If you haven't already met Jeff Bourne, his wife Anedra and their two young children, you should.
If you have, then you already know why it is such welcome news that a guy of his character and credibility is running for the Third District seat on the City of Richmond School Board. Bourne is soft-spoken and direct when he tells me the reason he wants to serve is simple -- he cares about the children in our community and knows that strong schools will not only help them become successful in life, but will also improve the economic well-being of our city and region. "It's a win-win," he says. And, as Frederick Douglass said long ago, it is "easier to raise strong children than fix broken men."
As someone who served on Richmond's school board for six years [2002-2008, four during the Wilder Administration], I have spent enough time with Jeff to know he has the brains and backbone necessary to be an effective and focused school board member. And, anyone who has followed the news, or read my "Save Our Schools" blog, knows that the shameful and unprofessional antics and ethics of the RPS School Board for the past four years provide ample evidence that new leadership is needed. Would that the citizens of each district in our city could send a representative as capable and committed as Jeff is to serve on the School Board.
I hope you can plan to attend the "Meet & Greet" for Jeff that Betty Jolly is hosting at 4-6 p.m. on July 29th at her home at 3809 Fauquier Avenue. Once you meet Jeff and his family, I am sure you will be just as impressed with him as I am and understand why so many people think he is the right man to represent us on the School Board. Some brief background --
He was raised in Wytheville, Virginia; his mother was a public school teacher and his father a former U.S. Marine Corps member who retired and became a law enforcement officer. Both parents preached the "Gospel of Homework and Hard work."
The discipline and determination his parents instilled in him clearly paid off. After graduating from high school, he went to The College of William & Mary where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics, got interested in public policy and politics and even managed to play some football. He became interested in public policy and politics when he served as Congressional Black Caucus in Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's office, (D-Houston).
Jeff chose to make Richmond his home in 2001 when he was asked by former Governor (and current U.S. Senator) Mark Warner to join his hand-picked team of the best and brightest young advisers Warner could find in Virginia to help shape public policy. In that capacity, Jeff provided analysis and advice to Warner concerning policy issues in public education, conservation and natural resources and military concerns to support Virginia veterans.
In turn, this experience shaped Jeff into a true believer of Warner's centrist, results-oriented, bipartisan leadership. When Warner left the Governor's office, Jeff returned to William & Mary and earned a law degree. While in law school, he worked in Washington as a summer associate for then U.S. Senator Barack Obama, who was preparing to launch his campaign for President. Jeff also served as a law clerk for Judge Margaret Spencer here in the City of Richmond Circuit Court.
Jeff currently works as a Deputy Chief of Staff for Richmond's Mayor, where has helped expand housing opportunities for families in Richmond. His job provides him the unique opportunity to influence the Mayor and City Council concerning what needs to happen to make our schools "be all they can be" for our children, city and region.
Come meet Jeff and see why I am endorsing him in his bid to become our school board member and why I ask that you to give him your votes.