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7 candidates vying for Hampton City Council seats, including special election

In Hampton, there are four city council seats up for for a vote in November.

HAMPTON, Va. — Seven candidates are vying for spots on Hampton City Council.

Four seats are up for grabs, including a special election.

The battle for three of those spots includes a pair of incumbents: Councilman Steve Brown and Vice-Mayor Jimmy Gray. The others hoping for seats are U.S. Army contractor Marlin Manley, Navy veteran Christopher Mathews, and former state Delegate and Hampton City Schools Board member Martha Mugler.

Running for the other seat are Randy Bowman and Hope Harper, both natives of Hampton.

“I have always had a passion for Hampton and for giving back," said Bowman, who owns a restaurant. 

They’re running in a special election for the seat currently held by interim Councilmember Michelle Ferebee, who was appointed in 2021.

“And I think it is very important to continue to have our voices heard, that we are at the table and that we are represented," said Harper. 

If elected, Harper would be the only Black woman on Hampton City Council. 

Harper, a member of multiple boards and community groups, wants to push for economic growth, healthy neighborhoods, citizen engagement and public safety.

“We need to continue to support our youth," she said. "We need to continue to support them in resources, services and organizations that support our youth. We need to support the neighborhood associations."  

Harper said she got her first taste of local government working as a student worker for city council at the age of 15.   

Bowman said his ideas to reduce crime include helping people who get out of prison and more mental health resources.

“We need to make sure we embrace people when they come out of prison and have a second chance system because if we don’t, those people are going to end up back incarcerated and it won’t reduce crime," he said. 

As a business owner, he said Hampton must also prioritize economic growth.

“I would encourage small business incubators to train people where to go, what to look for, and how to apply for loans,” he said. 

Both candidates said they are encouraged by the efforts of Hampton Police Chief Mark Talbot and emphasized the importance of community engagement. 

The winner of the Hampton special election will serve the remaining two years of that seat.

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