Posts Tagged ‘Dwight Jones’
Wednesday night on NBC12, Sarah Bloom told the story of a Richmond preacher who has vowed to stand on a street corner every day until the election encouraging people not to re-elect President Barack Obama.
The pastor, Rev. Shirley Snead is an African-American and a one time supporter of the president who became a vocal opponent after Mr. Obama changed his stance on gay marriage. The black church was a strong bastion of support and energy for the president in 2008 and there is some concern that the gay marriage switch could dampen that enthusiasm.
But it seems that while many religious African-Americans may not support the president’s change of heart, it is going to take quite a bit more for them not to vote for him. One of the most prominent examples of that trend could be Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones. Jones is a strong supporter of the Obama, and is also a pastor that still preaches every Sunday.
Here is a snippet from Sarah’s report last night:
Even one of the President’s strongest supporters in Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones, a pastor himself, doesn’t agree with the President’s new position on marriage.
A spokesperson said he still strongly supports Obama’s re-election.
Our political reporter, Ryan Nobles, said Jones is like many religious black voters who have more in common with the president than just that single issue.
“While most of them don’t agree with him on same-sex marriage, there’s still a lot more that they do agree with him on,” said Nobles.
And when voters go to the polls, Henrico School Board member and Obama supporter, Lamont Bagby believes gay marriage won’t be their biggest concern.
“Because I don’t think anyone has an opportunity at this point to be a single issue voter,” said Bagby.
See the entire report on NBC12.com
Jones might be the perfect example of the divide amongst religious African Americans, who remain opposed to same sex marriage, but remain strong supporters of Obama’s historic presidency. He may lose some, like Rev. Snead, but there is no evidence of a mass exodus from the Obama camp.
In fact, there are many examples of Obama’s change of heart, convincing other prominent African-American groups to move with him. The NAACP took Obama’s newfound position a step further defining marriage as a “civil right”. Obama’s current position supports the states who decide to legalize marriage for gays and lesbians.
It seems that this particular segment of the population is following a similar trend indicated in the many polls taken after Obama’s announcement. He lost some support and gained some support, but for the most part is right where he was before, locked in a very tight race that will remain that way until November.
Virginia Commonwealth University’s head basketball coach, Shaka Smart will host President Barack Obama kickoff rally at the Siegel Center on Saturday. Smart is one of the most well-known figures in Central Virginia and arguably may be the most popular man Richmond.
Smart has become a beloved Richmond figure, first for guiding the improbable run of the VCU Rams to the Final Four in 2011 and then by twice spurning offers from much bigger programs to remain the head coach at VCU.
The president’s love for college basketball is well-known. He often will attend college basketball games, has a brother-in-law who is a head coach and each year reveals his picks for the NCAA tournament on ESPN.
Smart, appears to be apolitical. He has no record of donating to any candidate on the Federal Election Commission web site and has not been outspoken in support of any candidate in the past. Turning down an invitation from the president is difficult to do, but make no mistake, Smart will be front and center at a bona fide political event. His presence would imply support for the president’s re-election bid.
Update: In April of 2011 Smart told the Richmond Times-Dispatch about his support of Obama in 2008. His wife Maya volunteered for the Obama campaign when they lived in Florida. Smart was asked because had VCU won the national championship, he’d get the chance to meet the president:
Smart was an assistant coach at Florida during the 2008 elections, and it’s probably no surprise whom he voted for given his background — a biracial kid who grew up in the Chicago area.
His wife, Maya, spent the year campaigning for Obama in Florida.
“I remember she had all the staffers and volunteers over to our house, and they’d be calling and preparing, and Maya kept saying that, ‘We’re going to win Florida,’” Smart said. “If you ask her today, she’s still the reason why.”
Shaka has never met the president, and was talking with his assistants the other day, reflecting that one of the best parts of winning would be the chance to meet him.
“That would be, obviously, a phenomenal thing,” Smart said.
See the full story on TimesDispatch.com
Smart also attended the White House Correspondents’ dinner, but did not get the chance to meet the president at that time. He will get that chance on Saturday.
In addition to Smart, the crowd will also hear from U.S. Senate Candidate and former Gov. Tim Kaine, Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones and Newport News Rep. Bobby Scott.
Smart’s former player and Obama supporter Bradford Burgess talks about the rally and his coaches’ important role in the event.
Full release from VCU:
SMART SET TO SERVE AS HOST FOR PRESIDENT OBAMA’S RALLY
RICHMOND, Va. – Head Coach Shaka Smart has entered the Verizon Wireless Arena at the Stuart C. Siegel Center many times to sold out crowds.
Saturday, he will be entering to another capacity crowd, however, this time it won’t be to coach a basketball game. Smart, who will be entering his fourth season, will serve as the host for a rally at the Siegel Center for President Barack Obama.
