I will take this occasion to speak to you about my desire to be the Commissioner of Revenue for the city of Suffolk. In an attempt to be open and honest, I waited patiently for someone else to run for a Constitutional Office. I am proud of my city. We have twice elected a woman to a citywide office. It demonstrates that we are progressive and inclusive. So, let’s make history again, by electing the first African-American citywide. I believe my unique skill set will serve the city well in this capacity after my careful study of the duties of the office. I am asking for your vote based on my history of public service, temperament and vision for the city of Suffolk.
As a city councilman for almost five years, I learned during council and civic meetings that many people are not aware of the duties of the Commissioner of Revenue. Citizens should be informed about the mechanics of government. My experience as a councilman will aide in my effort to educate the public about the office I seek.
As a councilman, I learned that it is very disrespectful to the public to grant office access, educational opportunities, and provide convenient services only during election years. My experience in city government has taught me the importance of community relations, and the importance of the timely collection of taxes.
I know the importance of accurate and timely tax collection because I have had the honor of being a good steward over your dollars. Tax dollars are needed for schools, public safety, and roads to name a few.
I am dedicated to ensure that those who should pay will pay, and to work aggressively to make sure that the community is informed about the legal choices that are available. My experience in City Hall gives me confidence that I can fulfill the duties of this office and provide professional and accurate service to the people of Suffolk.
I have been a fighter all my life. I use the gifts the Good Lord gave to me. One of those gifts is collecting money. I am a very small businessman who graduated from the school of hard knocks after attending college in North Carolina. I started my newspapers with no money, no staff, and no support. The end result has been three newspapers, Christian magazine, and a radio show. My question to the citizens of Suffolk is what would I do with a staff, a budget, and the support of the people as well as the Commissioners of Revenue Association of Virginia.
I am open to learning, and have always had the ability to pull out the best in people. Suffolk, VA has the best city staff in the country, and I grew up in New York City. I have worked diligently with the city as councilman and understand the importance of depending on the expertise of the staff. I will do the same as your Commissioner.
Suffolk is over 400 square miles. We are a large city in landmass and in possibilities. I would like to work with others to continue the effort to usher Suffolk into the 21st Century. We need someone who will be fair and balanced in the collection of taxes so that our students will have good schools that will prepare them for a global job market.
We need someone who will think of creative ways to provide the extra money council needs for pay raises, and city services. We need someone who will respond to calls and attend your community meetings to make sure you understand all of your constitutional rights. My record proves that I am willing to learn new information and execute wise decisions.
Our city’s bond rating has been upgraded twice during my tenure as councilman, and the borough I represent has had many projects completed or almost completed due to my diligence. I would like to serve as your Commissioner of Revenue because our citizens have waited too long for basic things that they deserve. As your Commissioner of Revenue, it is my job to collect the money so council can make those things happen.
Lastly, I am asking for your vote because it is time for a change. I have heard the comments around the city. I am qualified for this job because according to the code of VA and the city charter any of us are qualified for this job. I have had to learn new jobs several times in my life.
As a small businessman, President of the NAACP, and City Councilman, I faced many overwhelming challenges.
Those experiences sharpened my skills of making my vision plain, and then trusting others to execute that plan. I want to leave my grandsons a city where anybody through hard work, and dedication can have any job they desire. I am tired of living in a city where some citizens do not have the access to fulfill their full potential.
I believe the people, and only the people should decide any public office. I am running because you deserve a choice. You have the opportunity to make your voice heard. No one should walk into any public office, because elections require public servants to give an account of their service.
Let’s Make History, Again, by electing me Commissioner of Revenue.
By Hon. Lue Ward
Suffolk City Councilman