Joashua “Joash” Schulman is a candidate for Virginia Beach 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 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: Joashua “Joash” Schulman
Race: Virginia Beach City Council
Biography: Joash Schulman is a real estate and business lawyer and serves as the managing partner of Town Center Office Suites. He received his B.A. in international relations from Michigan State University in 2022, and his J.D. from Michigan State University College of Law in 2005.
He and his wife, Elaine, have been residents of Virginia Beach since 2007, and they reside in Thoroughgood with their three daughters (twins aged 7 and a 4-year-old). All three girls attend or will attend Thoroughgood Elementary School.
Schulman serves as vice president of Virginia Beach Vision, board secretary of the Central Business District Association (CBDA), a member of the regional board of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, and as a board member for both Lynnhaven River Now and the Neptune Festival Foundation.
Schulman has also served in two city-appointed roles and currently serves as chair of the Virginia Beach Wetlands Board. He was formerly the vice chair of the Envision Virginia Beach 2040 Vision to Action Community Coalition. He is past president of the CBDX, the 40-and-under young professionals’ division of the CBDA. He is a 2022 graduate of the Civic Leadership Institute and was among the recipients of the Inside Business Top 40 Under 40 award in 2015.
Why should residents elect you to City Council?
I care deeply about the future of our city, and I am ready to lead. I plan on bringing a voice of collaboration to our city council.
I want to help create opportunities for our children to thrive and remain here, instead of leaving for other cities. I’ve volunteered in city-wide and regional initiatives for 12 years, and I’ve developed great relationships with our elected and regional civic leaders. I have a reputation for being a listener and a steady, reasoned voice in the room.
I am a leader in our business community and serve as vice president of Virginia Beach Vision, board secretary of the Central Business District Association, and a member of the regional board of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.
I volunteer as a mentor in our schools and helped establish a scholarship program for seniors at Princess Anne High School who exhibit a desire to remain in, or return to, Virginia Beach upon graduation and make a difference in our community.
I’m a steward of our environment and serve as chair of our city’s Wetland’s Board, a board member of Lynnhaven River Now, and I’ve volunteered on the city’s Forest Conservation and Reforestation Working Group.
What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?
Improved transportation and stormwater infrastructure, neighborhood revitalization, and sustainable growth. I’d like to gather stakeholders to update and finally implement the (now more than 20 years old) Shore Drive Corridor Plan (to include flood adaptation measures in the Joint Land Use Study and Sea Level Wise studies) to create a safer, walkable, bikeable, landscaped environment.
Annually, more than 6 million visitors travel across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel to our community. Our residents and guests deserve a better sense of arrival in this gateway to our city. Neighborhoods need to be better connected to parks and recreation centers and to nearby restaurants and retail.
We have many aging shopping centers in our city. With our changing economy and the amount of impervious surface occupied by underutilized parking areas, we should focus on redeveloping these areas in ways that reflect and improve the character of surrounding neighborhoods while being mindful of flooding challenges.
What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you handle it?
Our most important issue is how we can continue to grow as a city while being mindful of the challenges presented by sea level rise and recurrent flooding, while also respecting the integrity and character of our many unique neighborhoods.
We’ve experienced relatively stagnant population growth over the years, and we’re trending older. To grow our economy and attract new businesses to Virginia Beach, we must focus on recruiting and retaining young workers and keeping our high school and college graduates here!
In order to do so, we must invest in and promote our city as a vibrant place to live, work, and play. We can do so through public art and cultural investments, neighborhood revitalization, continued investment into our public school system, and by leveraging our quality-of-life attributes with the intention of creating public spaces that promote peoples’ health, happiness, and sense of wellbeing.
We also need to concentrate on building a sense of place and a community where everyone feels a sense of pride and belonging. We can grow sustainably by renewing our commitment to the Strategic Growth Areas Plan, which is predicated upon the concept of creating density in places that have the infrastructure to support growth instead of sprawling into environmentally sensitive and flood-prone areas.
Finally, we need to find more opportunities to cooperate with neighboring localities because the future of Virginia Beach and the region are inextricably linked.
What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?
While we’ve made significant investments to address flooding with the passage of the referendum, our strategy to address sea level rise remains unresolved and unfunded. We should continue to engage our state and federal partners, but also be open to alternative funding sources, like grants from the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative and sustainable cities programs.
We should protect our wetlands and preserve and enhance our tree canopy because trees combat erosion and help absorb water and return it to the air. We should strongly consider a regional BMP and employ solutions like the Bow Creek Stormwater Park to direct floodwaters away from residential properties while serving a dual purpose as a park in ordinary weather conditions.
How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?
According to the 2021 VBPD Year End Review, Virginia Beach is the only city in Hampton Roads to have a decrease in homicides and shooting victims. From 2020 to 2021, the number of shooting victims decreased by 18.4%, and the number of shooting incidents decreased by 17.6% We have the lowest homicide rate per capita in the region. Virginia Beach is the safest city of our size in the country thanks to the dedication and professionalism of our law enforcement community.
True public safety depends on fostering an environment of trust and mutual respect between law enforcement and the public. Offering opportunities for the public to interact with law enforcement in community settings will help strengthen these relationships. Our Citizen Advisory Committees serve as one example of how to build relationships between public safety personnel and our citizens. Encouraging public safety representatives to appear as guest speakers in our schools will help make early connections between law enforcement and our city’s youth.
Advancing community policing efforts and diversity in hiring should also be priorities. Addressing staffing shortages, focusing on officer wellness, and investing in technology will help alleviate some of the inherent stresses associated with the job and will help make the job of law enforcement easier. Implementation of the recommendations of the Citizen Review Panel Task Force is also important. We should address some of the open questions that exist concerning the Investigation Review Panel, including the formulation of a budget, training and oversight process to ensure fairness, and due process to everyone involved.