Election day is next week and there are seven city council seats up for grabs in Virginia Beach.
VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Election day is a week away and there are Seven city council seats up for grabs in Virginia Beach.
Four incumbents are running again for the city council and 20 candidates are running in total.
Rocky Holcomb hopes to reclaim his seat, now named District 1. Last year, Councilwoman Jessica Abbott resigned from her position and city leaders appointed Holcomb as interim.
Holcomb is a chief deputy in the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office and a former state delegate. Holcomb said Virginia Beach is a big, safe city and he wants to help keep it that way. But affordable housing is a big issue for him.
“We need to move the ball down the field and make progress on it so people can live here in Virginia Beach,” Holcomb said. “A lot of times our teachers, our public safety officials, they can’t live in the city where they work.”
Newcomer Melissa Peck also wants the District 1 seat.
Peck is a mother of four and a trained librarian. The biggest problem Peck hopes to solve if elected is also the rising cost of living.
“We need a transparent and fiscally responsible city council with tax revenue,” Peck said. “So I will support initiatives that will have the greatest impact on Virginia Beach residents, whether it’s cutting red tape for businesses or taking action for more affordable housing in Virginia Beach.”
Five candidates are vying for the District 2 seat in Virginia Beach.
Barbara Henley is the incumbent. Michael Mauch, Nanette Miller, Elaine Fekete and Matthias Paul Telkamp hope to overthrow her.
Henley owns Henley Farms in Virginia Beach. She said she wanted to stay on top of the flood projects if re-elected.
“Finally, we have done a lot of work to build knowledge and understanding of the wind tide situation that is causing flooding in the southern part of the city,” Henley said. “And I just want to make sure that we keep pushing those projects forward.”
Virginia Beach Oceanfront restaurant owner Michael Mauch said he raced to make sure his young children had the best town possible when they grew up. Floods are a big problem for him, but the impact of inflation on the community is also on his mind.
“I want to make sure we have any form of inflation relief we can get,” Mauch said. “So taxes, I want to look at taxes and make sure we can keep things low. Inflation hits everyone exactly the same.
Retired US Navy Commander Nanette Miller said she was running to gain more military experience on the city council. Miller said she wanted to make sure city law enforcement officials have all the resources they need. But she is pushing to open lines of communication with city leaders.
“Working together not just as a city council, but with all of the different divisions and departments of the city, to make sure we’re all working together for the common good,” Miller said.
Matthias Paul Telkamp is the owner of an information technology consulting company. Telkamp said he’s showing up to make sure city council members don’t postpone agenda items until the next meeting. He hopes to simplify municipal processes.
“I want to make sure we’re streamlining a lot of the processes,” Telkamp said. “I want to work with the commissioner of revenue and the treasurer to allow businesses to actually be able to do all of their business work with the city through one online platform.”
Elaine Fekete is a part-time real estate agent and vice president of the Sandbridge Civic League. She wants tax relief but says she is always looking for new solutions to the floods.
“The first thing I want to see happen is tax relief,” Fekete said. “I would like to see the surplus income returned to the citizens. The other thing I’d like to do is find and implement the flood solutions specifically for District 2 that are unique and weren’t covered in the bond referendum.
Four candidates are vying for the District 6 seat in Virginia Beach: Linwood’s outgoing branch, Cat Porterfield, Rick Kowalewitch, and Worth Remick.
City leaders named Branch to city council after the resignation of former vice mayor Jim Wood. Branch is a small business owner and hopes to bring city staff back to pre-COVID levels.
“We have a significant compensation package in place and a public safety milestone payment plan, we are trying to staff our police officers and our city employees, get our customer service back to where it needs to be,” said Branch.
Cat Porterfield is an estate agent and said she was coming forward to try to improve communication with the city council.
“There’s kind of a tone that’s bad, and it’s bad in city communications, and it’s bad when you go to a council meeting and see how people are addressed when they come in front. the board,” Porterfield said. “And I feel like if we can change that tone, if we can learn to communicate better with each other, there’s so much we can do in Virginia Beach.”
Former surf shop owner and independent home builder Rick Kowalewitch said he wanted to help fully staff the police department and focus on flooding in the city.
“The dangerous part is the rainwater; we are one storm away from disaster,” Kowalewitch said. “A storm could happen tonight, and we neglected it for a long time, and it should never have happened because we have the money.”
Worth Remick is a Hampton Roads native and a real estate consultant. He wants to focus on public safety, tax relief and transparency.
“More transparency, more level playing field, like it is with city projects on city property,” Remick said. “Whether by the ocean or in other parts of the city, more transparency.”
Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond wants to take the District 4 seat and is running unopposed. She is a former Virginia Beach councilman and current president of the Virginia African American Cultural Center. She runs to make life better for every family in Virginia Beach.
On Tuesday, 13News Now will interview City Council candidates for Districts 8, 9 and 10.