Lakeesha Atkinson is a candidate for Portsmouth City Council. Her name will appear 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: Lakeesha Atkinson

Race: Portsmouth City Council

Biography: Lakeesha Atkinson embodies many notable qualities, such as being a powerful and effective communicator, an enthusiastic director and coordinator, and many more. Atkinson is able to maintain all of these strong qualities while still being fair, wise, and confident.

Born and raised in Portsmouth, she was able to learn the ins and outs of her community and adopted a very personal connection with her peers. Despite all of the odds against her, she was able to obtained her diploma from Woodrow Wilson High School. She furthered her education and also graduated from Norfolk State University with a bachelors in science, majoring in criminal justice, and holding a minor in sociology.

With a passion for giving back to her community, in 2013 she developed with a purpose of organizing philanthropic efforts, and a mission of advocacy, education, and spreading awareness about societal issues.

With Believe, Pray, Overcome, she also included W.A.A.B, a program focused on bullying prevention. W.A.A.B stands for “We Are Against Bullying.” Atkinson is extremely passionate and sensitive to this topic because bullying correlates with suicide, and those who are LGBTQ and more likely to be bullied.

With her motivational character, she has been invited to speak at elementary and middle schools in the Hampton Roads area, as well as children’s banquets. Atkinson is a board member of the Portsmouth NAACP and serves on the M.A.N (Men Alleviating Negativity) Foundational Board. She was elected to Portsmouth School Board on Nov. 8, 2016., becoming the youngest and first openly LGBTQ member elected. She currently serves as the vice chair of the school division.

Why should residents elect you to City Council?

Residents should elect me to city council because I have a vested interest in the betterment and the success of our city. I have proven, via my current position, that I get things done, and I am a forward thinker, which is needed for our city to grow. I am an advocate for all people.

What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?

1. Public safety
2. Diversified economy for all people
3. Capital for infrastructure projects 

What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?

Lack of opportunity and lack of jobs. We can address this by attracting new businesses to our city and offering incentives and working with our current businesses to see how we can assist with recruitment. Once we are healthy economically, we can then revisit our tax issue. 

What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?

Old dated city and recreation buildings, eyesores, damaged roads — fulfillment — private partnerships, host a developer expo, prioritize our budget, solicit funding from the state.

How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?

It’s clear and known that we have a gun violence issue in the city of Portsmouth. My plan to address gun violence is to have round table discussions with police and fire to hear their concerns, and then host community forums throughout Portsmouth to address citizen concerns. Create a comprehensive plan with council to fully staff our public safety departments, address retention concerns, adding additional fleet, and purchasing new and innovative technology. We also need to work with community groups and nonprofits and support and fund viable programs that assist in youth gun violence prevention.