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Richmond mayoral candidate Jon Baliles answers Facebook live questions

RICHMOND, Va. – Ahead of the Nov. 8 election, Richmond mayoral candidate and current councilman Jon Baliles joined CBS 6 in studio for an interview and then answered questions from voters via Facebook live.

Baliles is a Richmond native who represent the city’s near West End, or 1st district. Baliles has resided in the district since 1997.

A great majority of the seven mayoral candidates did not attend Richmond Public Schools from K-12; Lawrence Williams is the only one who did. Baliles attended Trinity Episcopal School, close to where he grew up off Cherokee Road.

Baliles graduated from the University of Virginia (B.A), before getting a master’s degree in International Business Transactions from George Mason University. He is also a 2011 graduate of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.

As the son of former Gov. Gerald L. Baliles, Jon says “he grew up in a family dedicated to public service.”

He was elected to city council in 2012, defeating two-term incumbent Bruce Tyler by 20 votes. Previously, Baliles served for four years in city government as the Assistant to the Director of Planning and Development, and also as a member of Mayor Wilder’s staff.

Over the past four years, Baliles has attempted to establish himself on council as an independent, not beholden to Mayor Dwight Jones or special interests, but to his constituents and the city overall.

Regarding the feasibility of the unpopular plan to build a stadium in Shockoe Bottom, Baliles was a vocal opponent who asked tough financial and operational questions. 

He has gone on record with concerns about how the city develops its property.

Baliles record has been supportive of more funding for Richmond schools, a topic ranked by voters as a top issue in this election. 

Though a poll in late August had Baliles in fourth place, behind Michelle Mosby and ahead of Levar Stoney, a late campaign groundswell in his favor can’t be overlooked.

In the homestretch of the election season, Baliles has had a recent endorsement from the arts and culture publication RVA Magazine, as well as visible support from the arts community, restaurant industry and local business owners.

RVA Magazine wrote that their “focus is on culture and no other candidate running for mayor that has shown a commitment to the culture of Richmond like Jon Baliles.”

Baliles co-founded the popular RVA Street Art Festival with his friend and local artist, Ed Trask, to showcase and celebrate artists.

All mayoral candidates were invited to participate in an interview with CBS 6 and so far, candidates Levar Stoney and Lawrence Williams have appeared.

Council woman Michelle Mosby is scheduled for an interview Thursday, Oct. 6.