Obama will be on his first re-election campaign trip with the Siegel Center being his second stop after an appearance at Ohio State earlier on Saturday. Smart will welcome not only President Obama, but also the first lady, Michelle Obama, to the Siegel Center.
This will be the second time in the past two years that Smart and President Obama’s paths have crossed as the Rams head coach was guest at last year’s White House Correspondent’s dinner in Arlington.
Saturday’s rally at the Siegel Center is set to begin at 2 p.m.
Here is the release from the Obama campaign:
PRESS RELEASE: Shaka Smart, Bobby Scott among Speakers at President Obama’s Campaign Rally
Richmond, Va.—Today, the Obama campaign announced part of the pre-program at President Obama’s rally this Saturday at the Siegel Center in Richmond, including VCU basketball coach Shaka Smart, who will be hosting the event.
The pre-program participants, which will be released in full tomorrow, represent a mix of grassroots supporters and political leaders, and come from all corners of the commonwealth.
“President Obama has been fighting tirelessly to rebuild our economy and create an America where everyone who works hard and plays by the rules has a fair shot at success,” said Mayor Dwight Jones. “Virginians know the president has been getting the job done, from creating new jobs to keeping our nation safe, and I am looking forward to seeing thousands of his supporters gather here in Richmond this weekend showing their support.”
Pre-Program Participants Include:
• VCU Coach Shaka Smart
• Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones
• U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott
• Former Governor Tim Kaine
At Saturday’s rally, one of the first two public rallies of the campaign, the president will outline the choice Virginians will face in November: Are we going to move forward or go backward? Are we going to continue to turn the corner or turn back the clock and turn our backs on the middle class like the Republicans want to do.
The rally is open to the public and tickets are not required for admission. Supporters are strongly encouraged to RSVP at www.ofa.bo/rallyva and should plan to arrive early, as space is limited. Doors are currently scheduled to open at 1:45pm, although that time is subject to change.
Mayor Dwight Jones was the go-to man for the Obama campaign today. He came to NBC12 today to presenting the campaign’s talking points on the successful jobs report. His role in the campaign shows what the Obama campaign thinks about him and perhaps and understanding of his potential as a candidate down the road.
But while Jones is an articulate voice for not only the Obama administration, but his own policies, one thing he is not right now is a candidate. Most expect the first term Mayor to run for re-election, and while there has been talk of potential opposition, he would be considered to be tough to beat.
The only problem? He hasn’t decided if he wants to run.
“I tell you what, when I decide I am going to let you be the first to know,” he jokingly told me during a one-on-one interview. (he was joking, but I plan to hold him to that)
For Jones his explanation is pretty simple. He just hasn’t had the time to think about mounting a re-election campaign because he has been too busy, being the Mayor.
“Well I have a lot on my plate and so the State of the City was a big thing and now I have the budget to do and we were working on the jail before that,” he said. ”So really just a lot going on so I really have turned my attention to being ready to make an announcement one way or another.”
The chances that Jones does not run for re-election are pretty slim. He is still actively raising funds and has more than $80,000 in cash on hand. Some democratic advisers have privately hinted that Jones could be a potential statewide candidate. Perhaps as soon as 2013. His coy nature on the topic is most likely the product of building anticipation toward a major announcement, timed to get the maximum exposure.
Extended clips from the mayor on his re-election can be found below:
When the Mayor does decide, one of the biggest controversies he could face is the future of the popular Richmond minor league baseball club, the Flying Squirrels. The team has hinted that they were promised a new ballpark, but are frustrated with the lack of progress. They even said they won’t be afraid to leave town, if the progress doesn’t happen soon. The talk over the Squirrels future was a hot topic at the team’s recent Hot Stove banquet.
Jones simple message to baseball fans?
“It will happen.”
His full comments can be seen below:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor admits he is not the point person in the negotiations over the Federal Budget. But also said is unwilling to just accept whatever is offered if it doesn’t meet his strict measure of significant budget cuts.
“We have a $1.6 trillion annual deficit this year,” Cantor said. “And we are talking about trying to cut $60 billion out of the budget to return to 2008 levels.”
I spoke to Cantor in Houston, TX on Saturday just before VCU’s loss in the NCAA Final Four. Cantor, who does not represent the institution in Congress, came to support the team, of which many students and graduates live in his district. Rep. Bobby Scott, Gov. Bob McDonnell and Richmond Mayor Dwight Jones were also in attendance.
The massive cuts that Cantor is calling for are an ocean away from the White House budget proposal. As Cantor and House Republicans continue to hold their ground, once again the threat of a government shutdown looms large. The powerful Henrico congressman stressed that a shutdown is not his goal.
