North and East resident Shawn Dunning launched his bid for a Richmond City Council seat Saturday afternoon amid a hearty group of supporters who came out to celebrate the official start of the campaign.
Dunning is running for the District 6 seat currently held by Claudia Jimenez.
As a consultant in organizational development and conflict resolution, Dunning has also worked as a facilitator, leadership coach, and public speaker. At Saturday's event, Dunning laid his platform out listing his priorities for Richmond as focused on economic vitality, housing, and public safety.
Several members of the community spoke at the event, including former Richmond Mayor Tom Butt, who called this election an important one.
"I don't have to tell you how important this is, you all know it, this is one of the most important elections Richmond has seen in a long time. Shawn has put himself out there, and as a candidate, and he has a lot of support. You all need to get out and vote," Butt said.
Also speaking was former Richmond City Councilmember Jeff Ritterman, who called Dunning "a peacemaker."
"Shawn is a peacemaker and that's what we need. We need peace in the world and in this city, and Shawn can bring this. He is a real person who brings people to the table and finds a way to make peace with everyone. Shawn is a hard worker, Shawn has integrity, he's got intelligence. There's no one on the council with his credentials," Ritterman said.
Community member Ellen Seskin said she was so excited to see so many people at the event and also spoke of Dunnings' skills, especially his work in conflict resolution.
"One of the things he [Dunning] does is conflict resolution between parties that are literally not speaking. I think about how incredible it would be to have Shawn making helping decisions for us, the biggest things, the open door, the open table, he really means it, and I want it. I want to know what's going on and I know we will with Shawn up there," Seskin said.
Richmond resident Yenny Garcia said she met Dunning a few years ago and believes he leads with his heart.
"I know with Shawn in office we are going to have that collaborative work and that representation. I believe with the platform Shawn has put together and the work we are going to do to get together, Shawn can get us there," Garcia said. "I used to live in District 6, I've lived in the city of Richmond for 36 years and I and know Shawn will get us to where we need to be to be better in 2024 and beyond," Garcia said."
Dunning said he felt good about the event and the level of support he is receiving from the community.
"The event epitomized what my campaign is all about—convening people from all walks of life in the spirit of collaboration and community. I couldn't stop smiling for hours," Dunning said. "It couldn't have gone any better. The overwhelming show of support from voters in District 6 and beyond made the mandate clear: I must work harder than ever to bring collaborative and representative leadership to City Hall, and I'm so fired up to get out there and do it."
For more information, visit the campaign website.
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