Melvin Grady, a Democratic candidate for one of two seats on the Charlottesville City Council, said he sees local office as a way to give back to his hometown.
"My political aspirations are only for the community that I work for and live in. Nothing more,” said Grady, 44, a Buford Middle School math teacher and lifelong city resident.
Affordable housing and jobs are the biggest issues facing the city, he said.
"If jobs don't pay enough to afford housing, then people become shut out of the city in which they live and do business," he said. "We need to try harder to attract business here … to help residents become more self-sufficient."
After attending Charlottesville City Schools, Grady obtained a bachelor’s degree in math from the University of Virginia.
As a councilor, Grady said, he would support pre-kindergarten education programs.
"This will inevitably lead to higher achievement and more future success for our students," he said.
Spending does not automatically translate to success for students, who have to do their part to boost test scores and graduation rates, he said.
"There are other, non-formal ways to measure success, such as increasing motivation," he said. "College is not for all students, but each student should be provided the opportunity to move on to … some sort of higher educational learning."
City schools' per-pupil spending, $15,807 in fiscal year 2012, consistently ranks among the highest in the state. Albemarle County Schools spent $12,251 per student in fiscal 2012, according to state records.
Grady did not specify what the council might do to motivate students.
He said he supports a moratorium on public housing evictions.
Charlottesville’s Public Housing Association of Residents has called for the Charlottesville Redevelopment Housing Authority to halt evictions. The authority came under fire following a scathing February report by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development that, among other things, called for stiffer eviction policies and higher minimum rent.
"I believe the city should enact a moratorium on evictions until all parties … can come to terms of mutual respect and cooperation with each other," Grady said. "As a City Councilor, I would like to assist in that endeavor."
Grady is one of five Democrats vying for two nominations to the City Council. The primary winners will face Republicans Buddy Weber and Michael Farruggio in the fall seeking two seats.
Former Mayor Dave Norris opted against seeking another term and Vice Mayor Kristin Szakos is running for re-election. The Democratic primary is June 11.
Residence: Ridge Street
Education: Bachelor's of arts in math, University of Virginia
Occupation: Math teacher, Buford Middle School
Family: Wife, Stephanie, and children Rajesh and Laila
Hobbies: Running, reading, gardening
About the series
A Democratic primary will be held June 11 to pick the party's nominees for state attorney general and lieutenant governor, as well as for local contests that have more Democrats running than there are open seats. In Charlottesville, five Democrats are seeking two nominations for the City Council. Additionally, two Democrats are seeking the nomination for city commonwealth's attorney and two are seeking the nomination for commissioner of the revenue. This week, get to know the city and statewide Democratic primary candidates.
Sunday: Wes Bellamy
Monday: Bob Fenwick
Today: Melvin Grady
Wednesday: Adam Lees
Thursday: Kristin Szakos
Commonwealth's attorney; commissioner of the revenue
Friday: Dave Chapman and Steve Deaton ; Todd Divers and Jonathan Stevens
Attorney general; lieutenant governor
Monday: Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring; Aneesh P. Chopra and Ralph S. Northam
Stories already published can be found at DailyProgress.com.