Jennifer Rouse 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: Jennifer Rouse
Race: Virginia Beach City Council
Biography: Jennifer Rouse was born and raised in Virginia Beach. She graduated with honors from Virginia Wesleyan College and earned her graduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University, where she was awarded the prestigious L. Douglas Wilder Graduate Scholar Fellowship. She is an assistant professor of sociology and department chair of Social Sciences and Education Pathway at Tidewater Community College. She teaches hundreds of students each semester and incorporates local, state, national, and international events into her curriculum to engage her students with their communities. Rouse lives in District 10 with her husband, Aaron.
Why should residents elect you to City Council?
For 10 years, I have interacted with members of our community as an educator in the college classroom. These interactions provide me with unique insight into the broad and diverse experiences of residents. I’ve worked with military families and veterans transitioning from service to civilian life, and with recent high school graduates to navigate their path forward as they explore careers, hopefully here in Virginia Beach. I’ve worked with adults who have been out of a classroom for decades, whether because they were raising children or in the workforce, and who now find themselves transitioning roles in an ever-changing world.
As a sociologist, I understand issues of culture and this perspective is very much needed on city council. I have the experience to understand multiple perspectives, and to help build bridges wherever possible. My expertise qualifies me to help guide policies that are equitable and balanced for our residents.
What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?
As a council member, I would continue to hear directly from residents and businesses on the challenges and successes of the district, and the city as a whole. I’ll represent District 10, and also collaborate with my colleagues to make sure Virginia Beach, as a whole, is winning.
Three priorities include (but are not limited to):
- Advocate for fair pay and resources for our public school teachers and faculty, public safety workers, and city staff to ensure our city can maintain our vital services
- Preparing our workforce for 21st Century jobs, including helping military transition to civilian life
- Improving access to quality, affordable housing in District 10 and across the city.
What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?
The most pressing economic issue facing my community is workforce development. District 10 is home to a number of K-12 public schools, and Tidewater Community College. These schools function to prepare our young folks to grow up and be contributors to both our community and our economy. What job opportunities are available that would retain the next generation of workers?
There are a number of small businesses operating within the district, and ensuring that these businesses have resources to thrive, while also collaborating with my fellow council members to promote economic development across the city is a priority.
What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?
District 10 is a highly residential area, with 67% of land zoned for housing. Many of these communities are characterized by aging infrastructure, which require improvements and modernization to mitigate issues like flooding.
I will advocate for the resources required to ensure District 10 is able to revitalize aging infrastructure and transportation options in and around District 10.
How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?
Gun violence is a problem across the country, and Virginia Beach is, unfortunately, no exception. Our safety and our children’s safety is a top priority for every Virginia Beach family.
As a sociologist, I question not only how a community can respond to gun violence, but more importantly, how can a community prevent gun violence? Research shows that gun violence is lower when employment is high, housing is stable, and wages are livable. Restoring community trust is necessary, and I aim to do that through advocating for public investment in community-serving places (e.g. schools, libraries, parks). That could include highlighting and supporting the organizations who are already doing the work of keeping our communities safe. That could also include things like, expanding teen summer youth employment programs to make sure our youth are engaging in constructive activities in their free time.