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Mayor Kenny Wright represents the best of Portsmouth.

Wright was born and raised in Portsmouth. He's an engineer by training and runs Wright's Engineering in the city. He was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High and the engineering technology program at Old Dominion University, and his list of accomplishments runs for pages.

He focuses on the future in a city where too many politicians waste time refighting old battles.

He believes in Portsmouth's possibilities, in a city where too many politicians fret about any change.

He unites disparate constituencies in a city where too many politicians exploit differences.

He believes in regional cooperation in a city where that goal has been consistently ignored.

After two years in office, Wright has made it abundantly clear that he was the right choice in the 2010 election.

He's the right choice in 2012.

Wright faces Vice Mayor Charles Whitehurst, who seems eager to bring the acrimony of the City Council table to the ballot box. Portsmouth voters - after years of division and difficulty among the city's elected officials - should see through that.

Anyone who attended Wright's state of the city address this year knows that there is nothing more important to the mayor than the state of the city's schools. It's a critical priority in a city where the schools have long suffered from dismal test scores and an abysmal graduation rate.

He has done more than talk about the schools. Wright and his business have been deeply involved in the education of the city's children. He has been chairman of the Portsmouth Schools Foundation and helped build its model Starbase Victory robotics program.

Beyond the city, Wright has raised Portsmouth's profile across the region. When elected officials all around him were cowering, Wright stood up to state officials who wanted to divide the region with crippling tolls at the Midtown and Downtown tunnels.

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Published on: November 1, 2012