Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond is a candidate for Virginia Beach City Council. Her 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: Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond
Race: Virginia Beach City Council
Biography: Hon. Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, former councilwoman for the city of Virginia Beach, is the founder and chairman of the Virginia African American Cultural Center, Inc. (VAACC). She holds a Ph.D. in educational leadership and instructions and a minor degree in ethnomusicology form the University of Denver. Originally from West Africa, she has been a resident of Virginia Beach for over 20 years and is a graduate of the Sorenson Institute for Political Leadership program, from the University of Virginia, and retired from Norfolk State University as distinguished professor emerita.
Politically, she has received several Gubernatorial appointments, served on City Council, and currently serves on the Hampton Roads Transit Commission. She also chairs the Mayor’s IDEA Commission for Inclusion Diversity, Equity, and Accessibility.
A servant leader in the community, Ross-Hammond has served on multiple boards including chair of the United Way of South Hampton Roads Minority Advisory Council, board member of the Elizabeth River Project, and president Emerita of Arts for Learning, Virginia. She is the immediate past president of the Virginia Beach Beautification Commission; secretary, of the Vibe Creative District, board member of the Hospice House of Hampton Roads, and is a founding member of the Hampton Roads Community Foundation Visionaries for Change.
Under her leadership, the VAACC recently received a $1 million grant from the Virginia General Assembly though the Virginia Tourism Corporation to expand its current educational activities by providing African American historical and cultural programs across the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Ross-Hammond is the recipient of numerous awards including Mayor Meyera E. Oberndorf Achievement in Government plaque from the Human Rights Commission, the “Impacting Lives Award” from by the New Journal and Guide, and in 2019, Rep. Elaine Luria read a letter of commendation for her community service during a congressional session at the U.S. Capitol which is placed in the Congressional records.
She is the proud mother of one adult son, Anwar.
Why should residents elect you to City Council?
I am running for City Council to address certain issues with my colleagues on council that directly impact our city, especially District 4. This is one of three new majority-minority districts, and District 4 has 58.5 minority population, which includes me.
I am also a former council member and bring intellectual knowledge to the table. As a graduate fellow of the University of Virginia’s Sorenson Political Leadership and candidate training prepared me to be an active listener, a servant leader, and a consensus builder.
I have lived in this district since 1990 and call this area my home. I am ready to advocate for a critical issue that matters to this community This is the place I have raised my family, and now it is the place my family calls home. I have dedicated my adult life to serving this community because I know that we are capable of so much more. We live in a one-of-a-kind multi-generational community. Together, I know that we can build a city that lifts everyone up.
What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?
My top three priorities I would tackle are:
- To fully fund out public schools, pay our teachers fairly, and replace our aging school buildings. The shortage of teachers because of the need for more competitive pay scales impacts instructions and learning. We need ESL and bilingual teachers because this district has a fast-growing, non-English speaking community with little accessibility to educational after school centers where they can learn social and mentoring skills, which will help their acculturation process. The public schools consult survey shows that 10 schools need to be rebuilt and/or refurbished, including the Bayside Elementary and six grade campuses, which are in District 4. These buildings re over their 50 year shelf-life usage and this could result in serious health and working environmental issues.
- To train our workforce for high-paying jobs in advanced manufacturing, technology, STEM, and green energy working opportunities. We also want to preserve our military presence which bolter our workforce. After their deployment or retirement, there may be a need for workforce development for these veterans and their wives to transition into civilian life.
- To address public transportation, connectivity, and to upgrade and revitalize our transportation system with rider-centered technology, more on time micro-busses, and amenities, such as bus shelters.
What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?
Our city has three major economic engines that keep us robust and sustainable. They are tourism, the military, and agriculture business. With such a diverse pool of youth, veterans, and high school graduates, we need to prepare our workforce for the ever-changing 21st Century economy, so we bring high-paying advanced manufacturing, STEM technology, and green energy jobs to our residents. Also, this would be a fantastic opportunity to connect with the Central Business sector for internships and the Minority Advisory Council to assist SWaM businesses with technical resources and guidance to grow and thrive. After deployments or retirement, our military veterans need workforce development to transition into regular civilian jobs.
What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?
This community is a combination of the older sprawling suburban neighborhoods in the northern areas and the Central Business District sector, which is our urban Town Center. This brings the situation of properly maintaining and providing upgrades for aging infrastructures and accessibility to medical facilities, mobility expansion, and affordable multi-modal transportation systems.
Addressing these infrastructural needs will give our residents more effective and efficient ways of connecting to work or leisure-related gathering places. It is important to have reliable communication systems and ongoing maintenance to address sea level rise, educating our residents community about flood mitigation and prevention programs. Upgrading our public utilities and grid functions will keep our community fully operational. We can also create and repurpose green intergenerational adaptive recreation spaces by working our city planners and developers, as we address more affordable housing so residents who work here can also live and play here.
How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?
Gun violence is impacting Hampton Roads, and our community is facing its share of violence. Education and community input through townhall meetings and solutions-driven forums are only part of the solutions. We need to invest in more afterschool and internship mentoring programs for our youth. We need to restore hope in our youth. We need to restore hope in our youth by supplementing the technical resources of faith-based and community nonprofits so there are multi-faceted approaches to address the problem of gun violence. The youths need positive role models.
We also need to recruit, train, and maintain high-quality public safety officers. Build trust between our law enforcement officers, and the community by implementing various forms of community involvement with law enforcement policing is key.
The newest technological equipment for gun tracking equipment has been installed in certain areas of the city, including locations in District 4. The 3rd Precinct is in District 4. I participated in their townhall community meeting in May of 2022 to discuss initiative-taking solutions for gun violence prevention with members of the precincts and national law enforcement administrators. I am currently in the process of arranging another of these meetings in collaboration with the chief of the 3rd Precinct at our only district high school, the Renaissance Academy.