Rick “RK” Kowalewitch 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.
Candidate: Rick “RK” Kowalewitch
Race: Virginia Beach City Council
Biography: I owned and operated RK’s Surf Shop for 31 years. I am currently self-employed in residential construction and building. My wife retired in 2019 after 38 years of teaching school. I have been heavily involved in local politics for the last 22 years, including talking about the importance of stormwater maintenance, the lawlessness at the Oceanfront, and the shortage of police officers.
Why should residents elect you to City Council?
I have been a small business owner in the city of Virginia Beach for over 30 years, and as we know, over 90% of all businesses in Virginia Beach are small businesses. I understand their needs, and I have fought to protect them for the past 20 years. Frankly, I am tired of the GOB — Good Old Boy — network. Their philosophy is the “needs of the few — the elite — outweigh the needs of the many.”
I have fought against the unconstitutional election system in Virginia Beach and the corruption in our city. I have been talking about fixing stormwater needs for over 20 years, fought for a level playing field for all businesses and citizens, and I believe in the Constitution of the United States. It is time to stop talking about start doing. We don’t need partisan politics involved in local government. It does not and will not work. That is why local races are supposed to be non-partisan. Enough is enough.
What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?
- Enforce laws and maintain fairness for everyone: To have enforcement of laws, we need to have our police department fully funded, fully compensated, and fully staffed.
- Worst economy in 50 years: We cannot tax our citizens out of our city. It is a huge mistake. We need to run a leaner government in these hard times, and address the needs of the citizens and not the GOB — the Good Old Boys — that is being done now.
- Fairly compensate and fully fund and staff police, fire, and teachers: We were 80 police officers short in 2002, and today we are at least 70 police officer short. This needs to be addressed immediately, along with pay compression for police officers and firefighters. There is a real teach shortage around the country. The city needs to keep salaries competitive to attract and keep teachers in our area.
What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?
90% of all businesses in Virginia Beach are small businesses. Government should not be in the business of picking winners and losers. The government should be creating an environment where all businesses are successful. It does that by having low taxes, good schools, strong infrastructure, and few public safety issues.
Any incentives given to businesses should be for business types that do not already exist, and those businesses should not be competing with like businesses. The free enterprise system is the most productive supplier of human needs and economic justice. That is what separates us from the rest of the world. I believe this will create the desire to grow small businesses and attract new business to our area.
What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you play to fulfill them?
Stormwater is the biggest infrastructure need. The citizens of Virginia Beach have recently approved a $500 million bond referendum. I did not vote for it because I felt it was unnecessary. The city had the money available through stormwater fees already collected, and we should not have burdened the taxpayers with the bond. I will make sure that the bond money goes to stormwater and not to other projects.
How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?
It is almost problematic everywhere. We need to fully staff our police department to the standards of a city of our size and population. We need to allow our police officers to do their job by enforcing existing laws.