Virginia Beach is a great city to call home. We’ve got a lot to be proud of. Great schools, great parks, great recreation, great jobs and great environment – that’s a lot of great things about a great city.
Forbes listed us as one of America’s Hardest Working Cities. We’ve also been named one of the Best Cities for Business, with our Parks System in the Top 10, 2nd Best for Small Business and the 6th Happiest City in America. Virginia Beach was also named 2nd Best City for Raising a Family and the Number 1 Best Managed City in America
As much as we have accomplished, we should strive to be even greater by making sure our city is a Virginia Beach for everyone.
Light Rail – Light rail could be an important part of a new investment in transportation and mobility in Virginia Beach. Light rail could also be too expensive with too few riders, at least in the short term. The state has offered to pay for $155 million dollars toward a light rail system. I offered and supported efforts to place a light rail referendum on the ballot. A referendum is on the ballot in November, and I will support the will of the voters. I have also supported budgets that direct significant dollars for roads that help ease congestion throughout the city.
Education – As a member of Council, I have voted to fully fund our schools and teachers. I’ve voted for every dollar of every School Board request. If we want the best teachers, we must not only have the most competitive compensation, but we also must continue to have a professional school system staff and administration so teachers can do what they do best: teach. Our children deserve every opportunity to excel, and I commit to continue that mission on City Council.
Jobs – Two years ago, I ran on a pledge to help protect and expand jobs in Virginia Beach. Since then, 64 businesses expanded, while another 28 new companies opened. Together, they added 3,020 new jobs, helped retain 2,944 jobs, invested more than $440 million in capital improvements occupying nearly 2,000,000 square feet of new commercial space.
We are ready to expand even more.
I’ve supported efforts to attract biomedical jobs by creating a biomedical park in the southern part of the city and worked to expand the high speed broadband internet access that hi-tech companies require to locate here.
I stay committed and connected to job growth through my weekly Workplace Wednesday meetings with local businesses. I’ve also worked to keep the cost of doing business as low as possible in Virginia Beach to help attract good paying jobs from strong companies looking for a city with great schools, safe neighborhoods and a pro-business city government.
Quality of Life – We know Virginia Beach is a world-class resort. We need to make sure our resort area is welcoming and attractive for everyone, including Virginia Beach residents. Inadequate parking and overwhelming traffic can make many events seem off-limits to Virginia Beach residents who would like to enjoy them. From Town Center to the Amphitheater to the Oceanfront, there is a lot to do in Virginia Beach and we need to work harder to make sure everyone can enjoy them.
Safety - An unsafe city will lose jobs and companies, will have failing schools and begin a downward spiral that cities frequently can’t combat. As a member of Council, I have voted for significant investments in our public safety professionals to make sure we prevent that. I have supported both investments in salaries to help eliminate decades-long salary compression, and also funding for police camera technology. Our police, fire and rescue personnel must have the training and compensation to make sure we retain our great uniformed professionals and they keep Virginia Beach the safest city of its size in America.
Service – We all understand that some of our fellow citizens have special situations and conditions which deserve our attention. We have an active community of volunteers and activists, but the price of cutbacks on our city and state services for those with special challenges is started to show. We must review services that we offer through the city and make sure they are funded adequately to complete the missions we task of them. Virginia Beach is a city for everyone, and it should remain so.