We will choose three council members – one for each superward and the mayor – with a fourth member coming shortly in a special election. That is exactly half of the council. If all four a new faces, we could see quite a different direction for our city.
What makes this opportunity different – after all, we have the five small wards on the ballot in two years – is that we finally have competitive contests. That’s not the norm for us; usually, we have races that are either nominally contested or not contested at all. I am grateful that more are stepping up to offer their services to us.
I’m not a fan of term limits. I believe that power rightfully belongs in the hands of the voters. By casting our ballots, we are the ones that decide when it is time to go. Of course, we only have that power when there are alternatives.
Which is why I’m disappointed that more candidates didn’t jump into the school board contests. Voters overwhelmingly supported an elected school board. For this first election, I had hoped to see a number of candidates for each of the two seats on the ballot. That didn’t happen, something I attribute to the process – electing school board members by ward instead of at-large or some combination – as well as the timing. Perhaps we will see more candidates in two years.
I’ve lived in Norfolk for nearly 38 years. If I’ve learned nothing else, it is that change comes very slowly here. For our city council, we have an opportunity today. I believe our choice is a rather simple one.
We can vote to stay the course, electing those who will maintain the status quo by continuing the same policies of the past. Or we can vote to alter the course, electing those who look forward to our future.
I’m voting for the latter. I recognize that this is not wholesale change in the way our city operates – after all, we aren’t changing the other half of council yet – but it does bring some new voices and perspectives to our council. I believe that is what Norfolk needs.
The candidates (as their names appear on the ballot):
- Kenneth Cooper Alexander
- Robert J. McCabe
- Andy A. Protogyrou
For council, Superward 6:
- Andria P. McClellan
- Warren A. Stewart
- Barclay C. Winn*
For council, Superward 7:
- Harry David Candela
- G.W. “Billy” Cook, Jr.
- Angelia Williams Graves*
- Kendrick J. Turner
For School Board, Superward 6:
- Noelle M. Gabriel*
- Carter C. Smith
For School Board, Superward 7:
- Rodney A. Jordan*
* – incumbent. For school board, these are appointed members who are running.