SUFFOLK, Va. — Suffolk voters will see more than half of the city’s council seats on the ballot this election cycle, even though only two are actually contested contests.
Here are the city council seats, by borough, on voter ballots this November:
- *Shelley S. Butler-Barlow
- Patrick L. Bales
- John M. Anderson
- *Leroy Bennett
- Wallace Johnson
- Timothy Johnson
- John Rector
In a phone interview with 13News Now, Suffolk Mayor Michael Duman said the city's biggest issues for whoever's elected will be transportation and land use issues across the city's 430 square miles.
"Do we want to take a piece of land and convert it into a business designation? How much growth do we want to allow? What kind of growth? Where do we want to allow it and to what extent? Our citizens are concerned about maintaining the character of the city," he said.
The candidates range from long-standing elected officials to political newcomers.
"This is my first time running," Wallace Johnson said. "I’m not a politician.”
Johnson, who came to Suffolk at 5 years old, decided to throw his hat in the political ring after attending recent city council meetings.
"We’re not in a good place as it relates to our youth. Nothing at all to do or nowhere to go," he said.
His challenger, Bennett, has served on Suffolk City Council since 1996.
"We've really worked to increase our economic development, improve schools and public safety," Bennett said. "I'm pleased to have been part of that."
The Suffolk borough was supposed to be another contested city council seat this November, but the city’s electoral board took candidate Arthur Bredemeyer off the ballot after complaints of forged petition signatures.
More than 2,700 people voted in the city of Suffolk as of Wednesday.