© 2024 WHRO Public Media
5200 Hampton Boulevard, Norfolk VA 23508
757.889.9400 | info@whro.org
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Former fire chief wins special Virginia Beach council special election

Photo courtesy - David Hutcheson for City Council via Facebook
Photo courtesy - David Hutcheson for City Council via Facebook


Former fire chief wins special Virginia Beach council special election

Former Virginia Beach Fire Chief David Hutcheson won a special Virginia Beach City Council Tuesday election to represent the Kempsville area of the city, according to unofficial election results.

Hutcheson said before the election his main focus as a City Council member will be to make the city affordable and attractive so residents can stay – especially younger ones.

“That’s the key,” he said. “Have it so that your young people want to stay here and live here and work here until they grow old.”

A big part of that, Hutcheson said, is affordability.

Some of Virginia Beach’s major events and ongoing projects – transatlantic cable installation, summer music festivals and commercial districts like the Oceanfront and Town Center – should be maintained as a way to ultimately make it easier for people to live in the city without changing their tax bills, he said.

“We have to keep all that going so that we can increase our revenue,” said Hutcheson, who managed the fire department’s budget to some degree for 12 years as a chief or other ranking department member.

“We have to do that kind of stuff so that we can increase our budget without increasing taxes.”

Hutcheson’s focus on affordability also takes a sharper look at educator salaries in the city. While the City Council doesn’t determine how teachers are paid, they do provide funding to the school system, which includes local supplements to the state funding for teacher salaries.

“They have a hard time making ends meet. They have to take second jobs. They're doing UberEats and stuff like that at night. You know, they're trying to make it so they can afford to live in the city. That's just really rough sailing in my mind,” he said.

Hutcheson, an avid cyclist, said he’s also excited about the opportunity to highlight Virginia Beach’s natural and unique features.

Virginia Beach recently received a $14.9 million federal grant to support the first phase of a bike trail that will connect to a 41-mile regional trail.

That improves quality of life, Hutcheson said, and can create economic opportunity as businesses crop up along the trail.

A swearing-in ceremony hasn’t been set yet.

All Virginia Beach voters will elect a new mayor in November, alongside an at-large City Council representative. Voters in districts 3, 5 and 7 will elect council representatives.

Mechelle is News Director at WHRO. She helped launch the newsroom as a reporter in 2020. She's worked in newspapers and nonprofit news in her career. Mechelle lives in Virginia Beach, where she grew up.

The world changes fast.

Keep up with daily local news from WHRO. Get local news every weekday in your inbox.

Sign-up here.