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City Council chooses Jones for president, Nye for VP 

A person smiles while sitting behind a microphone
Richmond City Councilmember Mike Jones was elected council president Tuesday. He ran unopposed for the position. (Photo: Scott Elmquist/VPM News)

Richmond City Council chose new leaders and shuffled committee assignments for the next two years at its Tuesday meeting.

Richmond City councilmembers chose the 9th District's Mike Jones as their new council president. No one else was nominated. Jones represents the 9th district in south Richmond. 

Kristen Nye, who also run unopposed, won the position of vice president. She represents the 4th District in the city's southwest quadrant.

“We've done so much over this last year. I feel like we've really taken a step and prioritized what we want to do,” Nye said. “We have two years left [before elections], and I think all of us want to make the most of it.”

Both positions begin immediately and last for two years — until the end of 2024. Jones is running for the House of Delegates this year in the newly redrawn 77th District.

Outgoing council President Cynthia Newbille (7th District) thanked all members on Tuesday and said she looks forward to the next two years.

“Dr. Jones and Ms. Nye have been tireless advocates for the residents of South Richmond, and they will bring the same focus to their leadership positions on behalf of all Richmonders,” Mayor Levar Stoney said in a statement. “I look forward to collaborating with them and the rest of council to bring equity, inclusivity and prosperity to all corners of our city.”

Council also agreed to new committee assignments and chairs. Newbille will chair the Finance and Economic Development Standing Committee and Katherine Jordan (2nd District) will chair the Governmental Operations Standing Committee.

Below is a transcript of a brief interview with Jones after the Tuesday vote. 

The following has been edited for length and clarity. 

Jahd Khalil: Do you have priorities as council president? Can you describe how the role might look during the next few years? 

Mike Jones: The No. 1 priority is to ensure that I serve the will of City Council first and foremost. This is not about personal agenda or my priorities, but still ensuring that the priorities of council are prominent. And I think that's the key: to ensure that we know what our shared priorities are within the budget, as it relates to the city and then helping individuals in their respective districts. 

But the biggest thing is ensuring that we know where we're going as a council, where we'd like to see the city go and what we want to focus on. So, I think that is the biggest thing that I believe the president of council for this season needs to be focused on.

Not to make you pick certain issues but what challenges or goals do you think are going to be in front of the city over the next two years?

I mean, we already know them, right? The houseless situation, which ties into affordable housing. Those two go hand in hand, and so that has to continue to be a focus. Gun violence, gun violence intervention. And then, we're talking about assessments, rising assessments and the rate at which our real estate is taxed, we need to focus on that. And then, of course, our young people. They’re not the future: The young people are our now. And so, we need to ensure that we're continuing to put our young people in the position for them to succeed.

Also, you have a House of Delegates race coming up. What do you want listeners and readers to know about how that might affect your role on council?

Being a dad, I've learned how to multitask. Right? And so being a dad, having a son and having a daughter, married, coaching, pastoring, all those different things. So, multitasking is what I do. And so, the campaign for the House of Delegates seat, the 77th District, I think that'll be the easiest out of all the hats that I wear. ... But the reality is this: My No. 1 role, my number one priority, as it relates to being an elected official is serving as a 9th District councilmember for the city of Richmond. So, everything else from a politics standpoint takes a far second. 

Jahd Khalil covers Virginia state politics for VPM News.