When Jon Baliles dropped out of the RVA Mayor race I felt lost with only a few days to go in the election. I swayed back and forth between Jack Berry and Levar Stoney almost daily, hourly, by the minute. i questioned Levar's reasons for running. I questioned Jack's history of championing shiny projects that were not in the best interest of Richmond citizens. I started to feel down that I was casting a vote to stop Morrissey instead of a vote for someone who would be best for Richmond. That all changed today when I met Levar Stoney.
Living in the 3rd district we've been a hot bed for RVA Mayor activity. I could talk about this election for days, so I was more than happy to keep canvassers hostage on my porch as I spewed different scenarios about how the districts could shake out. Today, after a talk with Stoney canvasser and passionate good guy Brill, he invited us to a near by house to talk with Dorothy McAuliffe, Levar and other other supporters.
I don't always accept invitations from strangers to houses I don't know, but he had a Levar Stoney sticker on, so what could go wrong?
There, we got to hear Levar talk to his team of canvassers and newbies like us.
I got to witness his passion and energy first hand. It was inspiring.
I got to have my doubts and questions answered honestly.
I got to find a Mayoral candidate that I'm excited to cast my vote for on Tuesday. Once Jon dropped out I wasn't sure I was going to be able to find that.
I respect Jack Berry. I went to his picnic this weekend to learn more about him and meet his supporters. The difference in vibe and tone in the two events was staggering. I left Stoney's event educated and excited. My mind was racing about how even more amazing our city could be if we harnessed 25% of his ideas and energy. I left Berry's event feeling like "Well, I guess I could vote for him. He might beat Joe."
One reason it took me so long to come around to Levar was that I always thought that he was seizing on a political opportunity to be Mayor of Richmond rather than inspired by a passion for the City of Richmond. I was wrong with that assumption. He got impatient watching the citizens of Richmond be patient - with things like basic city services, schools, etc. (abridged from his own words today). It's time for a leader who isn't going to give us more of the same.
He has the passion for Richmond.
He has the leadership skills to make our city government respected again.
He has my vote.