Four years ago, the people of Virginia Beach elected Jessica Abbott to serve them on City Council. At the age of 27, she was the youngest person ever elected in our city – but that was only the beginning. The real work in restoring your trust in your representatives had only begun. Jessica has worked hard to advocate for the people of Virginia Beach.
Being a FEMA-certified flood insurance agent, Jessica has firsthand knowledge of recurrent flooding and has been a leading voice on this issue. She has never voted to raise taxes or fees and instead has co-sponsored alternate City Budgets in 2017, 2018 and 2019 that responsibly fund our city’s needs without unnecessary tax or fee increases. These alternate budgets sought to accelerate funding for stormwater projects – funding nearly half a billion dollars in flood projects in only six years instead of fifteen. Jessica collaborated with her colleagues to unanimously support a flexible 2020 City Budget in response to COVID-19 and ensured no tax or fee increases. She also sponsored an ordinance that dedicates 25% of revenue from the Dome Site Project directly to funding stormwater mitigation projects, which was unanimously supported by City Council.
She is committed to preserving open space and has sponsored ordinances and secured funding that limits pollution and protects wetlands. Jessica sponsored an ordinance that created the Adopt-a-Drain Program, which teams up with volunteers to help prevent pollution from clogging up our drainage system, lakes, and streams. She also secured funding for two new City parks – one being Ferry Point Park, 9 acres of permanently conserved wetlands on the Elizabeth River.
Jessica is a small business owner, and she understands that Virginia Beach must cultivate long-term business growth by supporting small businesses and attracting high-paying jobs. She voted to invest in expanding industries like biomedical and cybersecurity that will diversify our economy. She supports small businesses by sponsoring ordinances that eliminate the meals tax during COVID-19, update the classification of food trucks, reduced cost of obtaining a business license, and eased business restrictions for the budding Historic Kempsville District. Jessica co-sponsored an ordinance to revise the City Charter to limit unelected third parties from issuing City debt, which affects our bond rating. She was also the first Councilmember to publicly support the Disparity Study, which identified disparities among minorities and women in how the City awarded contract bids.
As the wife of a Virginia Beach teacher and mother of two, Jessica understands the importance of having excellent schools and safe neighborhoods. She voted to fund a long-term solution to pay compression for First Responders and co-sponsored budgets that added positions in Police, Fire, and EMS, and funded a workforce development program to improve recruitment and retention of police officers. She voted to increase pay for School employees, reduce class sizes, and expand full-day kindergarten. When our schools were facing a budget shortfall due to the impacts of COVID-19, she supported a flexible City Budget that restored $7.7 million of previously cut funding for our schools. Jessica also co-sponsored an ordinance that formally requested the Commonwealth of Virginia to increase funding to mental health services, which was unanimously supported by City Council.
City Council must reflect the residents that we have the privilege to represent, and Jessica has strived to be engaging, inclusive, and transparent. She invites residents to participate in surveys directly and explains key votes on social media. Jessica also offers residents the opportunity to list their priorities before every City Council Retreat. From conducting the first-ever “Midterm Report Card” halfway through her first term to pioneering “A Talk in the Park”, a brand new series of town halls, Jessica is committed to listening to residents.
When a prominent developer threatened to take his ball and go home if local elections didn’t go his way – Jessica listened to you, and she stood up.
Virginia Beach is a great place to call home, but many challenges face our city. But one thing is for sure: the future of Virginia Beach needs a voice – one that is engaging, inclusive, and transparent. Whether it’s advocating for fresh City leadership, supporting small businesses, or pushing for families to keep more of what they earn, Jessica stands strong for all of us.
Jessica Abbott is a small business owner and has been managing her family’s insurance business since 2008. Having been born to two Air Force veterans in Colorado Springs, CO, she has lived in Virginia Beach since 2001. She graduated from Kellam High School in 2007 and graduated from the American College of Financial Services in 2015 with LUTCF and FSCP designations, and is a FEMA-certified flood insurance agent. Jessica currently serves as the City Council liaison to the Historic Kempsville Citizens Action Committee, the Community Services Board, the Elizabeth River – Eastern Branch Project, the Arts & Humanities Commission, and the Public Library Board. Jessica would be honored to earn your support for City Council on November 3. Please consider donating or volunteering to show your support.