David Jenkins is a candidate for Newport News Mayor. 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 a 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: David Jenkins

Race: Newport News Mayor

Website: Dave Jenkins for Newport News Mayor

Biography: Dave Jenkins is a fourth generation citizen of Newport News. His family has lived in Newport News since 1882, when his great grandfather opened one of the first grocery stores in the small village the city was then.

Jenkins grew up in Newport News, in the Hidenwood area, where his dad bought a home in 1964, after retiring from the U.S. Air Force. After retirement his father was a deputy city treasurer for Newport News, and Jenkins grew up with stories of Newport News around the dinner table.

Jenkins attended local schools (Trinity Lutheran, Hidenwood Elementary, Paul Laurence Dunbar) and graduated from Central Baptist High School in Hampton.

After graduating from the College of William and Mary, he served his country as a U.S. Army officer in the Medical Service Corps. He is a Desert Storm veteran who served with 1st Cavalry Division, and as a former major, he knows how to set priorities and accomplish goals. During his 5 years in West Germany with the 3rd Infantry Division, Jenkins was a platoon leader, a company executive officer, commander, and on staff at the battalion, brigade and division levels. He ran the Expert Field Medical Badge test for two years. As a company commander at the Academy of Health Sciences (the largest medical training facility in the world), he was the commanding officer for thousands of soldiers in training to become Army medics. After leaving the military in Texas, he worked in affordable homebuilding for 16 years, helping families build and finance their dream homes. This gave him experience working with local, state and federal government agencies.

Jenkins was first elected to the Newport News City Council in May of 2018, and currently represents the Central District of the city.

He currently serves as a Newport News City councilman, as the vice chair of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, as a board member of the Hampton Roads Community Action Program, as a board member of the Peninsula Safety Action Program and as a member of the Peninsula Agency of Aging’s Advisory Council.

Jenkins has been married for 36 years to his wife Linda (who is also a former Army Medical Service Corps officer and Desert Storm veteran, as well). He enjoys reading, restoring furniture and oil painting. He has had a lifelong interest in government and history.

Why should residents elect you to be mayor?

Since my election four years ago I have worked for positive change in our city. I have fought for increased funding for public schools and to rebuild Huntington Middle School. I have worked to fight gun violence by supporting grassroots organizations working with young people. I have supported offshore wind energy in Virginia, which could become $1.2 billion industry in Hampton Roads — with jobs and economic growth. I have fought for city council work sessions to be aired and recorded for citizens. I have worked with the city manager to get grant money to fight flooding in our city. I have fought for business against ordinances and zoning which were stopping entrepreneurs. I got the “under study” designation off of Riverview Farm Park to keep it a park for our citizens. I stood for for religious diversity, allowing faith leaders to give invocations at city council meetings. I have brought new ideas from other areas to Newport News, like the small business incubator at 25&J and the new early childhood development center in the Southeast Community.

With track record of making good things happen in our city and fighting for things that benefit our citizens, I want to continue the work I began with you.

What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?

Fighting gun violence, supporting our schools, and supporting business.

What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?

Poverty. To address this problem we have to attract more businesses to Newport News. This means having a city businesses want to come to and be identified with — a city with great schools, public parks, vibrant culture, thriving small businesses, safe neighborhoods, and a commitment to forward thinking environmental policies. We have to create good paying jobs, support small business growth, and support local entrepreneurs. We have to make Newport News an easy city to do business in and continue our commitment to workforce development. We have to establish our “brand” within the “757,” the Commonwealth of Virginia, and nationwide.

What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?

Schools. The average age of the 41 schools in the Newport News Public School System is 54 years, and in the last 32 years the city has only built eight new schools. Currently there is over $200 million in deferred maintenance needed in our public school system. Obviously this cannot be corrected overnight. I would propose working with the city council to create a firm commitment to school maintenance in the city’s five-year Capital Improvement Plan. Currently with our five-year plan, the first year is the only year which is a firm commitment. The remaining four years are simply a projection and often projects included for school maintenance have been continuous pushed back year after year. This is what caused the closing of Huntington Middle School and has the possibility of creating future school closures, if not corrected. Newport News is not unique in our problem with aging schools. It is a statewide problem and as mayor I will push for state funding assistance for our schools. As a councilman, I have already spoken with members of the Virginia General Assembly to make this a priority in Richmond.

How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?

Gun violence impacts our community in many ways. There is the tragedy of sons, daughters, fathers, and mothers lost to their family and friends because of their untimely death as the victims of gun violence. There is also the tragedy of shooters, who have thrown away their lives, sometimes in the heat of a moment’s anger or frustration. There is the fear and desire for revenge by survivors and their families. Fear isolates people. They worry about shopping, walking around their neighborhood or allowing their children to play outside. Some victims have actually been shot through the walls of their home, so they cannot feel safe even there. Gun violence prevents people from moving to our city or even visiting our city. Gun violence lowers home values and keeps businesses from coming to Newport News.

As a designated “gun sense” candidate by Moms Demand Action, I believe in evidence-based solutions. Last December, I pushed for a city grant program to support grassroots organizations working in our community to fight gun violence in a number of ways — mentorship, education, counseling, and youth activities. This summer we created the program and funded 19 nonprofit organizations with $1.7 million to expand their programs. I support the continuation of a partnership with grassroots organizations.

I also supported the deployment of the Shot Spotter program in our South District three years ago and the recent expansion of the program in the North District. Prior to COVID, the largest reduction in gun violence occurred in the area where Shot Spotter was deployed. Additionally, I think that the expansion of mental health services will have an impact, as we have done with the Care 1 program and increased local funding for mental health treatment. I also think our emphasis on early childhood development will help reduce gun violence. The work that Police Chief Steve Drew has done in creating good community relationships will help. Improved school security also must be a priority. Gun violence does not have one cause, and it will not be reduced with one solution. We must continue to learn from other cities across the country.

Do you have a plan to address parking and traffic near Newport News Shipbuilding?

At this point I do not have a plan to address this problem. I have met with several business leaders in the area and Newport News Shipbuilding, but those meetings have not resulted in an effective plan or solution. I look forward to working with the community and city staff to develop a plan. Parking and traffic near Newport News Shipbuilding has a major impact on businesses and residents in downtown.