April 5, 2015
Contact: Jack Berry, 804-426–5010 For Immediate Release

Jack Berry, Executive Director of Venture Richmond, announced today that he is running for Mayor of Richmond. He has filed a certificate of qualifications with the General Registrar and has begun gathering petition signatures throughout the city.

On March 24 Jack resigned his position at Venture Richmond, where he has worked for 18 years. His last day at Venture Richmond will be April 30.

In announcing his candidacy, Jack said, “I am running for mayor to help make Richmond a high performing city that is a magnet of opportunity for young people, for families, and for those who have been left behind.”

“Richmond deserves an experienced leader who will manage the city’s money and deliver basic services well.”

“Richmond deserves a mayor who will make public education the highest priority. I will commit to a 5-year funding plan that provides predictable, dedicated resources to schools. It is inexcusable for teachers to be denied a pay raise for almost ten years, and for buildings to be falling apart.”

“I will be a hands-on mayor who will create a team-oriented environment that empowers city employees to do their best work. I will not simply promise to hire good people and hope for the best, I will lead and I will be accountable.”

“Bulk trash will be removed within one week. Leaves will be picked up before Christmas. Financial reports will be issued on time. This isn’t just wishful thinking, it’s what good cities do as a matter of course.”

“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.”

“Richmond deserves a mayor who is trusted in every single corner of our city. Agreements and contracts will be transparent. Jobs will be filled based on what you know, not whom you know. Partisanship and political patronage have no place in delivering municipal services.”

“Richmond deserves a sustained commitment to healthy neighborhoods and community wealth building. I will embrace and strengthen current initiatives to reduce childhood poverty rates, create more mixed-income housing, promote active lifestyles and walkable, bike friendly communities.”

“The best economic development strategy is to build a great public school system. Next is creating a community that is attractive to millennials, because they are the ones who will build and attract growing companies. The food scene, the arts scene, the James River, and a wealth of talented people have positioned Richmond to be one of America’s most authentic, diverse and dynamic cities. Richmond is on a roll, but City Government is not keeping up. That will change.”

What others are saying about Jack:

“Jack has a long history of supporting supplier diversity and minority business development,” said Oliver Singleton, President of the Metropolitan Business League. That is why he was the MBL’s first non-minority board member. He has my full support in his run for mayor.”

“Jack’s commitment to public education is genuine and undeniable,” said John Gordon, former chair of the Hanover County School Board and Board of Supervisors. “He developed a 5-year funding plan that we could count on, and found extra money to address school priorities. He developed an amazing partnership with Superintendent Stewart Roberson and the School Board resulting in a successful campaign for the largest school bond referendum in the county’s history.”

“Jack’s leadership skills are extraordinary, as evidenced by the success of the Richmond Folk Festival,” said Julia Olin, Executive Director of the National Council for Traditional Arts. “At a critical moment, he stepped up when no-one else did, and took ownership of the challenge of launching a major new event in Richmond. Without Jack’s leadership there would be no Folk Festival. Under his leadership it has become the pride of Richmond.”

“The Richmond Folk Festival is a model of leadership, creativity, execution and inclusion. That skill set is exactly what City Government needs at this point in time,” said Zarina Fazaldin, preservationist and Richmond developer in Historic Carver.

“Jack is action oriented. He knows how to get things done, by listening, collaborating and bringing diverse people together. He is a unifier and a doer,” said Michel Zajur, President of the Virginia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

“When Richmond’s largest ambulance company collapsed in 1990, Jack Berry was assigned to manage the crisis,” said Dr. Joseph Ornato, VCU’s Chair of the Department of Emergency Medicine. “He restructured the City’s EMS system and served as the first president of Richmond Ambulance, which has become an award winning national model. His collaborative approach in a high stakes situation was remarkable.”

Rev. Herbert Moore, a longtime family friend said: “Jack is the son of civil rights leaders in Lynchburg in the 1960s. His mother was a public school teacher (the first white teacher in an all-black school) and his father directed the city’s social services department. As Jack’s pastor, I watched him create a backpacking camp for inner city kids that provided life changing experiences for children that had never been outside the city. I am not surprised that he is willing to step up to serve the city that he loves.”

When Jack left Hanover in 1998 to lead Richmond Renaissance, the Hanover Herald Progress editor and publisher, J. Malcolm Pace, had the following to say about Jack Berry in an H-P editorial:

“He brought not only a calm and level-headed style of leadership to the county but remarkable management skills.”

“What he brought to the CEO’s office that has made such a lasting impression was his character and ethic, attributes sometimes in short supply in the halls of government.”

“Berry’s imprimatur is seen all over Hanover. He will do the same for the city – and do it with quiet style, compassion and textbook integrity.”