INTERVIEW: Mayor Jones tops Style Weekly's Most Powerful list

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Style Weekly is out with it's list of the most powerful in the Richmond region, and topping the list for the first time is Richmond mayor Dwight Jones.

He joined NBC12 on First at Four to talk about this recognition and other issues in the city.

RYAN: Let's talk about this list. First of all, you can find on it and in this week's issue. You're number one, your CAO is number, 12 and one of your close advisors is number 26. It seems as though your administration is sprinkled throughout this list. What does this list say about the impact your administration is having on the region?

DWIGHT JONES: When you make a lot of effort and that effort is recognized, it's very nice and I think it says that we're gaining the confidence of the people in the city and the region and that we're moving in the right direction. We're doing a lot of good things in the city of Richmond.

RYAN: Now, the editors of Style Weekly credit you for the stability that you've brought to City Hall, but they ask the question if you're ready to take forward and make a transformational move, to bring something big to the city, perhaps a new coliseum or a new ballpark. Maybe not those things specifically, but do you have plans to make some sort of bold move to bring Richmond to the Tier One level that you often talk about?

DWIGHT JONES: We want Richmond to be a Tier One city but I think it's important for us for recognize that we're in a recession, difficult economic times and we've had to cut budgets, but we've been able to have an efficient government where we have saved money and we're building schools, we're building a new justice center, and those big game changers are in the plans, but times have to be better than they are now. I don't think you see that happening in any locality.

RYAN: Did you think that it was important to get on the job and kind of cross a lot of T's and dot some I's and get things, as we said, stable before you took that big move that everybody would recognize as being a big move?

DWIGHT JONES: I think we're making too much -- giving too much emphasis to bells and whistles and not enough emphasis to efficient government, because at the end of the day, that's what people want is efficient government. And once we have efficient government, then we can look to a stadium for the Squirrels and a new coliseum and the kinds of things that people get excited about. And that will bring tourism and we're working on those things. Those things are in the hopper, they're in the plans.

RYAN: One of the things you talk about a recession. Things have been difficult for some of the restaurant owners in town. They have asked your administration, members of the city council to get rid of the 6 percent meals tax. Do you think that's a laudable goal to reach? Is that something the city can do? Can they afford to get rid of that revenue?

DWIGHT JONES: Nobody likes taxes or tolls, and so it's a difficult thing. But once again, when you take away revenue, what is it replaced with? It's a very difficult question to answer.

RYAN: So at this point, is it even on the table, something you're discussing?

DWIGHT JONES: Not being discussed.

RYAN: Let's talk about your future. Obviously on the front page of Style Weekly get a lot of notoriety across the state. Have you thought about running for state-wide office, maybe governor, something along those lines?

DWIGHT JONES: I have 17 months left on my term and that's what I'm focused on. We have a lot that needs to be done. We started a lot of building projects. We've started to work toward AAA bond rating and we are continuing to build an efficient government and that's where my attention is going to be.

RYAN: We'll talk to you in 17 months then. Or even sooner than that. Thank you, mayor Jones, I appreciate you being here.

DWIGHT JONES: Thanks for having me.

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