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Here are the candidates racing for the Norfolk City Council seats

Three seats are open for Norfolk City Council. Two incumbents in other seats are running unopposed this year.

NORFOLK, Va. — Here are the candidates running for each Ward in the City of Norfolk:

WARD 1: 

  • Martin Thomas Jr. (i)
  • Padraig-Eion Dalrymple

WARD 2: 

  • Courtney Doyle (i)

WARD 3: 

  • Mamie Johnson (i)


  • Erik Barrett
  • Phillip Hawkins Jr.
  • John E. Paige

WARD 5: 

  • Tommy Smigiel (i)
  • Shurl Montgomery

With three seats open on Norfolk City Council, these candidates are racing to fill each position in the final stretch before Election Day.

Long-time Ward Four councilman Paul Riddick decided not to run for re-election this year. Voters first elected him to this seat in 1992.

This leaves Ward Four between three candidates. For life-long Norfolk resident Erik Barrett, this is his first political race.

"There are a lot of great opportunities in Norfolk that are tucked away," said Barrett.

Barrett says he wants to be the type of council member who creates a bridge to the people and creates a better way to inform people about what is happening within their community.

He says one of his goals is to help tackle youth violence by giving the younger community opportunities to express creativity.

"When we're allowing them to have another avenue to express themselves , I think we will start to see a decline in gang violence and the need to feel accepted and other things," said Barrett.

Barrett faces Norfolk Public Schools P. B. Young Sr. Elementary School Assistant Principal Phillip Hawkins Jr. in this race.

"The time is now for Norfolk to elect a leader who is proven and trusted in the community," said Hawkins.

Hawkins says he wants to tackle crime by addressing the shortage of police officers.

"We have to have the support financially to ensure that we are paying our law enforcement the wages and salaries they deserve in terms of attracting and retaining the best and the brightest for law enforcement," Hawkins explained.

The third candidate is U.S. Air Force veteran John E. "JP" Paige.

He wrote to 13News Now, saying his goals are, "to reduce gun violence, improve our education systems, create safer neighborhoods, advance economic development, and increase equity across Ward 4 and all of Norfolk."

When asked about how to reduce gun and youth violence in the community, Paige sent the following response in part:

"I would like to begin to partner with law enforcement to institute programs to recruit more members of our community into law enforcement, establish a training base at the high school level which would allow for those that desire to serve our community in law enforcement similar to the way the military has instilled ROTC programs. Gun violence is a public safety concern as well as a public health concern.

We need real and inclusive dialogue with the community, and it must involve those who have experienced violence, those who have practiced violence and those who have not."

Candidate Shurl Montgomery is coming out of retirement to try to take the seat from long-time councilman Tommy Smigiel, who held the position for 12 years.

Montgomery is the former CEO and Executive Director of the Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority. Prior to that, he worked for the City of Norfolk for 26 years and retired as an Assistant City manager.

He says in addition to affordable housing concerns, another concern that brought him back to the race was how he says city council members handled shutting down city services during the pandemic. 

"It's going to be difficult to return them to prior city services," said Montgomery.
"My idea was why did we make such drastic reductions and lose such valuable employees with not being able to bring them back?"

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Incumbent, Tommy Smigiel, disagreed with Montgomery's statement. He told 13News Now in an interview there were many challenges with anticipating to lose nearly $40 million in the city budget. He says city council members had to make difficult decisions to temporarily shut down services.

Smigiel prides himself on his long-standing term on city council, saying,  "I have represented Ward Five with pride in my heart."

The Norfolk Granby High School Principal says in this year's term, crime is one of his biggest priorities. He says in addition to better wages and benefits for Norfolk Police Officers to enhance recruitment efforts, he believes technology will help crack down on criminals.

"We know there are crimes happening and we're trying to find ways to deal with that. Does it mean better video surveillance and investing in more state-of-the-art technology? We do have that now, but we need more," said Smigiel. "We just got approved by the state to do license plate readers. So, we purchased that equipment to put license plate readers across the city to help catch criminals."

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Vice Mayor Martin Thomas Jr. is trying to keep his seat of 10 years. He is running against Padraig-Eoin Dalrymple.

We reached out to Vice Mayor Thomas, but we did not hear back. 13News Now also reached out to Dalrymple, but he declined an interview, saying every candidate should have a fair voice to be heard.

Councilwomen Courtney Doyle and Mamie Johnson are running unopposed to keep their positions.

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