Virginia Beach City Council District 1: Candidates spotlight

·3 min read

Rocky Holcomb

Age: 54

Occupation: Chief Deputy, Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office

Previous office held: House of Delegates, 85th District

Education: Regent University, bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership and management, 2005

What experience do you have that makes you qualified to be a City Council member?

I was honored to be appointed to serve after my friend Councilwoman Jessica Abbott left Council last year, and I would like to continue to advocate for you, using my experience in the House of Delegates, as a Councilmember and in my Law Enforcement career to move us forward. As a Council member, I helped pass a budget that fully funded a flood protection bond referendum without raising tax rates, implemented a new pay plan for first responders and most city employees that attracts and retains the very best, fully funded the schools’ budget with significant pay raises for teachers, and improved our commitment to the arts through the Vibe District, Museum of Contemporary Art and the African American Cultural Center. Honorably discharged from the U.S. Marine Corps and joined the Virginia Beach Sheriff’s Office where I serve today with men and women who help keep Virginia Beach safe.

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

My top priority is a combination of two things that can’t exist without each other: economic growth and public safety. Virginia Beach cannot rest until all of Virginia Beach shares in job growth and economic prosperity and lives in a neighborhood where they feel safe. We are a business-friendly city. I’ve supported bringing high-speed broadband internet cables onshore to Virginia Beach and promoted tech companies moving to or expanding in Virginia Beach, bringing good paying jobs. Companies avoid unsafe cities. We must show that we care about the safety and well-being of our citizens and their property. We invest in our first responders with top notch pay, top notch training, modern technologies and more important our support. Working to make Virginia Beach the very best city in the Commonwealth is my number one priority. One community moving forward and leaving no one behind.


Melissa A. Saarijarvi Peck

Age: 43

Occupation: Currently not employed.

Previous office held: none

Education: University of California, Berkeley, bachelor of arts in political science, 2004; San Jose State University, master’s degree in library and information science, 2022

What experience do you have that makes you qualified to be a City Council member?

The military originally brought my family to Virginia Beach 15 years ago and I have been a small business owner, and an active community volunteer and advocate. As a parent of 4 school-aged children, I have a vested interest in ensuring this city is a place younger generations wish to remain. Additionally, my educational and professional background has prepared me for public service. Librarians rely upon a code of shared ethics and values to help inform their decisions and work tirelessly not only for the common good of their community but to also bolster democracy. I mention all of this as it helps explain the mindset under which I operate in my daily life; I wish to see ethical, information-based decision-making take place and those decisions should be made to serve a common good that can benefit all impacted.

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

The all-encompassing concern of livability is the most important issue facing Virginia Beach. This means providing residents a safe and affordable community to raise our children and grow our businesses. As the cost-of-living rises, we need our City Council to be transparent and fiscally responsible with our tax revenue to ensure it is spent in ways that will have the greatest impact for the residents. I will support initiatives that make Virginia Beach a place that our teachers, city employees, and first responders can afford to live. We need to diversify our economy and reduce red tape to draw in new businesses and create jobs that pay well. Our neighborhoods must be safe for residents and not face recurrent flooding.