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Virginia Beach Councilwoman Jessica Abbott resigns

Councilwoman Jessica Abbott said health concerns have surfaced and she needs to take time and focus on her health.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — Virginia Beach Councilwoman Jessica Abbott announced her resignation on Friday, citing health concerns that recently surfaced. 

Abbott represented the Kempsville District when she was elected four years ago at the age of 27. 

"I want to express my deepest appreciation to the people of this fantastic city for the opportunity to be their representative," she said in a statement. "It's not an honor I took lightly or a job I took without expecting to give it 100%. Unfortunately, some health concerns have recently surfaced. I'm not going to offer details other than to say, I must take some time to focus on my health and well-being."

Abbott is the youngest candidate and first-ever millennial elected in the city. And not only that, when she was re-elected in November 2020, she received the most votes ever for a contested city council race. 

The city said she took on a leadership role with crafting and brokering support for the city's budget and worked to ensure flexible budgets that didn't raise taxes or fees. 

The councilwoman said she ran to be the Kempsville representative because she loves Virginia Beach and the Kempsville District. 

She said the area deserves a representative who can be 100% focused on the city's needs and that's not something she can do right now. 

Abbott is a small business owner, wife of a Virginia Beach teacher, and mother of two. She was "motivated by improving the city’s livability for families of all income levels and championed fiscal responsibility."

"Working for the great people of this city has been an honor and a privilege that I will always cherish. I want to thank the City staff who have always lent their knowledge and aid to me, my colleagues on Council, who have shared their insight and experiences with me, and the residents who keep me informed, enlightened, and amazed by their perseverance and resilience," said Abbott. 

According to the city, she successfully advocated for the city to pursue a RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) federal grant for funding the westernmost three miles of the Norfolk-Southern right-of-way into an urban trail. 

You can read her full statement below. 

It is with deep sadness that I announce my resignation from the Virginia Beach City Council effective immediately. I want to express my deepest sincerity to the people of this fantastic city for the opportunity you bestowed upon me to be your representative. Unfortunately, due to recent health events, I must take some time to focus on my health and well-being.

In 2016 I ran to be the Kempsville representative because I love Virginia Beach, and I love The Kempsville District. Public service is always about putting your community first. Virginia Beach and Kempsville deserve a representative who can be 100% focused on the city's needs. Regrettably, that is not something I can do right now. My decision to resign weighs heavily on my heart, but my health and family deserve my full attention. 

My time as a Councilmember has been a tremendous learning experience. Working for the great people of this city has been an honor and a privilege that I will always cherish. I want to thank the City staff who have always lended their knowledge and aid to me, my colleagues on Council who have shared their insight and experiences with me, and the residents who keep me informed, enlightened, and amazed by their perseverance and resilience. 

Kempsville and Virginia Beach face many challenges, but I believe we have an incredible future ahead of us as well. I am hopeful that one day I may be able to return and earn the opportunity to serve our city again. But, until then, I hope that Council will utilize this time to appoint someone who will be dedicated to serving the people of Virginia Beach to fill the Kempsville seat temporarily, as well as schedule a special election this November so that the Kempsville District remains represented and reflective of this unique community.

Everyone - thank you so much for this opportunity.