Saturday, January 12, 2013

Mayor Dwight C. Jones Delivers his Second Inaugural Address


Honorable Dwight Clinton Jones
Second Inaugural Address - January 12, 2013
As Prepared for Delivery

Thank you so much for being here with me today. I want to start by first saying what an honor and a privilege it has been to serve as Richmond’s Mayor for the past four years. And I’m extremely humbled to have been elected to serve an additional four years in this office.

Thank you for the confidence you have shown in me and my administration.

When we started this journey in 2009, we talked about new beginnings. People told me they were anxious to be part of a city that was moving forward together in harmony, and as your Mayor, I have sought to build a better Richmond over the last four years.

I remember at the time reflecting on the Crupi report ,which says so many things about Richmond; but one thing in particular it said was that Richmond wants to be great but that Richmond is afraid to be great…afraid to take the risk associated with greatness. I said at that time that I wanted you to know that I am a risk taker and that if we are going to be great, it was my position that we would have to try to do new things and be willing to take the risk associated with being a great city. I believe I have held true to what was said.

Even though we started this journey during the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression, we pursued opportunities to improve our city and to strengthen its future.  We forged ahead in spite of the times and we’ve been willing to take the risk. Today, I know we are on the right path to our shared destiny.

As your Mayor, I have sought to build a better Richmond and I take pride in what we have accomplished.
I’m going to give a State of the City address in a few weeks, and at that time I will talk more directly about where we are headed. But I’ve got to take a moment today to say, just look at what we’ve accomplished together!

There are four new schools being built in our city. Two have opened just a few weeks ago and have only a few remaining touches to be made. We are building our city’s first new high school in forty years—the new Huguenot High School.  Overall, we’ve invested over $200 million in new school construction. 

We have aggressively pursued new economic development opportunities, while retaining and adding thousands of jobs in the city. Our bond ratings have been upgraded five separate times during the past four years…upgrades that will ultimately save taxpayers millions of dollars. We also found ways to save additional double-digit millions through our tax collection practices and we’ve taken on overdue projects like building a new city jail and closed the history book on outstanding matters like the debt owed the city by the RMA.

We have advanced a Riverfront Development plan to take advantage of the James as a unifying asset for our city with greater access for all citizens.  And we are working on a systematic plan to reduce poverty rates while transforming public housing.  We advanced a comprehensive plan to revitalize public housing, including the redevelopment of Dove Court, and we are laying the framework to de-concentrate poverty by transforming Richmond’s public housing projects.

For decades, no one has taken an organized approach to this number one issue, and what we’ve done is focus on this issue knowing that the answer lies in our economic development strategies and neighborhood revitalization plans. So we’ve been deliberative and have successfully pursued major economic development opportunities for the city.  We’ve said we weren’t going to tax our way out of tough times, but rather we were going to work to grow our way out.

We’ve got the Landmark Theatre renovation going on; have secured the Washington Redskins’ summer training camp for a period of eight years; acquired the historic slave burial ground and began improvements; established the city’s first Arts District and Fa├žade Improvement Program for redevelopment of the Arts District Corridor; and we have a new Black History Museum location at Leigh Street Armory that will be developed.  We’ve accelerated the ongoing revitalization efforts in Shockoe Bottom and these are all things that will increase our tourism capital. Our city is also preparing to entertain a global audience of 300 million people who will all be focused on Richmond and our regional because of a bid that we went after and won to host the UCI 2015 Road World Cycling Championships.

Our strategies are designed to expand our tax base and broaden opportunity for all.  During our first time, we also worked to achieve unprecedented Minority Business Enterprise participation levels on city projects.

Much has been accomplished, yet more needs to be done. 

What we have before us now is an opportunity to continue with this important work for the future of our city. We all have a stake in the city’s future.  We all have a stake in the prosperity of our city.
Now clearly city government continues to face challenges. We have many improvements we need to make and we are making them.  We will continue to improve. I’ve known from the beginning that we are involved in a marathon, not a sprint. And that fact is what makes this opportunity to continue to serve as your Mayor even more meaningful.

Our mantra has been, “Building a Better Richmond” and I’ve decided that I’m keeping that mantra going forward. But I am making a slight adjustment to that mantra for this second term. We are “Building the Best Richmond.” We are building the best Richmond because that is what we deserve.

The way I see it, we’ve already been called the Best Town Ever!...an accomplishment we achieved last year with a designation by Outdoor Magazine.  And that designation was rightly attached to our quality of life, the recreational opportunities and access to outdoors.

But I say we can be the best on all levels; especially if we work together.

Now I may ask you to step out of your comfort zone from time to time; to take the risk with me when the right opportunities present themselves. But what I want you to know is that while we will take chances for our city, we will only take those risks that are smart risk.

We’ve got to have courage to move the city forward.

Our best days are ahead ladies and gentlemen. I believe the stars are all aligned in our favor and we are poised to do great things.

We have a tremendous opportunity and I know that I can count on you to work with me to continue the job we’ve started.  Thank you again for the confidence you’ve shown in me.  I look forward to working with you this term.


