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Mamie Taylor

Name: Mamie Taylor

Bio: Mamie Taylor is a long-time city resident and a former 5th District School Board Representative. She is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, receiving her B.S. Degree in Mass Communications. Taylor is married and with three children, who are all graduates of Richmond Public Schools. Currently, she serve as an education advocate for youth and families with special needs. 

What do you see as the biggest issue facing residents of the 5th District and how do you plan to address it, if elected?

The School System.   

Underfunded, dilapidated and mold-infested facilities, curriculums not aligned with instruction, and children (one is too many), matriculating through K through 12 not prepared for work, military, or higher learning.  Yet and still, I have hope that says it’s never too late to turn things around.  We have no choice because whether you have children or not, you are impacted by the state of our schools.   I am a former RPS Educator, School Board Representative, and my responsibility will be to assist with getting the money to our schools and continuing to build strong relationships in this shared commitment as we Bridge the Gap with the FACTS (families, administrators, communities, teachers, and students).

And should I say it…POTHOLES.

Where do you stand on the public financing of a new downtown arena/coliseum and related developments?

I have grave concerns about the corporate development of this area. The bidding process seemingly was not transparent and potentially out of compliance.  And, per the referendum that includes many of my constituents, Richmonders have not consented in mass to its construction; especially when compared to continual calls for more funding for our public schools. I am also opposed to the project, as is, because of the long term financial implications for the city.  It is doubtful that Richmond residents will see any revenue from this project before the corporate developers do.

In 2017, the City of Richmond published its Vision Zero Action Plan with the goal of eliminating all traffic fatalities. Despite those efforts, there’s been more than 100 crashes involving pedestrians in the first seven months of 2019. That resulted in three fatalities and 113 injuries. What will you do, if anything, to work toward the goals of Vision Zero and create safe streets for pedestrians?

The Vision Zero Action plan has nine components we have not fully followed through with. The most important components of an effective Vision Zero Plan are:

Equity
Cooperation and Collaboration
Transparency
Community Engagement 

If elected to City Council, I will commit to finding funding to enhance our traffic lights, place roundabouts where needed, place more bike lanes on busy roads, adjust the speed limit in residential areas and place speed bumps in front of our schools.

We also need to fix potholes!

Property values in the 5th District are increasing rapidly: recent assessments showed a 25% year-over-year increase in Swansboro and about a 10% increase in Randolph. Rents in Richmond have also increased by about 25% since 2012, according to the RTD. How do you plan to address the need for affordable housing, both for moderate and low-income residents?

Our residents deserve access to homes they can afford; as well, resources for renters so landlords cannot continue to take advantage of or discriminate against them, especially those with housing vouchers.  Also, for people who want to purchase homes in the city, they are often challenged by the decision to stay in the city/city schools when they have children. Richmond keeps boasting our growth, but we must ensure as we grow we are taking care of the people who live here by taking care of the basic needs of housing and schools above anything else.   With my strong connection to schools and in-depth understanding of housing, I can help constituents gain access to affordable housing opportunities, renters resources, and home ownership opportunities.  I will prioritize special housing needs of seniors, fixed income families, people with disabilities, city employees, individuals with low incomes, public housing residents, and the formerly homeless and incarcerated as well.

Where do you stand on efforts to remove or relocate Confederate monuments in Richmond?

I support the Commemorative Justice movement, working to properly commemorate Black/African American history in the city, which is what residents are asking more of. Confederate monuments are increasingly disrupting the sense of peace for communities of color. Being a representative to a largely Black district, I will vote where my constituents need me to. 

The 5th District encompasses much of Richmond’s green space including Maymont and Byrd Parks, as well as parts of the James River Park System. What will you do to ensure future access and protection of Richmond’s natural resources?

Parks are one of the city’s greatest and most beautiful natural resources. Our parks bring families and friends together, holds our cultural events, and provides a place of natural solace within the city. I will work to ensure our parks or fully funded, and stay open and welcoming to ALL people. That means with my power on city council, I will protect the James River Park System from big polluters.

A common complaint among Richmond residents is the perceived inefficiency of city services. How will you hold the city administration accountable to getting the basics right (i.e. filling potholes, promptly responding to service requests, permitting, etc.)?

Our residents are entitled to quality services from the city.  They also have a right to timeliness and a sense of responsiveness from their elected officials.  As such, I will coordinate regularly scheduled meetings with the mayor to obtain a report on services rendered via the department of public works where approximately ninety (90) percent of work orders are generated.  It is a mandate from the mayors’ office that requires all city employees to cease and desist responding to council members directly as it relates to constituent service requests. That being said, I will also look into the legality of this change in the city charter (per the 2005 Mayor of Large referendum) to learn if the mayor’s office is out of compliance and thereby circumventing the authority of city council and its responsibility to oversee city employees on behalf of the constituency.

Richmond Public Schools has hundreds of millions of dollars in deferred maintenance and construction needs. Would you support raising taxes to fund facilities? If so, which taxes? If not, how would you address those needs?

Absolutely and unequivocally no tax increases, not without considering every other alternative first.  Raising taxes is always the last resort. That being said, repairing our dilapidated schools is a priority, and as such, I will continue to build an alliance with my colleagues and strongly recommend allocating more money to our schools. I will also dissect the budget to see where there are vacant full time employee positions. That way I can identify where projected surpluses lie, and redirect those funds into escrow for use on capital improvements for schools.

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