As Style Weekly recently reported, Michelle Mosby’s win in the 9th District certainly did come as a surprise. City Councilman Doug Conner has been a popular, hard working representative, bringing long overdue attention and financial support to one of Richmond’s often forgotten areas. And he’s been quite a change following ineffectual representatives like longterm Councilwoman Carolyn Wake of the 1980′s, a spat of one-term candidates in the 90′s, and then the now famous Rev. Gwen Hedgepeth who was federally prosecuted for bribery and extortion in 2002-2003. His personal attention to his constituents has always been appreciated, his frequent clean-up projects are well attended, his monthly community meetings are always full, and his service on the Land Use Committee as Vice Chairman has also been commendable.
So how did he lose? Out of no where it seemed, Ms. Mosby received the unexpected endorsement of the Richmond Democratic Committee. Whatever your political preference, it’s hard to deny that they did a superb job getting the word out about their preferred candidates, and many people voted based on their sample ballots that were seen widespread at the polling booths.
But if we look at Michelle Mosby’s background, she has a longstanding record working in the local community and nonprofit sector supporting efforts to improve the lives of those once incarcerated – an issue of great importance to those personally affected as well as to everyone who plays taxes.
Councilman Conner will surely be missed so all eyes should be on Ms. Mosby to see if she can not only maintain the level of credibility that he’s brought to the District, but to advance his work to improve the area and reach even higher.
An excerpt from Style Weekly:
A real estate agent, Mosby also runs International Hair, a salon on the corner of Forest Hill Avenue and Westover Hills Boulevard. The shop is sandwiched between Maldin’s Ristorante and an Asian food store in an unassuming strip mall. Inside, men get haircuts toward the front of the store while women sit in rows of chairs in the back, chatting under hairdryers.
Mosby opened the salon in 2001, but not because she knows anything about doing hair. (She doesn’t.) She wanted to give ex-offenders, people getting out of jail or prison, a place to work and learn a trade. She says she was sick of seeing rejection letters pile up in the mailboxes of friends and neighbors who were trying to turn their lives around.
“They can come home,” she says, “they can build a trade here and begin to care for their families.”
For similar reasons, Mosby co-founded and directs Help Me Help You, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to easing the transition from incarceration and reducing rates of recidivism. Among other things, the group provides family counseling and GED tutoring.