RICHMOND, Va. -- Growing up in Nashville, Tennessee, politics were not a huge topic of discussion in Justin Griffin's home. Instead, the University of Tennessee football team was a constant theme. Everyone on both sides of Justin's family is a Vols fan.
Justin's parents divorced when he was in elementary school, and he lived primarily with his mom who worked as a receptionist and a homemaker while raising him and his older brother.
Their father remained very active in their lives, and he worked first as a manager at a Food Lion, and then at a Tyson meatpacking plant.
The family was solidly middle class, and Justin's wife, Alexandra, describes their neighborhood as filled with "standard middle-class ranch houses built in the 60s."
It was Justin's dad who really encouraged him and his brother to pursue an education that would offer opportunities.
Alexandra said Justin "floated from crew to crew" at John B Overton High School, which she said is an extremely diverse public school in the City of Nashville.
Justin ended up getting an accounting degree at UT, and then going on to law school at the University of Richmond.
His wife said he always worked through college and law school, and opted to open his own practice, Virginia Small Business Law, after law school.
Alexandra said her husband truly is an independent thinker and has voted for candidates from both parties over the years.
She said he didn't even start thinking about running for mayor until he looked into the finances behind the Navy Hill project being pushed by Mayor Levar Stoney, and did not like what he saw.
His vocal opposition to the project led to his eventual decision to run for mayor.
Alexandra said she supports her husband's candidacy because "the mayor of Richmond needs to finally be someone who wants to serve Richmond and not use Richmond as a stepping stone for their future political career or the next rung in the ladder."
Justin is 31-years-old and lives in the 4th district with his wife. The couple is expecting their first child.
"I think he is way more genuine than any of the other current candidates," Alexandra Griffin said. "Than any of the other mayors we've had in recent history."
When the race is over, and COVID-19 has passed, Alexandra said her husband hopes to start back up his favorite hobby: bowling.