the leadership and inclusion of the people in our communities, we demonstrably reduced crime and criminal activity.

Our citizens demand redress across a multitude of concerns about health, education and public safety, being chief among them.

Underscoring these pressing concerns does not preclude the consideration of others, including the endless, needless and heedless waste of taxpayer dollars. A prime example of wasted resources is the $100 million and rising costs for the failed Clay Street redevelopment project by VCU. I have spoken extensively about this fiasco and due to this, the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission (JLARC) is launching a formal investigation into potential malfeasance by VCU administrators. 

We must continue to be vigilant and eager to question elected officials so charged with protecting the people.

Stay tuned.

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