Lessie “Les” Smith is a candidate for Chesapeake 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: Lessie “Les” Smith

Race: Chesapeake City Council

Website: Les Smith for Office

Biography: Lessie “Les” Smith is a Chesapeake native and attended both St. Paul’s College and the University of Richmond. He has a business degree in business management and a graduate degree in human resource management. He served as deputy sheriff who retired as a lieutenant after 28 years of service. He has spent the last 9 years in the field of finances and has been self-employed the last seven years with World Financial Group.

He spends a great deal of his spare time giving back to his community through mentorship to male teens (Ground Zero Development) and is actively involved with the political process. He is a lifetime member of NABCJ – National Association of Blacks in Criminal Justice – and a former Tidewater Chapter president.

He belongs to numerous organizations that supports the Chesapeake community and humanity:

  • New Chesapeake Men for Progress
  • New Chesapeake Men for Progress Education Foundation
  • NAACP – National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
  • Alpha Phi Alpha Incorporated
  • Chesapeake Democratic Committee
  • Chesapeake Democratic Women
  • South Hampton Roads Democratic Business Alliance
  • Chesapeake Sports Club
  • FOP – Chesapeake Fraternal Order of Police
  • Chesapeake Leads

Why should residents elect you to City Council?

Because it’s time for new leadership and new vision to advance the progression of Chesapeake. A person that is committed to the well-being of the city as a whole; a native of the city; a 28-year public servant of Chesapeake Sheriff’s Office; a current entrepreneur in the financial industry; an individual that has devoted countless hours advocating for change and progress in underserved and underrepresented communities; a person that has spent years preparing for the opportunity; a person that listens to the citizens and is committed to getting things done and not just talking about doing.

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

  1. Attract more large and small businesses to increase revenue coming into the  city to provide more job opportunities and give us more operational income to provide more services to the city.
  2. Better manage growth so that our infrastructure can keep up with the building of new homes.
  3. Lobby with my fellow colleagues to bring a sportsplex and convocation center to the city to bring a larger-scale of entertainment for citizens and attract other businesses to the city that could benefit from the existence of these two structures of capital improvements

What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community and how do you plan to fulfil them?

Coming up with self-sustaining income that would provide continued funding to take on the many operational expenses of the city: Roads. highways, and bridge projects; funding for local government employees; more funding for educational purposes; investments for attracting more businesses to choose Chesapeake; and to work on community programs to aid in crime prevention, employment, homelessness, and revitalization. I would help alleviate the problem by attracting more businesses to increase our revenue base and have the sportsplex and convocation center built for recreation/entertainment purposes and as a source of additional funding.

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

Congested roads during certain times of the day; inadequate bridges for traffic flow and lack of commercial tracts which would include grocery stores in certain communities. For the roads, control growth management regarding how fast we are building, would help some. Expand road lanes where feasible; increase more incentives to park and ride; and promote more public transportation. As a local government, seek out these communities that are in need of commercial products and services that would help their needs of easier access to food and other products by being closer to home and prevent food deserts: promote building in these areas. It will create jobs, services to the communities and added income in sales taxes to the city.

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

Gun violence has people afraid throughout the region. The thing is we cannot give into it and remain indoors. We have to have more programs that promote education, jobs, extracurricular activities, for both our teens and young adults.  Also I believe having a task force in place that will concentrate on high-crime areas.

My ultimate goal would be that citizens feel safe wherever they may go within the city of Chesapeake. This will happen with a collaboration of stakeholders and a better exchange of what communities need to survive, to feel they count, and that they are fairly represented. I have a mentoring program for young males ages 12-19 that has been successful in the lives of young men since 2014.