The Greater Richmond region has attracted regional and national attention in recent years as one of the commonwealth’s most vibrant communities: our local economy is strong and growing, we are the home of some of the nation’s most well-respected educational institutions, and we have seen the emergence of a robust culinary, artistic, and entrepreneurial scene. It is truly an exciting time to live in the Greater Richmond region.
But even as we continue upon this upward trajectory, we must not forget the many challenges of years past that continue to persist today; furthermore, we must not forget that with great progress come many new challenges. The exciting renaissance that is occurring in our region is still relatively new – but the confluence of old, current, and future challenges is already becoming readily apparent.
There is no question that the decisions made a little more than 100 miles north of the city have an important impact on our local, regional, and state economy – as do the decisions made by our state legislators in the Virginia General Assembly. But the aforementioned “confluence of challenges” will fall largely on the shoulders of the often overlooked and under-appreciated local government officials: Boards of Supervisors, City Councils, Planning Commissions, and School Boards. As the level of government “closest to the people,” these elected and appointed officials are on the front lines of everything from affordable housing, economic and community development, environmental protection, and so much more. Local governments are responsible for navigating the patchwork of state and federal laws and regulations to identify and implement solutions to these challenges – and they often do so without much fanfare and publicity.
Elections for local offices also do not get much attention – most are not aware that these positions will be on the ballot in November 2019. Over the next several months, candidates will begin announcing their candidacy for these important local races. As the voice of the residential land development and construction industry in the region, the Home Building Association of Richmond will support candidates who understand that strong economy is dependent upon a healthy, diverse supply of housing stock – and we will be looking for leaders who are committed to fostering collaborative partnerships with neighboring localities, so that the Greater Richmond region can continue to emerge as an economic powerhouse for the commonwealth.
These local elections are certainly about more than just housing – we all have a vested interest in these local offices. As mentioned above, our region is truly undergoing an incredible transformation, but challenges still exist and will continue to arise. The leaders that we elect in 2019 will be on the front lines of tackling those challenges and setting a vision for our home locality and our region. We urge everyone to be #LoyaltoLocal and get engaged in local elections.