Voices’ Blog

The most important question- #IsItGood4KidsRVA?

Posted:  -  By: Emily Griffey

We often hear complaints that folks are not willing to step up the plate a run for office. “If only there were more candidates running, we could find the perfect person to fill the job!” Or, “He’s running unopposed again? Why doesn’t anyone step up and run?” Well that is not the case in Richmond City this year! As of the June 14th filing deadline, 58 candidates had filed paperwork with the intention to run for Mayor, City Council and School Board. That’s a heck of a lot of people who want to take on the job of providing leadership to our hipster-filled, river-loving, and economically-challenged hometown.

At Voices we typically work at the state-level to advocate for policy changes that improve the lives of children in the Commonwealth, but we also work at the local level when important opportunities arise.  We believe this fall’s election in the capital city is a critical opportunity for concerned citizens and potential candidates to have meaningful discussions about what’s best for Richmond’s kids. At Voices, we are staunchly non-partisan and do not endorse candidates, but we believe it is critically important for candidates to understand issues affecting kids and families and citizens to know where the candidates stand.

It’s time to put kids front and center because how we invest in children builds on our support for Richmond Public Schools and beyond. We know it’s time to put children front and center because we want the conversations our leaders have to be focused on their futures, not just ballparks and breweries. We know it’s time to put children front and center because since the recession, the poverty rate for children in the city has approached 40 percent. A stunning figure on its own, but if we are looking at all families who can’t meet their nutritional, housing, or child care needs the impact is even greater– closer to 2 out of 3 kids are in families facing those economic hardships.

2 out of 3 babies

So how do we know which of the 58 candidates looking to lead the City of Richmond are the right leaders to invest in children as our city’s economic future? Simple, we ask them. Voices has engaged several of our nonprofit partners and leaders to launch an effort to make this election cycle about one question: “Is it good for kids?” We want to focus on this question to make children, and their potential human capital, the most important discussion that our future elected leaders will have. We want to begin the conversation right now so that they can examine their proposals and learn from our partners and others how to answer the question, “Is it good for kids?”

We hope that the candidates will learn more about the approaches that are working in Richmond, and other communities, to create resilient families and children that provide a well-prepared workforce and a thriving economy. We hope they will explore and learn more about Richmond’s family support programs, quality early learning opportunities, children’s mental health efforts, positive discipline supports, school facilities’ needs, out-of-school programs, mentoring opportunities and the many, many others that we know will foster strong kids and strong communities. I hope that you will join our efforts by liking the Facebook page “#IsItGood4KidsRVA?” to find about more about what you can ask candidates, how to engage and solutions, and what our potential leaders are saying about kids. You can also download the RVA election tool-kit to find questions for candidates about how they will support kids. And finally, we hope that you will have enough information to make an informed decision in November to elect new leadership ready and willing to make decisions that are good for Richmond’s kids!

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