LAWRENCEVILLE – LaWanda Vincent Tatum is running for Mayor of Lawrenceville and believes strongly in unity, family and commitment.
“I am running for Mayor to bring creativity and restoration and life to our town. I’m running to bring healing and hope to a community that still struggles with poverty, racism, poor living conditions and poor quality of life,” Tatum stated. “I was born, raised and educated right here in Lawrenceville. I moved away for a little while to attend college but returned home and completed my education at SVCC. I love my little town and it reminds me of something from a Hallmark movie.”
Tatum remembers a different Lawrenceville from what we see today.
“I remember how this town used to be and coming to town of Saturday was a big deal and between the 2 grocery stores, the 2 Five and Dime stores and Peebles you saw everyone! Town was a place to shop, socialize and fellowship with each other. Everyone was a friend or family – you never met a stranger,” Tatum stated. “As I take my walks through town now my heart breaks as I see all of the empty buildings and it appears that hope eludes us be deep down in my soul I embody hope for this community. There has been a lot of coming and going in downtown Lawrenceville and we need people committed to building our town up.”
Tatum considers herself a visionary and one of the hardest things for a visionary is to see what can be but you continue to wake up to what is. She shared an example.
“I would love to see a family style restaurant in downtown Lawrenceville where you can have live entertainment on any given night of the week. When the schools have ballgames the restaurant can have Russell Middle School Night, Brunswick Academy Night or Brunswick High School Night and a portion of the proceeds go to support special events for the school. I would live to see stores and specialty shops and affordable apartments in Lawrenceville. I want to see our residents healthy, thriving and whole. I want to see more events for families and children downtown,” Tatum stated.
Tatum said Jazz on the Square was an amazing event but it should not be the only musical event or entertainment in downtown Lawrenceville. She would like to see Outdoor Art Shows, Food Truck Weekends and some sort of festival for our young people with music, food, and fun. She would like to see a Business After Hours event where once or twice a year businesses are open later so that the community can come in and talk to the business owners and find out more about what they offer.
“A lot of people work outside of the county and if you don’t get home until 5 or 5:30 once you get to town most of the businesses are closed. I want to see our dollars circulating in our community but most of all I would love to see a sense of unity, family and pride restored back in our community and I want to see growth,” Tatum said.
Tatum said she has been committed to bringing change to her community and has proven that amazing things can happen in downtown Lawrenceville.
“Between May of 2021 and September of 2021 we had over 20 events from 207 Main Street. In four months, we hosted Popup Shopping, health events, fitness events, book signing, workshops, books and clothes give aways and beyond the four months we provided a Diaper Bank, Paint the Town Proud Unity Event for the Class of 2020, 2 toy drives and Books Bunnies and Bottoms where we gave away books, bunnies and diapers and pull-ups for Easter. We know all of these things can be done and being may would allow me to support doing them on a greater scale,” Tatum stated.
Tatum is currently employed with Brunswick County Public Schools as the COVID Testing Coordinator. She is a Model Certified Parent Educator and soon to be National Trainer for Parents as Teachers. She is the owner of The Power of One Family Enrichment and Community Development and is a court appointed Parenting Coach/Facilitator for Brunswick, Greensville, Sussex County Court System and Child Protective Service.
“I have been trained through the University of Maryland to be a State and Federal Advocate. I am a trained mentor and have worked for or with children and families for 34 years but my greatest achievement is being the mom of 3 amazing Life Blessings and grandma to one awesome grandson and soon to be another one in November.
“I love the fact that I am a Phi Theta Kappa graduate from Southside Virginia Community College and I may have the opportunity to be the first African American female Mayor of Lawrenceville, Virginia!” Tatum stated.
LaWanda’s husband is Michael Tatum and her parents are Archie and Minerva Vincent.