Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Less than a week

With less than a week to go before the municipal elections, the frenzy of campaign activity has only intensified. Some candidates' strategy includes mis-stating facts, smearing progressive initiatives and name-calling of other candidates. After months of visiting with different groups and neighborhood organizations around the city, I have come to a few conclusions regarding the previosuly mentioned tactics:

1) Most folks find it unproductive to complain about past Council actions. I, like many folks in Roanoke, don't fully agree with many decisions that have been made in the past. But those decisions are just that -- the past. As a city, we must move forward and look to the future, recognizing that we should learn from mistakes made to avoid such similar decisions in the future. But the future must be our focus.

2) Mis-stating facts and pandering for political reasons is not good for our community. Folks appreciate candidates who will say what they believe, regardless of whether that belief is popular or not. People want to be heard and want to know why a candidate believes what he or she believes, but pandering just for the sake of getting elected does nothing to help move our city forward into the 21st century.

3) Name-calling is unproductive as well. But not only this, it is also disrespectful to the community. We have got to learn to agree to disagree, and to always remember that differences of opinion are not personal. Working together with those you disagree with more often than not results in a better solution than either person may have come up with individually.

I urge voters to thoroughly look at the candidates, what each one says, and make the best decision you can with the information you have. As a city, we have to focus on where we are going 10 and 20 years from now, and recognize that only through working together will we achieve the sort of prosperity and unity that we all desire.

Please vote May 6th -- it is a pivotal time in Roanoke's history, and our citizens should decide the direction we need to head.

As for me, I believe that hope for a future where we all work together to provide opportunity for each and every one of our citizens is of utmost importance.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Medical school officially coming...

It's official! The new Virginia Tech-Carilion medical college is coming to Roanoke. The state legislature just passed a spending package that approved the funding for construction of the school. See to read the full story.

A new medical college in Roanoke is great news for our local economy and will create high-paying jobs for our residents. It also commits Tech to Roanoke, a relationship we should take advantage of with a continuing partnership.

A lot of hard work went into securing the necessary funding for the medical college, and our delegation to the state legislature deserves a lot of credit for their efforts.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Moving forward

After few months of meeting people all over the city, there are only a little over three short weeks before the May 6 city elections. I have had a blast going to neighborhood meetings and other groups to learn about the needs of folks across the city.

I am working really hard to share my message of hope for a progressive future for Roanoke. And although some candidates may be saying negative things about the state of the city, I do think we are headed in the right direction. With the new medical school, biomedical institute, two new high schools and continued efforts to make downtown a vibrant place, my goal is to be positive about our future, act civilly towards each person running for office, and to continue to meet with folks all across town.

I hope you'll join me in my efforts to keep Roanoke moving forward, without expressing anger towards one another when we disagree, and with real hope for what our city can become. I ask that you join me for a common future of prosperity and opportunity for all Roanokers.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

MLK Ceremony

Last evening at the site of the new MKL Statue in Gainsboro, a ceremony was held commemorating the 40th anniversary of the day Dr. King was murdered. It was a solemn occasion attended by a diverse group of Roanokers.

The keynote speaker was Rev. Kenneth Wright of First Baptist Church in Gainsboro. He delivered wonderful words that spoke to the importance of unity and equality. Others spoke, including Mayor Nelson Harris, Mac Macadden, Jeff Artis, Perneller Chubb Wilson, Bob Goodlatte and others.