“I have always said that we do not want to see the government shut down,” Cantor said. But then almost in the same breath listed off all of the priorities he has for the next federal spending plan. Priorities that the White House and Senate Democrats clearly do not share. So when it comes to a staring match, Cantor appears to be the one who will not blink.
“We are not interested in supporting the status-quo, things have to change,” and then he went on to say “We do not want to shut the government down, but if it comes to a partial shutdown then we have to stand up and do what is right.”
But could standing up for what is right, mean breaking from the Republican Speaker of the House as well? Cantor appeared to be out of the loop in a recent press gaggle in Washington about a specific budget item reportedly agreed to between House leaders and the White House. He told me that the Speaker, John Boehner is taking the lead in Budget negotiations, and so far he has not seen a proposal he would vote yes for.
“There are reports of some kind of deal that has been struck, I am not supportive of any deal that has been reported,” Cantor said. “I think that when the people of American and Virginia look at the size of the annual deficit alone I think that they can see that $60 billion relative to $1.6 trillion is something we have got to do.”
Cantor’s office stressed to me today that at this point the budget debate is stalled in the Senate. They say Senate Democrats have not put forward any type of proposal and that all House Republicans can do for now is wait until their budget emerges.
You can see the extended clip from my interview with Rep. Cantor below:
Cantor’s office also released a lengthy statement on the budget process today. You can see that after the jump:
In a move that will have enormous political implications, the private development company Highwoods Properties, has suspend its involvement in plans to build a new mixed-use development in Downtown Richmond that will include the construction of a ballpark in Shockoe Bottom.
Highwoods has been the driving force and muscle behind the plan to build the downtown ballpark that promised to bring activity and excitement to the historic section of Richmond. However, the project has been stalled over debate over the placement of the city’s ballpark and what team should play there if and when the stadium gets built. A growing chorus of community leaders believed the downtown ballpark combined with shopping and luxury urban living could not be supported by Richmond’s economic engine.
The roadblocks raised by powerful parties, seemed to be too much for Highwoods, and despite their belief that the concept would still work, they are dropping out.
Tara Morgan will have more on this story tonight on NBC12 at 5 and 6, and I will continue our coverage tonight at 11.
You can see the entire statement from Highwoods Properties after the jump: **UPDATED WITH ENTIRE STATEMENT FROM MAYOR JONES**
Democratic candidate for Governor Brian Moran today locked in the endorsement of Richmond’s new Mayor Dwight Jones. The move continues Moran’s work to lock in the support of the state Democratic Party establishment. It is not a big surprise that Jones would get behind Moran, given their work together in the House of Delegates. Moran, of course, was the leader of the House Democratic Minority and Mayor Jones was the Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus.
The Moran campaign released this statement from Jones:
“Brian has a long, proven record of fighting hard for working families in Virginia. I’ve known Brian for more than a decade and worked side-by-side with him in the legislature. We’ve fought for equal rights, quality education and equal opportunity for everyone.”
The full release is after the jump:
Dwight Jones is now officially the Mayor of Richmond. The former member of the House of Delegates outlasted four other candidates to win the competitive race for Mayor. He now has the responsibility of guiding the city through a difficult fiscal environment and taking over in the wake of the Doug Wilder legacy.
Andy Jenks filed a report on Jones taking the oath of office. You can watch his report by clicking here.
Despite all of the noise Doug Wilder has made during his time as Richmond’s Mayor, the charismatic, groundbreaking politician appears to be going out quietly.
Wilder will serve one more day on the job as Richmond’s Mayor. Dwight Jones is scheduled to be sworn in to the position tomorrow in a low key ceremony.
Tonight on NBC12, we will take a look back at the 4 year roller coaster that was the Wilder Term.
Among the highlights we will feature:
*Wilder’s dramatic electoral victory
*His shake-up of city administration
*The appointment of Rodney Monroe and the subsequent controversy surrounding his degree from VCU.
*His role in the Obama campaign.
*The controversy surrounding his high level administrative aides.
*The attempt to evict the school administration from city hall.
*His constant battle for power with City Council.
We also speculate as to where Mr. Wilder could land in his post-mayoral life. (I welcome your comments as to where you think he will go next. )
After this evening’s broadcast, I’ll post the video of our story.
Current Richmond City Councilwoman Delores McQuinn has captured the democratic nomination for the special election to replace Mayor-Elect Dwight Jones in the House of Delegates.
McQuinn had the support of the Mayor-Elect and should cruise to victory in the special election, in the democrat- leaning 70th district.
The Councilwoman captured 398 votes to Henrico Attorney Carlos Brown‘s 82 votes.
The special election is scheduled for January 6th.
At this point, no Republican has expressed interest in running.