Benedetti is undeterred. “It’s time for the thirty-somethings to step to the forefront and say we’re ready to be involved,” he says. With more than a billion dollars invested in downtown development, he says, the time is right for new leadership to aggressively tackle such issues as crime and homeownership that persistently thwart progress.
He is fed up with the controversy that seems to shadow City Council. “The critical piece missing in Richmond is confidence in the integrity of our elected officials,” he says.
When asked if his council campaign is the beginning of a new career, following his father’s path, he says, “I have no desire to be a politician.” But when a man was found murdered recently in a stairwell at Carver Elementary School, the news “shook me to the core,” Benedetti says. Equally distressing was the apathy and lack of outrage shown by city leaders — even its residents, he recalls. It prompted Benedetti to say: “Enough is enough.”
A native Richmonder and Fan resident, he is a graduate of Benedictine High School and the College of William and Mary. His firm, Benedetti and Farris, specializes in political, charitable and civic fund-raising. He is married with one son.
“This is a family affair,” he says of his five brothers and sisters who’ve pledged to help with the campaign. And, he says, “Dad is ecstatic.”
Friends appear enthusiastic, too. David Lambert, son of state Sen. Benjamin J. Lambert III, is a close one, and among the first Benedetti told of his plans. Like his father, Benedetti is a Republican. Like his father, Lambert is a Democrat. And while the two sons of politicians don’t always see eye to eye on issues, Benedetti says they agree the city needs a change in leadership.
He’s booked the Lambert family’s new Hyperlink Café on Grace Street for his official campaign kickoff party March 19 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., a prelude to “March Madness.” Benedetti is an avid basketball fan and played the sport at Benedictine.
The hip café that shines where the rundown Biograph Theater once stood appears to inspire Benedetti — almost as much as the people who run it. “I think what the Lamberts are doing is extraordinary,” he says. “It’s exactly what the next generation needs to do.” — Brandon Walters
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