VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Beach Councilman Aaron Rouse and U.S. Navy veteran Kevin Adams are running in the special election to fill Jen Kiggans’ 7th District seat in the Virginia State Senate.
Kiggans (R-Virginia Beach) is headed for Capitol Hill with an unofficial election win over Democratic Rep. Elaine Luria. Once the election is certified, Kiggans will resign her Virginia Senate seat.
Rouse, who’s running as a Democrat, hosted a special event Monday morning announcing his run for the 7th District. He was joined by his wife, Virginia Beach Councilwoman-elect Jennifer Rouse, and several elected officials, including Congresswoman Luria.
“Throughout my time serving in Congress representing the Second District, Aaron has been a true partner,” Luria said. “I think it takes a team at every level federal, state and local. That shares the same values and wants to move our community forward and Aaron has demonstrated that every step of the way.”
Rouse said Luria supporting him speaks to her integrity. “The fact that she’s here after losing says a lot about her character.”
Rouse was also joined by Virginia State Senator Mamie Locke, Delegate Angelia Williams Graves, Virginia Beach Councilman Guy Tower, Virginia Beach Councilwoman-elect Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond, Virginia Beach Commissioner of the Revenue Phil Kellam and other local leaders.
“We know that he will be energetic and a hopeful candidate. We will be right there behind him,” Locke said.
“He has demonstrated his commitment. He’s demonstrated his ability to get things done,” Del. Williams Graves said.
During the announcement, Rouse listed his impact as a minority voice on city council, including his work helping small and minority-owned businesses, increasing salaries and enriching the diverse culture with the Something in the Water festival.
“I was proud to lead that effort to bring it back.”
If elected to the 7th District seat, Rouse said will fiercely defend a woman’s right to choose, voting rights, criminal justice reform, as well as other democratic initiatives.
“So much is at stake this upcoming election,” Rouse said. “Any effort to roll back the rights and progress Virginians have made in these recent years. I will stand firmly with my colleagues against.”
In a release issued the day after the Nov. 8 election, Adams said that if he is elected to the Senate he will “continue working to pass Governor Glenn Youngkin’s pro-veteran agenda, cut taxes, ease regulations, keep our communities safe, and make it easier for small business owners like me to get started and stay in business.”
The retired Navy Lieutenant Commander told WAVY.com, “There are things that I could effect change for all veterans, and I am all in to get that done.”
The Republican political newcomer is a business owner.
“I’m a contractor and I go in the store, and I literally watch the prices go up.” Adams said. “The focus should be the economy and crime.”
Attorney General Jason Miyares announced his endorsement of Adams writing, “Kevin Adams wore the uniform serving and defending our country abroad, and he is the only candidate in the race we can trust to defend the police and first responders who wear the uniform at home. Kevin Adams will get tough on violent crime and defend the rule of law.”
Both Rouse and Adams grew up with single moms, and both credit their adult success to their childhood and life experiences.
In a Facebook post former Delegate Cheryl Turpin, a Democrat, also expressed interest in the 7th District seat. Turpin will announce her candidacy to replace Kiggans upon her resignation.
The special election date has been set for January 10, 2023, the day before the 2023 General Assembly convenes.