NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Several people are running for a chance to serve on Newport News City Council.
Three seats. Seven candidates. That’s the situation for Newport News City Council.
No incumbents are running, which means a new face will fill every seat.
School board member John Eley and entrepreneur Yugonda Sample-Jones are going for a seat in the South District.
Cleon Long, Robert Coleman and Stephen Ferguson are all vying for a Central District seat.
And in the North District, are Curtis Bethany III and Dr. Willard Maxwell Jr.
“We are the only campaign that is from Newport News. We are the only campaign that is from the district we’re running in, and we are the only campaign that is a product of Newport News," said Bethany.
As a native of the district, Bethany believes his perspective is needed.
“Uptown has seen the least amount of advocacy and we need somebody from our district that will be a true advocate for our area," he said.
Maxwell, a pastor and former educator, said he wants to see more economic development in the city and improved infrastructure for public schools.
“I believe I definitely will improve the communication and relationship between the school system and city council," said Maxwell.
Both candidates touched on the importance of public safety.
Maxwell said he wants to continue building on relationships between police and the community and provide more opportunities for young people.
“I believe the main thing is having more after-school programs. Some people say you can’t save everybody, but you can save some," said Maxwell.
Gun violence is personal for Bethany, who said his brother was gunned down several years ago. As a product of Newport News Public Schools, he wants to retain and attract talent in the city.
“I will go anywhere. There is nowhere in the city where I don’t feel comfortable going and I think that is one that has been lacking at the decision-making table," said Bethany.
On October 6, 13News Now anchor Janet Roach moderated a forum, including Newport News races for mayor, city council and school board. You can watch the forum by clicking here.