Willard Maxwell Jr. 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: Dr. Willard Maxwell, Jr.
Race: Newport News City Council
Biography: Dr. Willard G. Maxwell, Jr. is one of the most unique and innovative personalities in today’s leadership landscape. As senior pastor of New Beech Grove Baptist Church, Maxwell is passionate about educating and equipping those he is called to serve; however, his interactive approach to live and ministry includes creating and cultivating a culture of personal growth, business expansion, and community service. In sort, he believes that good relationships are an essential key to success.
Maxwell is a practitioner of what he preaches. His relationships extend past his ministry into the community. He serves as president of the Newport News branch of the NAACP, volunteer police chaplain for the city of Newport News, and a board member on the Newport News Planning Commission, Police Foundation, and Real Estate Assessor’s Office. He is also an adjunct professor at the William Harvey Leadership Academy at Hampton University.
Empowerment is a main theme of Maxwell’s philosophy, and he leads by example.
From his upbringing in Atlanta where his mother was initially told he needed to attend special education classes, he has excelled to become a teacher and principal in the Atlanta Public School system. He holds a bachelor of science degree in exceptional education from George Southern University, a master of divinity degree from Morehouse School of Religion and the Interdenominational Theological Center, and a doctorate in educational leadership from Agrosy University. He furthered his studies by obtaining a pastor counseling certification from Emory University.
Maxwell is a successful entrepreneur. He holds an active real estate broker’s license and leverages his business skills to conduct workshops for churches and community organizations regarding real estate investing, financial management, and community and economic development.
While ministry, civic and business pursuits occupy the lion’s share of his time, Maxwell makes time to enjoy the arts as well as sharpen his skills. He is a respected saxophonist and standup Christian comedian, and loves to share these gifts publicly.
Why should resident elect you to City Council?
I am a former teacher, administrator, and principal. The experience will enable me to curate a better relationship between the school board and city council, this empowers me to be able to be a liaison between the school system and parents when necessary.
I am a volunteer police chaplain and work very closely with the police. I’ve sat on the panel to hire in the last three police chiefs for Newport news. My nonprofit organization, InTouch CDC, partners with the Newport News Police Foundation to create better relations between the police and the community. In fact, we have received a $60,000 grant from the Department of Justice because the state of Virginia recognized our models help build police and community relations and deters gun violence.
I am a real estate broker, and I am currently partnering with organizations to build up the south and north sides of Newport News and empower individuals to purchase. All of these efforts have prepared me to be a highly-effective member of the Newport News City Council.
What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?
My first priority as a city councilman will be to open up lines of communication with all of the city council members, the mayor, and city manager to ensure that we create healthy relationships and affectively work together to create financial opportunities for our citizens and their families. My second priority is to continue to partner with both Chief Drew and Sheriff Morgan to keep bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community to make the neighborhoods safer, solve crime and prevent additional unnecessary violence. My third priority is to enhance the partnership with Dr. George Parker, the Superintendent of Newport News, to obtain funds to build or revamp existing structures to make the more conducive to learning.
What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?
My first priority as a city councilman will be to open up lines of communication with all of the city council members, the mayor, and the city manager to ensure that we create healthy relationships and effectively work together to create financial opportunities for our citizens and their families.
My second priority is to continue to partner with Chief Steve Drew and Sheriff Gabriel Morgan Sr. to keep bridging the gap between law enforcement and the community to make neighborhoods safer, solve crimes, and prevent additional unnecessary violence.
My third priority is to enhance the partnership with Superintendent Dr. George Parker to obtain funds to build or revamp existing structures to make the more conducive to learning.
What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?
The lack of affordable housing has had a dramatic impact on citizens and is forcing them to make very difficult decisions. I’m currently partnering with HRCAP (Hampton Roads Community Action Program) and PCDC (Peninsula Community Development Corporation) to help middle and low-income families to purchase homes by empowering them with education to build their credit files. Intouch and Maxwell Realty are also buying homes, fixing deficiencies, and re-selling them to first time home buyers. I will continue to sponsor home-buying seminars and workshops to encourage and embolden first time homeowners to purchase homes. I will also continue my partnership with the Newport News Housing Authority that provides down payment and closing cost assistance.
What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?
Reliable and safe public transportation has been a major concern for our citizens. To resolve this, we must ensure that the viable routes impacting the largest portion of Newport News are up and running and that the para-transit system is up and functional so individuals truly dependent on public transportation are receiving adequate care.
The city has an obligation to make sure the bus stops have shelter and basic amentias to protect passengers from the weather as they wait on the scheduled buses and that sufficient lighting is available to make the public feel safe. Additionally, we must find a way to alert passengers of delayed buses in case they need to take another route (can be done through wi-fi or message boards at different stops).
We should ensure that traffic patterns and roadways facilitate transit from one end of the city to the other to include rapid repairs of potholes and other work hindering transportation progress. We need to encourage the use of “non-polluting” buses and reduce the outdated inventory to make the current inventory more climate friendly.
How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?
Gun violence has caused our citizens to live in fear while accomplishing daily tasks in the community. From taking a stroll in the neighborhood and parents fearing for their children’s safety at school to extracurricular activities, our citizens are being held hostage.
Gun violence drives a further wedge between law enforcement and the community because people are fearful to inform police about crimes or suspicious activities that happen in their communities. I will continue to support Chief Steve Drew and the Newport News Police Department in their efforts to strengthen community policing and ensuring every school has one school resource officer. As a former educator and principal, I will work tirelessly to spread the word of the importance of school resource officers, how they keep our children and teachers safe, and why they are an ally in the fight against gun violence.