Cleon Long is a candidate for Newport News City Council. His name will appear on the ballot on Nov. 8, 2022.
10 On Your Side reached out to all of the candidates running in this race. If you do not see the candidate listed with a profile, we did not receive one.
See who is on your ballot by viewing the candidate lists on the Virginia Department of Elections website.
Name: Cleon Long
Race: Newport News City Council
Website: Cleon Long for Newport News City Council
Biography: Cleon Long is a native of Newport News and a proud product of the Newport News Public School System. As a youth, he volunteered with various organizations such as St. Francis Nursing Home, tutoring students in the local Newport News schools, serving on the Newport News Superintendent’s Education Advisory Group, as well as being involved with the Mayor’s Youth Commission, and the Youth Task Force for the Newport News City Planning Commission.
After graduating high school, he went on to attend college in Atlanta, receiving a B.S. in general science from Morehouse College and a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology. Upon graduating from college, Long decided to return back to his hometown in 2004. In 2011, Long obtained a Professional Engineering License. He is currently an engineer with Huntington Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding.
Long has served on the Newport News Commission on Youth and Newport News Planning Commission. Currently, he serves on the Newport News Board of Zoning Appeals, Board of Trustees with the Virginia Living Museum, Board of Directors for Boys and Girls Club of Virginia Peninsula, Board of Directors Smart Beginnings Virginia Peninsula, is a member of the Warwick Rotary Club at City Center and volunteers with ministries within his church.
Why should residents elect you to City Council?
I am running for the citizens of the city. I want to not only strengthen our families, but our communities. As an engineer, I know about finding solutions to complicated problems. My vision is to build a safe city where schools, businesses, parks, and neighborhoods blend together in a cohesive way.
What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?
If elected, my focus is on:
- Gun violence prevention
- Public education
- Economic justice
What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?
The most pressing economic issue facing our community is building up our current workforce. Students should have the opportunities to prepare not only for traditional higher education degrees but also for well-paying vocational options at the post-secondary level.
What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?
Our community’s biggest infrastructure need is the renovation of school buildings. We need to take advantage of the new bill passed for school construction loans and grants being offered by the state, working with our community partners, state legislators, and our school board.
How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?
Citizens do not feel safe with the recent increase in gun violence. Conditions of poverty are the leading causes of criminal activity. We must improve housing options, access to education, and employment opportunities for everyone in our community. We also must adequately address mental health.
My goals include:
- Restart the Summer Training Enrichment Program (STEP) as a public-private partnership to offer summer internships for at-risk students and a pre-employment program for graduating seniors in at-risk areas to give them a future other than violence.
- Funding more school counselors in NNPS to address undiagnosed conditions that students struggle with.
- Improve and expand the No-Cost Rental Inspection Program throughout the city to ensure every tenant in Newport News has sustainable living arrangements.