Robert Coleman is a candidate for Newport News 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.
Biography: Robert Coleman
Race: Newport News City Council
Biography: Rob Coleman is a proud lifelong resident of Newport News and has been serving its citizens for over 25 years in many different roles.
In 1996, he joined the Newport News Sheriff’s Office where he made his way through the ranks from deputy sheriff to major, operations bureau chief. Coleman retired as a decorated law enforcement professional in 2021, to become the CEO for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula.
Coleman was elected to the Newport News City Council in 2012 to represent the citizens of the North District. During his term, Coleman was appointed vice mayor and proudly served the city and council until 2016.
Coleman has had the honor and privilege to serve on several community boards and commissions, such as the board of directors for Boys and Girls Clubs of the Virginia Peninsula, president of the Newport News Police Foundation, Alternatives, Inc., the Civic Leadership Institute, State Executive Council for Children’s Services, the Newport News Mental Health Docket, and the Southeast Community Coalition.
Coleman is a product of Newport News Public Schools and a graduate of the National Criminal Justice Command College at UVA.
Coleman, his wife Jamie, and their son Jacob, reside in the Central District of Newport News.
Why should residents elect you to City Council?
Newport News has been my home for nearly 50 years. It has provided me and my family the life that I believe everyone is deserving of. As a proud lifelong resident, former council member, decorated law enforcement officer, and trusted community partner, I’m uniquely qualified and ready to serve the citizens of the Central District.
What are the top three priorities you would tackle if elected?
If elected my top three priorities would be:
- Public safety
- Public schools
- Economic development
What is the most pressing economic issue facing your community, and how would you address it?
The most pressing economic issue facing Newport News is the perception that our community and schools are not safe. When people feel a community is unsafe, they will not buy a home, start a business, or attend the schools. To enhance overall safety of our schools, I’m proposing that we assign a school resource officer to all the 26 elementary schools and early development centers in the city. I am also proposing that we offer a Pre-K program to all the eligible 4-year-olds in the city. When we are proactive instead of reactive and invest more in prevention programs like our school system, our community will be safer and more prosperous.
What are your community’s biggest infrastructure needs, and how do you plan to fulfill them?
Our community’s biggest, and most expensive, infrastructure need is our schools. As a product of Newport News Public Schools, and now a parent of an 8th grader in our schools, I truly appreciate the need for action when it comes to replacing 50 and 60-year-old buildings. As a councilman, I will immediately facilitate discussions with my fellow council members and school board members to create a strategic plan for the rebuilding our education infrastructure.
How is gun violence impacting your community, and how do you plan to address gun violence?
My plan to address gun violence is to follow the P.I.E.R. Model (Prevention, Intervention, Enforcement, and Re-Entry).
Prevention is always cheaper than incarceration, and that’s why we need to invest more and support our schools, teachers, students, and parents by providing more family engagement specialists and mental health counselors in the schools.
Intervention needs to happen when a child or young adult starts to wander from the path of success. Community outreach workers and nonprofits, like the Boys and Girls Clubs and Alternatives, Inc., can provide the services needed to set our young people up for success.
Enforcement is an important component of public safety. By investing in more cameras, developing stronger relationships through community policing, and enforcing the gun laws we currently have on the books, we will significantly reduce the lives lost and families impacted by senseless gun violence.
Re-entry is a key aspect of reducing repeat offenders of violent crimes. When a person is serving their sentence for violating the law, we must take that time to prepare them to be successful when the reenter society. GED programs, substance abuse programs, mental health counseling, and employment readiness classes will help set up our returning citizens for success.