Hampton Roads Mayors Talk Region's Future
Before a crowd of 425 at Regent University's Executive Leadership
Series luncheon, the leaders of South Hampton Roads' five cities
gathered on Monday, March 18, to discuss their vision and outlook for
the future of Virginia's first and largest region.
Dr. Alan Krasnoff, mayor of Chesapeake; Paul Fraim, mayor of Norfolk;
Kenneth Wright, mayor of Portsmouth; Linda Johnson, mayor of Suffolk;
and William Sessoms, mayor of Virginia Beach, participated.
The event theme was "Hampton Roads Exceptionalism," and the topics of
discussion centered on sequestration, education and transportation. All
three of these hot-button issues have become major rally points for
Hampton Roads' leadership in the last year.
On sequestration, the five mayors agreed that coping with defense cuts
through economic diversity is the way to keep the region moving forward.
Taking advantage of new opportunities in technology, transportation and
medicine will give Hampton Roads the best chance at growth through this
challenging time, they agreed.
On education, though the needs of each city differ, each mayor expressed
their commitment to public schools as a key to the future growth of the
On transportation, each mayor celebrated the recent passage of a bill by
the Virginia General Assembly, which raises funds for an overhaul of
the state's transportation systems, and committed to making sure the
region gets its fair share. Also addressed were issues surrounding tolls
on the Midtown tunnel in Portsmouth, the Tide light rail coming to
Virginia Beach, and the Patriot's Crossing proposal between Norfolk and
Each mayor gave a statement regarding his or her position on these three
topics in the respective cities, as well as the region as a whole.
Krasnoff served five consecutive terms in Chesapeake's City Council
beginning 1990 and was elected mayor in May 2008. He previously served
as director of the Chesapeake Juvenile Advisory Board and is a
Norfolk native Fraim has been a member of Norfolk City Council since
1986 and has served as mayor of Norfolk since July 1994. He began a
private law practice more than 40 years ago and is president of the law
firm Fraim and Fiorella, P.C.
Suffolk's first female mayor, Johnson, was appointed by her colleagues
on Suffolk's City Council in 2006 and sworn in as the city's first
directly elected mayor in January 2009. Previously, she served as the
public information officer for the State Corporation Commission in
Richmond and eligibility officer for the Suffolk Department of Social
Wright was elected mayor of Portsmouth on November 2, 2010, and took
office two days later. Born and raised in Portsmouth, he is the
president and CEO of Wright's Engineering.
Sessoms, a native of Virginia Beach, began his political career in 1988
as an at-large member of the Virginia Beach City Council. In 2008, he
was elected mayor. Sessoms has worked with numerous local and regional
organizations, including the Life Saving Museum of Virginia, the
American Heart Association, the Norfolk State University Foundation and
the Tidewater Regional Transit Authority.
This marks the fifth year that Regent's ELS has hosted local elected
officials for a Mayors Forum. Held each month, ELS brings together
businessmen and women in Hampton Roads to hear from business and
Visit the ELS website for more information about upcoming speakers.
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations
Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888