As a veteran teacher of Richmond Public Schools, Graham knows the concerns that face our struggling school infrastructure, the stress of high-stakes testing, and financial challenges of our teachers. For decades Richmond has paid for what it has wanted and stayed begging for what it needed. The average school in Richmond is over sixty years old. Time has come to rebuild schools, rezone in an equitable way, and consider which schools can be consolidated when funding new school construction. Richmond maintains unsold properties and vacant schools to the detriment of future funding and economic redevelopment. Our schools often suffer from a more transient population, higher teacher-turnover, and maintaining their accreditation.
Graham promises to address all of the concerns he and his colleagues across the district face and make education in Richmond a model for other localities. Graham promises to work with RPS leaders and teachers in producing solutions that help students, teachers, and schools succeed. Graham promises to make education and rebuilding our schools his top priority.
Graham wants to facilitate creating a robust economy that works for everyone. Richmond has so much to offer. Concentrated, systemic poverty should be addressed with more mixed housing opportunities. Investments in our schools will attract future residents in purchasing homes here in Richmond. Richmond needs responsive leadership for the citizens who own and operate businesses in our city. Homeowners need to be listened to and their concerns addressed. So many of the challenges facing Richmonders depends on the success of our workers, business owners, and homeowners. Creating an environment where people want to live, work, eat, play, and send their children to school is of vital importance.
Graham promises to propose solutions that allows the City Government to advance our economy, continue to do well at what we do best, and find new ways to bring economic opportunities to all of our citizens.
Like many city residents, Graham believes taxes are too high and our return too small. The budget process needs to be more transparent and responsive to our citizens needs. School construction should no longer run over-budget, our city facilities should not run out of money, nor should attempts be made to pay into agenda items where there is no security for a return on our investment. For a budget as large as Richmond’s and for all of the challenges we face together, we must make every dollar stretch. To that end, we cannot waste money and must adopt a zero-based budgeting practice for both the City of Richmond and Richmond Public Schools.
Graham promises to work to restore citizens sense of political efficacy. Graham will work to find and cut wasteful spending from the budget. Your trust and faith in the governing process is essential to confidently move Richmond forward.
When Graham was young, his parents bought a non-working farm west of Richmond. It is there that Graham learned to appreciate the outdoors alongside his brother, father and grandfather. Graham maintains a backyard vegetable garden every summer. He has inspired his love for gardening in his students who participate in Armstrong’s after-school agriculture lab and has taken his students to Virginia Tech’s Jr. MANRRS conference to explore agriculture-related careers. From Maymont and Dogwood Dell, Byrd Park to Texas Beach, and Belle Isle to Reedy Creek, residents of the 5th District, on both sides of the James River, have every reason to protect our natural environment.
Graham promises to work hard to make the 5th District pristine and attractive. He will also fight for city ordinances and regulations that help advance and fund our parks and community gardens.
Equality for All
Graham is a member of Richmond’s LGBTQ+ community. His husband is the son of Central-American immigrants. Graham’s students are overwhelmingly, disproportionately, and negatively affected by issues of race, justice, and economic inopportunity. Several of his RPS friends and colleagues have struggled as both teachers and mothers with current maternity-leave policies.
Richmond and Virginia have made bold leaps forward on issues of equal rights and justice for all. Graham promises to keep pushing Richmond forward for all its citizens.
"In the four years I have known Graham, he has always been passionate about strengthening our communities. Our city deserves a councilman who represents teachers. Everyday I watch him tackle many tough challenges in our school with intelligence and passion. A great leader is accountable, committed, and inspiring. Graham fits the bill and deserves your vote."
Stevara Clinton - Chemistry Teacher
"These are the qualities that I look for in leadership: the desire to make the people around you better, the ability to create better outcomes through effort and willpower, possession of the insight of not merely recognizing that a problem exists, but understanding what created that issue in the first place. Most importantly, developing solutions that have long term as well as short term results. He is a man that puts others first, no matter their background or beliefs. Graham Sturm has proven to me that no matter the scenario he is the person to lead."
William “Frank” Scott - Government Teacher
"If Graham gets to do for the city what he contributes to our school--systems thinking and organizational vision, an ever-intensifying impulse to put people first, a combination of creativity and work ethic that give his ideas stickiness in their application, and a quick wit to hold it all with perspective--Richmond couldn’t not level up. Sturm for city council, baby. "
Andrew Maples - English Teacher
"Mr. Sturm is one of my favorite people! He is very kind and smart and loves to see his kids shine. I had so much fun working with him on Armstrong’s production of Once on This Island. He always encouraged us to do our best and to always be thinking actors. Please vote for Mr. Sturm."
Harmony Wise - Rising 6th Grade Student
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