Norfolk City Council Ward 5: Candidates spotlight

Thomas “Tommy” Richard Smigiel, Jr.

Age: 43

Occupation: Principal, Granby High School, Norfolk Public Schools

Previous office held, if any: Elected to Norfolk City Council, Ward 5, 2010

Education: Old Dominion University, bachelor of science in interdisciplinary studies, middle school science and social studies, 2000; Cambridge College, master’s degree, in school administration and supervision, 2005; Walden University, educational specialist degree, 2020

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

I have a very strong record of fighting for Ward 5. There are many examples of my proven leadership including securing millions to complete Bay Oaks Park, updating Community Beach, investments in infrastructure projects, and commitment to bringing businesses to our neighborhoods. I have an impeccable attendance record at council meetings – meaning Ward 5 always has a strong voice in decisions that impact us. My years of experience have allowed me to become an expert on how to navigate the bureaucratic processes of city government. I make it a priority to keep my community updated in real time on social media. My civic leagues know me, and I’m active on social media which helps me keep a pulse on our community and guides me when making decisions. As a dedicated educator, and parent of three children, I remain focused and care deeply about the future of our whole city.

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

My top priority is public safety. We continue to see headlines highlighting violent crimes in our communities and country. The post-pandemic surge of violence is something each city is trying to control, while finding innovative solutions to enhance public safety in our neighborhoods. Having been a victim of a crime, I am sensitive to understanding the impact on our citizens. Norfolk has continued to increase funding for our first responders. I championed retention bonuses for our police and increased funding for public safety including pay increases of over 10% for police, fire, and sheriff deputies. I have been endorsed by Sheriff Joe Baron because of my commitment to public safety. I support continued investment in new technologies such as license plate readers, and state of the art surveillance systems to deter criminals. I support increased funding for more community policing, as well as prevention measures including mental health and trauma-informed care.


Shurl Montgomery

Age: 77

Occupation: Retired CEO, Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority

Previous office held: None

Education: Brigham Young University: master of arts in recreation management, 1984. Fairmont State University, bachelor of science in recreation, 1971; University of Virginia, senior executive institute certificate, 1990.

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

I’ve served Norfolk for 14 years as Assistant City Manager, 10 years as the Director of Parks and Recreation, and 11 years as CEO and Executive Director of the NRHA. I served as liaison to numerous agencies, organizations, task forces and the United States Navy. I have also served on over 19 citizen organizations and committees, including Vice President of the East Beach Homeowners Association, member of the East Ocean View Civic League, and a board member of Festevents. I have exhibited strong leadership abilities throughout my career and have been very effective in community engagement. I understand city government and how to make the bureaucracy work for people. I also have been impatient seeing our neighborhoods be neglected while the city directs more money to expensive projects like arenas while 200+ vacancies exist in our police force. My skill set and priorities are right for Ward 5.

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

My top priority is ending the scourge of shootings and crime that is destroying Norfolk. I can hardly go a day without the top story in the news being another shooting in Norfolk. Last year was a record year in fatal shootings in Norfolk and this year is well on its way to topping that record. Not only do these tragic crimes cost lives and strike fear in innocent Norfolk residents, but it is ruining our reputation regionally, statewide and nationally. Jobs and businesses will flee and not return. When a Councilman admits he doesn’t know what to do, it’s time for change. 200+ police vacancies will not be filled until we become a city that values law enforcement and stops excusing criminal behavior. I will bring that morale boost to our police force and make Norfolk a city that can compete for well-trained law enforcement talent.