Andreas Addison for City Council 2020

Four years ago, I took to the streets of the First District to earn your vote to represent you on City Council. It was on your doorsteps, where our conversations shaped your priorities and concerns about the City and our neighborhoods. When you elected me, you tasked me with four priorities: Better Roads, Safer Streets, Improved Public Schools, and Better City Services.

These priorities have frequently been demanded by the First District and their elected representative. Often, these priorities are pinned against each year. It is no wonder we hadn’t seen significant change and improvement previously. I learned that to deliver on these promises, I was going to have to be creative, think outside the box, and work collaboratively.

Over the last three budgets, I have fought diligently for you. I worked with my fellow Council members, the Administration, and the General Assembly to not only fund these priorities but to transform them.

I didn’t look for a quick win, but to sustainably change our City.

Here is how we are Leading the First Forward:

We have Better Roads — We sustainably doubled the City’s paving budget, through a regional partnership that was approved by the General Assembly. This increased our annual budget from $16 million in FY2018 to over $40 million in FY2021. By June 2021, over 40% of all First District roads will have been resurfaced, that’s almost triple any previous City Council term.

We have Safer Streets — you requested, and we have installed numerous traffic calming measures all across the district that include speed tables, new and improved pedestrian crosswalks, as well as new traffic lights. We created a multi-modal transportation strategy that focuses on pedestrian safety first while also improving traffic flow.

We Improved Public Schools — We have invested more than $22 million in our classroom, an increase of more than 15% from FY2017 to FY2021. I supported the expansion of the NextUp after-school programming to bring it to the students at Albert Hill Middle. Assisted in the creation of Thomas Jefferson High Schools’ award-winning robotics team and helped fund their trip to compete in the world robotics tournament in 2019. Congratulations team, we are all proud of you.

We have Better City Services — in 2017, we could only account for seven service request types to City Hall, now with RVA311, we can submit more than 60 service request types online, by phone, or through the mobile application. In 2019 alone, the First District submitted 4,900 requests for service. Requests that we can track the status of, and assure get addressed.

As I look back over the last three and a half years, and that list of accomplishments, we have done a lot. We engaged face-to-face in more than 90 First District events, which include town halls, budget discussions, project meetings, neighborhood associations, and at our schools. We exchanged countless emails and phone calls about your service requests and topics of discussion. We shared updates in more than 60 newsletters. You made sure I kept up on my promise to deliver in making Richmond a 21st Century City.

Yet there is still work to be done. We have more to fix together. The recent pandemic, economic recession, and civil unrest show that there are significant needs to be addressed. There is a lot of uncertainty facing our city and our neighborhoods. Last year, when times were good and our economy growing, the Mayor proposed a real estate tax increase to fund several of our priorities. I knew that without first tightening our belts, I could not lean on you to help fund more. I rolled up my sleeves and was the only City Councilperson to submit a balanced budget that funded every priority without a real estate tax increase. Now in the face of a recession, more difficult decisions lie ahead. Decisions that need the leadership you elected me to provide for our district and our city. Leadership that I have proven capable of delivering.

During our recovery, I will not sacrifice the progress we have made with our schools. I will do everything I can to prevent budget cuts to RPS, to continue the improvement of our school infrastructure, and will put our students and families first.

Many Richmond parents are struggling right now. Virtual learning is requiring children to learn at home, and, without equitable and affordable access to child care, some parents will not be able to return to work and earn a paycheck, or they will face challenges juggling going back to work and their child’s education. Plus, many households in our city don’t have access to the internet, making remote learning almost impossible. Internet access has become a commodity since the COVID-19 pandemic, and we must make sure every child and household has access to high-speed internet to learn and work in the modern age.

I am committed to making City Hall work for you. Our government should be transparent, accountable, and effective. Our streets should be cleaned on time; roads paved frequently; city permitting processes should be fast, and doing business in Richmond should be easy. Revolutionary change doesn’t happen overnight, and City Hall has a long way to go, but as my record shows, I will continue to make City Hall work better for all Richmonders.

I am transforming Richmond’s budget by implementing a participatory budgeting process and creating OpenBudgetRVA.com. Both of these reforms will make the city’s budget easier for Richmonders to understand, hold City Hall accountable, see where our precious dollars are spent, and empower us to fund the projects we want to see done.

I will continue to work to make Richmond a safer and place to get around. Our streets should be welcoming to all types of travelers. Richmond has frequently been in the top ten cities for most pedestrian and cyclist injuries and deaths. Not a top ten list to be proud of. Pedestrians, drivers, cyclists, and bus riders should all be well-served by the city. My “Safe Streets for All” plan has moved Richmond in the right direction, and I am still working on passing several of its provisions. There is a brighter, stronger, more resilient Richmond ahead.

We must build on our accomplishments, focus on our strengths, and put in the work to make that Richmond a reality today. That is why I need your help. Only together can we fulfill the tremendous promise of our city. We have made the First District much better together over the last three years. The First District has led many changes, not only in our neighborhood, we are moving the entire city forward.

That is why I am asking you to Vote for Andreas Addison on November 3rd to “Lead the First Forward.” Visit addisonforcouncil.com to learn more about my priorities, request a yard sign, sign up for updates, and donate to my campaign.

Thank you. I look forward to continuing to represent the First District on City Council.

Recovering bureaucrat. Pioneered as Civic Innovator. Now serving a second term on City Council in Richmond, VA. Words are my own.