Target: Richmond Mayor Dwight C. Jones
Goal: Commend Mayor Jones for his thoughtful program proposals to end poverty in Richmond
In Richmond, Virginia, nearly half the population lives in poverty or is at risk of becoming impoverished. To combat this, Mayor Dwight C. Jones has come up with the Maggie L. Walker Initiative for Fighting Poverty and Expanding Opportunity, a comprehensive plan containing innovative programs that can be implemented within the city’s budget. Although the plan has garnered the support of City Council, others remain skeptical because of its sheer ambition. Mayor Jones is determined, however, with several plans already in the works and final ideas and their logistics due to his office by December.
With full comprehension that the city cannot succeed if neighborhoods are collapsing, the mayor is confronting poverty even at a time when pressure to reduce spending in major cities and state capitals has mounted. Richmond is one of the country’s poorest urban areas, with the poverty level significantly higher than the national average, at 26.3% compared to 15.9%. Furthermore, 25% of Richmond’s jobs do not pay enough per hour to lift a family of four out of poverty. This is why, despite the political risk involved, Mayor Jones is embracing efforts for community economic development.
Taken as a whole, the problem seems daunting. But the city’s antipoverty task force is working on projects that are varied in approach. They are considering pairing at-risk children with adult mentors; creating an intensive manufacturing training program that would give the unemployed the skills they need to secure a job at the many local companies looking for employees; putting up mixed-income housing units with the option of homeownership; initiating a farm-to-school program to encourage adequate nutrition; and setting up a program that would help residents pay their water bills in low-income households. Broken down, the plan is still bold, but seems feasible.
In the face of an economic downturn, Mayor Dwight C. Jones is brave enough to tackle his city’s poverty predicament. His plans are ambitious, yet thoughtful, and are sure to have a positive impact upon implementation. Commend Mayor Jones for his bold antipoverty plan.
Dear Mayor Jones,
The plans you are working on to end poverty in Richmond, Virginia are impressive. With nearly half your city’s population living in poverty or at risk for becoming impoverished, you have a daunting task in front of you. Nonetheless, you are approaching the situation with vigor and confidence, which will be instrumental in forming and executing the final plans for turning Richmond around.
So far, the programs being discussed by Richmond’s antipoverty task force seem promising. Projects such as job training for the unemployed and farm-to-school lunches are both constructive and achievable. As final plans are due in December, we look forward to seeing a successful launch of the project. We offer our support and commend you for forming such a bold antipoverty plan.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: VaDOT via Flickr