NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) – Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones hosted his first town hall Thursday since being elected as dozens came out to Denbigh Community Center to voice their concerns about numerous issues.
For two hours, people from all over the community had the opportunity to talk with not just the mayor but leaders from all sectors of the city.
School safety and discipline were hot topics during the town hall following the Jan. 6 shooting at Richneck Elementary School.
An education major at Christopher Newport University addressed the audience and Jones, explaining how news of the shooting made her question her career path.
“I don’t think that I should have to choose between the passion that I’ve developed for teaching the future leaders of tomorrow, or survival, and I don’t think I should have to make that choice every day for a salary that isn’t worth it,” the future teacher said.
Others brought up concerns with Dominion Energy and what they called astronomical electric bills.
“It was $495.41. I’m one person and I was gone at least five days in December,” said Newport News resident Ida Adams.
Some brought up a lack of programs and activities for the city’s youth.
“There’s a lot of things going on in the outdoors,” said a retired Newport News Public Schools science teacher. “We just have to bring kids to the outdoors,”
Jones, along with city council, members of the school board and law enforcement, listened to everyone who spoke while creating a list of areas to improve. He hopes to hold regular town hall meetings either every month or every quarter.
“I think we’ve identified a lot of pinpoints that are happening in the city,” Jones said. “There is so much talent in the city and I really think it’s going to take all of us.”