Newly sworn-in City Council members discuss goals and vision

Richmond, VA. (WTVR) – Wednesday, in a packed Richmond city council chambers, an emotional second district councilman Charles Samuels was unanimously elected as president of the Richmond city council, succeeding Kathy Graziano.

Samuels thanked many people, including his wife Crista.

“Darling, you’re my soul mate and my best friend.  Without you I am nothing. Thank you for your support,” he said.

Ellen Robertson was elected unanimously for a second term as vice president.

The swearing in ceremony lasted one hour.

There are three new faces in the Richmond city council,  John Baliles representing the West End 1st District, Parker Agalesto representing the Central 5th District and Michelle Mosby the south Central 9th district.

Baliles replaces Bruce Tyler. When asked what his priorities are for his district, Baliles said he didn’t know,  but there are 12 items on the list.

“I don’t know the [12] off the top of my head. That’s why I had to write them down,”, he said.

Reva Trammel, who retained her Southside 8th District seat says it will be different not having allies Bruce Tyler and Marty Jewell around, but says she has her eyes on the future.

“It’s going to be different, but we are all here to move our city forward and work together to make things happen, but I will miss Marty and Bruce,” she said.

Meanwhile, Samuels says he has many goals.

“We must encourage historic preservation. In particular we need to redraft the business and professional license tax so it’s no longer based on gross revenues. I think we need to address the water and waste water fees to encourage conservation, and finally I think we need to work with our regional partners on true regional public transportation,” Samuels said.

Mayor Dwight Jones issued a statement about today’s city council. 

“As we enter 2013, our city is poised for great things! We have made much progress and have had many accomplishments over the past four years. I look forward to working with the entire Council as we continue to Build a Better Richmond.

“President Samuels will bring his parliamentary skills and his level judgment to the job. He has a balanced approached to complex problems.

“Vice President Robertson brings her experience and grace under pressure to her continuing role.

“I would like to thank outgoing City Council President Kathy Graziano for her hard work, guidance and expertise as we worked together to make Richmond a Tier One City.”

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