John Rector is a candidate for Suffolk 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: John Rector
Race: Suffolk City Council
Biography: I am a native of the Tidewater area and have called downtown Suffolk my home for over 35 years. I am a 1981 graduate of Virginia Tech and hold a degree in business administration with an emphasis on finances.
I spent the first 36 years of my professional life working for a manufacturing company that specialized in providing repair parts and services to the pulp and paper industry all along the Eastern Seaboard of the United States. In 2008, I helped manage the move of the business from the Berkley section of Norfolk to Suffolk. I now work as a realtor with Chorey and Associates Realty here in Suffolk.
I have been married to my wife, Wanda, a retired school teacher, for over 37 years. We have two children and one granddaughter.
I have always been actively involved in the community, having been a founding member of the West End Civic League that works to improve the quality of life for all in the Lakeside neighborhood of the city. I have served on the Planning Commission for 16 years and am currently vice chairman of the commission. I also serve as the chairman of the committee on ordinances that recommends changes in the city’s Unified Development Ordinance.
Regionally, I am a member of the Hampton Roads Realtor’s Association Government Affairs Committee representing Suffolk. This committee keeps association members up-to-date with issues under discussion at the state and local levels that affect the real estate industry. This group also works with the Virginia Association of Realtors to help initiate and pass laws that affect real estate across the Commonwealth. I am also the association’s representative on the Suffolk2045 Steering Committee that is reviewing and updating the city’s comprehensive plan.
I am active in my faith community, having served on my church’s vestry a number of times, currently as the senior warden. I am chairman of the endowment group that manages the church’s overall financial health. On a broader level, I am the head of the real estate team that advises the Diocese of Southern Virginia in the handling of issues related to the disposition and acquisition of real property. I served on their Standing Committee and helped our Diocese in finding our current Bishop.
Why should residents elect you to City Council?
As an active member of the community, I have served on the Planning Commission for 16 years, which gives me an understanding of those functions that the city does well, as well as those functions that could be improved. As a resident of the downtown area, I feel it is vitally important to have a representative for the Suffolk Borough who understands the importance of having a successful and thriving downtown that will attract businesses and people to the area. There are a lot of resources that can help the city grow economically, and I intend to make sure that we are taking advantage of all of these opportunities.
What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?
My top three priorities:
- Working with the Suffolk School Board to ensure Suffolk Public Schools have the support and resources needed to thrive. A strong education system is a key point when companies and families consider moving to this area.
- I am a strong supporter of quality economic development. Having moved a business from Norfolk to Suffolk, I understand the processes that businesses must go through to locate in our city. I will work with the economic groups within the city to make this process work for all companies, both large and small, that wish to operate in Suffolk.
- Our police, fire, and rescue expect and deserve the support of our city and civic leaders. I will work to make sure that the men and women who put their lives at risk to keep us safe have the best training and equipment to do their jobs safely and effectively. I will work to make sure that their compensation is on par with the rest of the region so that the city can not only attract the best candidates, but also retain them.
What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?
Suffolk’s land mass area of almost 430 square miles makes us the largest city by area in the Commonwealth, and the 14th largest in the country. With this size comes many challenges to the city from an economic standpoint. This makes, in my opinion, the most pressing economic issue maintaining the proper balance between our growth and the needed expansion of utilities and roadway infrastructure in our area.
Getting water and sewer services to the expanding areas, as well as being able to provide the needed police, fire, and rescue, can put a big strain on the city’s ability to pay for these improvements. Leveraging state and federal money to help finance these projects should be a top priority for our city Leaders. Maintaining the outstanding bond rating that the city has is also a major component, as it makes the borrowing costs to finance these expansions more affordable.
What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?
I think everyone living in the city would agree that traffic management, both passenger and commercial/freight, is the number one infrastructure need that we are facing. The on-going improvements along the Route 58 corridor demonstrate both needed capacity expansion, as well as the headaches that go along with these types of projects. No one wants to live or transit through an active construction zone but also no one wants to sit in gridlock traffic due to undersized main thoroughfares.
The city needs to work with stakeholders, both Suffolk citizens and leaders at the state and local level, to determine what expansion is needed, how the city and state can pay for it, and how we can mitigate impacts to local residents. The city also needs to prioritize safety improvements along our main roads, especially Route 460 and the 460-58 interchange. For downtown Suffolk, trains moving through the city can have a huge impact on the traffic flow as folks travel throughout the area. While the city has plans to put in an overpass at the Wilroy Road-Nansemond Parkway intersection, we also need to look at ways to mitigate the impact of the train traffic in other areas.
How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?
Crime is very much a topic of concern for every member of our community. It is not a unique issue to the city of Suffolk, as we are seeing an increase in crime all over the Hampton Roads region and the country. We all have an expectation that we should feel safe in our homes, our neighborhoods, our schools, where we shop, and in our houses of worship. Making sure that our local police, fire, and rescue departments have the resources to be up-to-date with both their equipment and their training is a vital step to making our city a safe place to live, work, and play.
The rollout of additional Flock Cameras and gunshot detection technology is a positive and should provide law enforcement with early beneficial information for their investigations. At the same time, technology alone cannot prevent crime and we need to work on continuing to build and maintain trust between the community and our law enforcement. Community engagement is a vital role for our law enforcement and one that can be difficult when the department is short staffed. As we continue to invest in technology and training, we also need to ensure we have the pay structure and environment to attract and retain the best police officers.
If elected, I will do all that I can to support our first responders by making sure their compensation is competitive with the rest of the localities so that we can train and retain the best in those positions.