Mayor Extends Summer Employment Opportunities with Mayor’s Youth Academy and Kings Dominion


Mayor Dwight C. Jones has extended the application period for summer employment with the Mayor’s Youth Academy (MYA) and Kings Dominion to 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 16. This application period for the summer employment opportunity partnership, announced earlier this week, was scheduled to conclude today at 2 p.m., but Mayor Jones has called for an extension of the initial application period to allow more city youth the opportunity to apply.

MYA and Kings Dominion have partnered this year to provide up to 100 city youth, ages 16-19, the opportunity to work at the amusement park this summer. Selected MYA participants will begin working at the park in April 2013 during their spring break and on weekends until summer vacation. Once school closes in June, selected MYA youth will work varying schedules throughout the summer months. Applications are available at all Richmond Public High Schools and on the MYA website (www.richmondgov.com/mayorsyouthacademy). Applicants for this program are required to participate in four pre-employment training sessions prior to being referred to Kings Dominion staff for interviews and placements.

“It is my hope that a large amount of our city’s youth apply for this tremendous opportunity for summer employment. The MYA and Kings Dominion summer job opportunity will afford city youth the chance to develop relationships with international youth, gain valuable work experience while earning income to save or spend in the local economy, and offer the potential for full-time careers,” said Mayor Jones. “I would like to thank Kings Dominion again for investing in our city’s youth and their futures.”

Transportation is essential to the success of this summer employment partnership as it enables selected youth access to the infinite employment opportunities at Kings Dominion. GRTC has confirmed that it will again operate its Kings Dominion shuttle services which will offer MYA youth a reliable source of transportation to and from the park.

MYA will accept applications until 5 p.m. Wednesday, January 16. For additional information regarding this summer employment opportunity, please contact the MYA office at 646-7480.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Swearing-In Ceremony for Mayor Dwight C. Jones


WHO:           Mayor Dwight C. Jones

WHAT:         Interfaith Prayer Service and Swearing-In Ceremony

WHEN:       Saturday, January 12, 2013
                    Interfaith Prayer Service begins at 10 a.m.
                   Swearing-In Ceremony begins at noon

WHERE:     Interfaith Prayer Service
                    St. Paul’s Episcopal Church
                    815 East Grace Street
                    Richmond, VA 23219

                    Swearing-In Ceremony
                    City Hall
                    City Council Chamber, 2nd Floor
                    900 East Broad Street
                    Richmond, VA  23219

BACKGROUND:

An Interfaith Prayer Service will be held prior to the Mayor’s Swearing-In Ceremony on Saturday, January 12, 2013, at 10 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, 815 East Grace Street.

A Swearing-In Ceremony for the second term of Mayor Dwight C. Jones will be held at noon on Saturday in the Richmond City Council Chambers, 900 East Broad Street.

The public is invited to attend both events.


Monday, January 7, 2013

Mayor Announces Summer Employment Opportunities in Mayor’s Youth Academy and Kings Dominion Partnership


Mayor Dwight C. Jones announced today a new partnership between the city’s Mayor’s Youth Academy (MYA) and Kings Dominion that will provide up to 100 city youth, ages 16-19, the opportunity to work at the amusement park this summer. Selected MYA participants will begin working at the park in April 2013 during their spring break and on weekends until summer vacation. Once school closes in June, selected MYA youth will work varying schedules throughout the summer months.

“I would like to thank Kings Dominion for investing in our city’s youth and their futures. Kings Dominion’s commitment to hiring 100 MYA participants is very significant as it allows Richmond youth a tremendous opportunity for summer employment,” said Mayor Jones. “The collaboration between MYA and Kings Dominion will permit youth to develop relationships with international youth, gain valuable work experience while earning income to save or spend in the local economy, and offer the potential for full-time careers with the park.”

“Kings Dominion’s partnership with the Mayor’s Youth Academy allows us to provide Richmond high school students with the opportunity to not only work at Kings Dominion but it also helps our local economy,” said Kings Dominion Vice President and General Manager Pat Jones. “This partnership also will provide those students with the opportunity to better their skills for the future.”

Transportation is essential to the success of this partnership as it enables selected youth access to the infinite employment opportunities at Kings Dominion. GRTC has confirmed that it will again operate its Kings Dominion shuttle services which will offer MYA youth a reliable source of transportation to and from the park. Mayor Jones stated, “Transportation was noted as the single-most reason why Richmond youth were unable to pursue summer employment with Kings Dominion in the past. This collaboration with GRTC is a welcome addition and has the potential of connecting more Richmond residents with the park for employment opportunities.”

MYA will accept applications beginning Tuesday, January 8, through Saturday, January 12.  Applications will be available to all Richmond Public High Schools and on the MYA website. Youth may also apply in person on Saturday, January 12, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the MYA offices in the East District Initiative, 701 N. 25th Street. No applications will be accepted after 2 p.m. on January 12. Applicants for this program are required to participate in four pre-employment training sessions prior to being referred to Kings Dominion staff for interviews and placements.

For additional information regarding this opportunity, please contact the MYA office at 646-7480.