VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Candidates running for Virginia Beach mayor debated Wednesday morning at the Princess Anne Recreation Center.
NOTE: Live coverage of a mayoral debate forum between Ben Davenport and Bob Dyer. App users can tune in here.
City council members Ben Davenport and Bob Dyer answered questions from the Virginia Beach Mayor’s Commission on Aging and members of the audience. The debate is part of the annual Senior Showcase to address needs of seniors in the city.
“It’s like running a marathon on a treadmill, but you someday it will be worth the effort,” said Dyer.
“We’re having a good time and we’re going to work hard all the way till the very end,” added Davenport.
The end is less than a week away. Months of campaigning to be Virginia Beach’s next mayor is down to days.
Both candidates agree flooding and storm water issues has to be front and center.
“We need to get out there and clean the ditches,” Davenport said. “We need to dredge our stormwater ponds and we need to make sure we are cleaning out our stormwater infrastructure.”
But they are some differ on how to take the city to the next level. Dyer believes more needs to be done to make all residents feel as if they are included in decisions.
“We have to get input,” Dyer said. “That’s why I want change the budget process. Let’s get people in before we go to retreat and find out what the people’s priorities are not necessarily ours.”
Davenport says his focus is on bringing jobs to the city through technology.
“I think the one difference we have is that I want to grow this city,” Davenport said. “I want to make sure we bring in new industry to this city that will create opportunities for our children.”
Both candidates believe in education and law enforcement. In fact they split endorsements by the city’s two police unions.
Afterwards, Interim Mayor Louis Jones presented annual awards to recipients who have been chosen for their commitment to the seniors of Virginia Beach.
Jones is running for city council.
He took over as interim mayor in the spring of 2018 after Will Sessoms stepped down after nearly a decade on the job.
Sessoms said he wanted to spend more time with his children and grandchildren in April. A special election was set for the position after Sessoms’ departure.