Remember Rudy McCollum? He was Richmond's last unelected mayor, before the switch to the elected-mayor form of government, and left office at the end of 2004. In the first election under the new system he ran against Doug Wilder and lost. You might remember those hopeful days, when many in Richmond couldn't wait for Wilder to ride in on his white horse and return Richmond to prominence.
You miss Rudy, don't you? The affable McCollum always could crack that mustachioed smile and make it better. Sure he left City Hall, but he jumped right back into work as a bankruptcy and divorce attorney. In 2006 he started his own practice. And has some lessons to impart.
"Education in the area of finances: It's something that I find is really missing," McCollum says, referring to the city's public school system. Too often people graduate from high school, maybe even college, and don't know how to budget. And it can lead to bankruptcy, especially in a sour economy, which often leads to divorce.
"Unfortunately, one usually follows the other," he says. "It's amazing how we expect 18-year-olds to go out and build a household without the proper tools."
So when will Rudy get back into politics? "My main priority right now is to get my kids out of my house and prepare them for the world that they are going to have to live in," he says of his two children, ages 12 and 15. "Those are certainly my two most important constituents — or three, with my wife."