By Tasion Kwamilele Mayor Gayle McLaughlin believes that she has made a difference in Richmond, serving the city’s residents in hard economic times. Unlike many other cities, Richmond even was able to balance its budget without cutting services or laying off workers. The city is stabilizing economically, and the homicide rate down by 60 percent. “I am just happy about the positive steps with Richmond. We are changing our city into what the residents of Richmond deserve,” she said. After much debate, Mayor McLaughlin was able to make sure that Chevron settled the city’s demands, paying $114 million in taxes over the next 15 years. The interests of Richmond residents are her first priority, she said, and she wants to be sure that city and can compete in the 21st century. She disagrees with opponents who say that she is a mayor who only seeks green jobs and green development for the city. She says that Richmond has to be the forefront of the new economy that is emerging. “We want all kinds of jobs in Richmond, but we have to think about social justice, protecting the environment, and give room for everyone to rise. We want all jobs, but the clean-tech sector is one of the only growing sectors in these hard economic times,” she said. McLaughlin points to Solar Richmond, a program she co-founded that provides weatherization, hazardous material, and 100 percent green training to residents. The program has been recognized by the FBI for its crime prevention methods and by Senator Barbara Boxer. President Obama’s former ‘Green House Czar’ Van Jones has commended McLaughlin for her accomplishments. McLaughlin hopes Richmond residents will support her for another term so that the city can continue on its progressive path. “I am honored to serve as Richmond’s mayor, and I just ask that the Richmond community continues its support so that we can continue to build Richmond together,” she said. “We must, as Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘Be the change you want to see.’’” For more information about the campaign visit www.mayorgayle.net.
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