What is expected to be one of the most contentious Richmond City Council races this election cycle is officially set.
Kimberly Gray, who represents Jackson Ward, Carver and part of the Fan on the Richmond School Board, on Monday filed her paperwork to run for the 2nd district council seat Charles Samuels is vacating. Earlier this month, Developer Charlie Diradour filed to run for the seat, as well.
Gray, a force on the School Board, co-led the district’s facilities task force that laid the groundwork for developing a long-term plan to overhaul the district's woeful school buildings. She has been a vocal advocate for RPS Superintendent Dana Bedden and an equally vocal critic of Mayor Dwight C. Jones’ administration.
"After serving for eight years on School Board, going through eight budget cycles, one thing I've learned is the golden rule, which is: He who has the gold rules," Gray said. "It's important if I want to see progress, with respect to city schools and other city departments, to be in a position to make those priority-making decisions when it comes to the budget."
Diradour, well known for his vehemence, reported raising $20,000 in the last two months of 2015. His company, Lion’s Paw Development, has completed several popular restaurant and retail projects on the Boulevard and in the Fan.
Councilman Charles Samuels won the seat in 2008. He survived a challenge from
Diradour in 2012. Last summer, he announced he would not pursue re-election. A third candidate, Rebecca Keel, has also filed to run for the seat.
Several council seats are expected to turn over this election cycle. Council President Michelle Mosby announced she was running for mayor last summer. Chris Hilbert, council's vice president, has said he is mulling a mayoral run. So, too, is Jon Baliles, the West End council representative.
Councilwoman Kathy Graziano is not expected to run for re-election. Southside councilwoman Reva Trammell filed her paperwork to run for re-election last month. Ellen Robertson told the Brookland Park Post in January that she intends to run for re-election. Representatives Parker Agelasto and Cynthia Newbille have yet to signal their plans.