Personality: Reginald D. Ford

Spotlight on new head of Richmond Crusade for Voters

1/20/2015, 6 a.m.
Reginald D. (for Darnell) Ford revs himself up for the day by going on a 10-mile run after waking at ...

Reginald D. (for Darnell) Ford revs himself up for the day by going on a 10-mile run after waking at 5 a.m. “It is the best medicine on the market,” he says. “It relieves stress, the pressures of life and you can lose weight, too.”

He has run 26.2-mile marathons, with his next goal to run a 50-mile race.

The Richmond Crusade for Voters hopes Mr. Ford brings that same energy and passion as the organization’s new president.

He was installed in December, taking over for former president Lamar E. Dixon. Mr. Ford will serve a two-year term. He moved into the position from his post as fundraising chair and a member of the organization’s research committee.

The Richmond Crusade for Voters was created in 1956 to educate and mobilize African- American voters in order to back candidates supportive of overall community progress and the African-American community. Mr. Ford, 46, joined the Crusade in 2013. “I was looking to increase my local political awareness,” he recalls. Mr. Ford says he will seek to increase Crusade member- ship and increase member participation in Crusade activities. He also vows to hold elected officials accountable to the citizenry and to help register more voters. He says his top priority as Crusade president is to “consistently bring political education to the community.” He plans to do so through civic engagement, creating a coalition and by providing elected officials a platform from which they can speak and be questioned by citizens.

Mr. Ford calls the biggest challenge facing the Crusade recruiting and retaining new and younger members and connecting them with veteran members.

“The lifeblood of any organization is the relationship between the newcomers and veterans, with each bringing their own unique nutrient to help grow the organization,” he says.

Mr. Ford plans to hit the ground running as the Crusade monitors the General Assembly, which opens its new session this week.

Mr. Ford said he hopes the Crusade can move the ball forward to increase representation in the General Assembly on issues important to the African- American community.

He recalls when, as a child, politicians would visit his church “only during election season, and I knew they did not know anything about my experience and they certainly did not represent me.”

Ironically, Mr. Ford says, “Several years ago, I attended a few days of the General Assembly session, and what I saw in those halls brought back those feelings I had as a child — no representation.”

A close-up of this week’s Personality, Reginald D. Ford:

Birth date and place: Feb. 11 in Galveston, Texas.

Current place of residence: In Richmond’s 6th District Downtown.

Education: I’m certified in Personal Banking on Leadership and will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree.

New Year’s resolution: I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. A change or a stance can occur anytime, not just Jan. 1.

How long have you been in the Crusade? LaMar Dixon, the immediate past president, asked me to join the team. I had visited the Crusade off and on for several years. I joined in 2013.