by Leah Small
Venture Richmond Executive Director Jack Berry plans to run for mayor, saying that he has a five-year plan to provide a continual revenue stream for schools.
As part of that plan, Berry says that a percentage of the real-estate tax should be dedicated to schools and that the division “should share in year-end surpluses” from city coffers.
Last month, Berry announced his retirement from the organization after 18 years. He says his last day will be April 30. Shortly after, news of his political aspirations came through a tweet from Venture Richmond, wishing him luck in what has become an increasingly crowded race.
Berry stresses his government experience. He was the county administrator of Hanover before starting at Venture Richmond in 1998. He's also served as deputy city manager and in other roles for the city of Richmond.
“Richmond deserves a mayor who has the experience to improve city government,” he tells Style. “I’ve worked in city government for 13 years and I believe it can be a high performing organization.”
A release from Berry’s campaign touts the names of supporters in mostly business, finance and civic affairs.
“Jack has a long history of supporting supplier diversity and minority business development,” Oliver Singleton, president of the Metropolitan Business League, says in the announcement. “That is why he was the MBL’s first non-minority member. He has my full support in his run for mayor.”
Berry also takes a swipe at Mayor Dwight Jones' security detail: “The Executive Protection Unit will be eliminated on the first day. I have a driver's license, a car and a bike, and that's all I'll need.”
City Councilman Jon Baliles and local businessman Brad Froman also declared their candidacy this week.
So far, the list of candidates also includes community activists Alan Schintzius, Rick Tatnall and Lillie Estes, as well as City Council President Michelle Mosby, Richmond Public Schools teacher Chad Ingold, former councilman and architect Bruce Tyler, former delegate Joe Morrissey and architect Lawrence Williams.
Most of the candidates plan to attend a mayoral forum organized by Wilder tomorrow night. The deadline to file is June 14.