Newport News City Council, North District, Seat B: Candidates spotlight

·4 min read

Curtis D. Bethany III

Age: 31

Occupation: HVAC Partner Accountant at Ferguson Enterprises

Previous office held: None listed

Education: Virginia Peninsula Community College, associate’s degree in business administration, 2011; Old Dominion University, bachelor’s degree in business administration with a double major in accounting and finance, 2014; Liberty University, master’s degree in public policy, 2018; Cornell University, business analytics certification, 2022.

What experience do you have that makes you qualified to serve on the City Council?

I’m from Newport News and a proud product of Newport News Public Schools. I’ve served on various boards and commissions in leadership capacities as the youngest member ever appointed. As a board member for Virginia Peninsula Community College we were tasked by the state with renaming and rebranding the college. For the first time in a decade our enrollment has stabilized, and we are trending upward. As Vice-Chair of the Human Rights Commission, I investigated discrimination complaints and always produced meaningful outcomes. I’m committed to serving the citizens whenever and however I can.

Additionally, I will bring a much-needed perspective to the council. The average age of our city council is 65, while the median age of our city is 33 according to the Census Bureau. A healthy and representative balance of perspectives would help our city maximize its potential. Learn more at curtisbethany3.com.

If elected, what would be your top priority and how would you get it done?

If elected my top priorities would include making Denbigh/Uptown a priority for development and investment. The Sherwood Site Master Plan completion will serve as a catalyst for more investment in our district. I will advocate for the completion of the plan and ensure it does not get delayed within the capital improvements plan.

I’d also work on improving our public safety, public education, and economic development by engaging the community in what changes they wish to see, increasing our investments in development and programming we know works, and being bold enough to try new initiatives. I would also like to work on rebranding Newport News to compete economically with other large cities across the commonwealth and country. To do this we will need to restructure and revamp our communications department.

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Willard Maxwell, Jr.

Age: 48

Occupation: Pastor

Previous office held: Newport News Planning Commission

Education: Georgia Southern University, bachelor’s degree in exceptional education, 1997; Interdenominational Theological Center, master’s of divinity in psychology of religion and pastoral care and counseling, 2002; Emory University, pastoral counseling certification, 2001; Jacksonville State University, specialist’s degree in educational leadership and administration, 2004; Argosy University, doctorate degree in educational leadership and administration, 2016.

What experience do you have that makes you qualified to serve on the City Council?

I am a former teacher, administrator and principal. This experience will enable me to curate a better relationship between the school board and city council, this also empowers me to be able to be a liaison between the school system and parents when necessary. I am a volunteer police chaplain and work very closely with the police. I’ve sat on the panel to hire the last three police chiefs for Newport News.

My nonprofit organization, InTouch CDC, partners with the Newport News Police Foundation to create better relations between the police and the community. In fact, we have received a $60,000 grant from the department of justice, because the state of VA recognized that our models helps build police and community relations and deters gun violence. I am a real estate broker and I am currently partnering with organizations to build up the south and north sides of Newport News.

If elected, what would be your top priority and how would you get it done?

My first priority as a city councilman will be to open up lines of communication with all of the city council members, the mayor, and city manager to ensure that we create healthy relationships so that we can more readily work together to create opportunities for our citizens to empower them to generate opportunities and wealth for their families. I also would ensure I continue to work with Chief Drew, Sheriff Morgan, Dr. Parker, the Newport News economic development commission, and other city leaders to ensure we keep our citizens safe and economically healthy.