City Hall packed for Mayor's public inauguration

By Sunni Blevins - bio | email

RICHMOND, VA (NBC12) - As a pastor for 35 years, Jones has been serving his congregation, and now plans to serve the city of Richmond in much the same way.

His message today focused on unity.

It's no secret that his predecessor's time in office was riddled with controversy.

Jones vows that's not going to happen now that he's mayor.

At City Hall, in front of a standing room only crowd, Richmond's new mayor Dwight Jones was sworn in.

The event was just one in a series of inaugural events for the public.

Earlier Saturday hundreds gathered at First Baptist Church on Decatur Street for an Ecumenical Ceremony.

Jones has been pastor at the church for 35 years, neighbors we spoke with say he's done some much to transform this community around Decatur, and they believe he can do that to the city as a whole.

"I was living here back in the 60's and it was really going down, and now it's going up," said resident Archie Fleming.

Fleming is also hopeful Dwight Jones can alleviate some of the controversy we've seen coming out of city government in recent years.

"I think he is going to straighten out a lot of the bickering and arguments that were had with the former mayor, you know, I'm hoping for a positive change," he said.

And Archie isn't the only one.

A number of city leaders from law enforcement, to school board members and of course city council attended these inaugural events also hopeful about the future.

"I feel like for the first time since I've been on council, I feel like I am going to be part of a team with the mayor as opposed to the opposite side," said councilman Bruce Tyler.

Dwight Jones is clearly well-aware of what was often discord in City Hall and vows to make postive changes.

"It is my pledge to work with them as we move forward together, in unity we have strength, in disunity we have disfuction," Jones said. "It is important for us to work together."

In addition to harmony, Jones says his top priorities include ironing out what's sure to be a tight budget and focusing on education improvements.

He wants the city to reach it's full potential and says will do what's necessary to make that happen.

"I want you to know that as your new mayor, I'm a risk-taker, and I believe that if we are going to be great we've got to try to do new things and be willing to take the risks associated with being a great city," he said.

The day of inaugural events is wrapping up tonight with an inaugural ball at the Greater Richmond Convention Center.

Tickets to that cost $75.

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