Leading During a Pandemic: A Candid Conversation with Mayor Donnie Tuck
Which issues are important to you?
I have been a member of the Hampton City Council since 2010. I was re-elected as a Council member in 2014, and elected Mayor in 2016. When I ran for Mayor in 2016, I campaigned on enhancing the sense of security among our residents, working more closely with our School Board to improve our schools, helping the expansion of small and existing
businesses and improving the infrastructure of neighborhoods. In 2019,
our level of serious crime was the lowest since 2003, but that is still an area of focus.
Four years ago, only 42 percent of our schools were fully accredited. They are now 100 percent fully accredited for the
first time in our history. Improving the housing stock and infrastructure in our City's older neighborhoods is still an area of focus.
How did COVID-19 impact your most recent campaign?
I was used to going door-to-door and attending neighborhood meetings
and political forums as the primary means of connecting with people and
soliciting support for my campaign. Because of Covid-19, this past
campaign, I was totally dependent on utilizing social media to spread my
How has COVID-19 impacted your City Budget?
The biggest impact has been on the City's actual and projected
revenues. Since the restrictions implemented by Governor Northam in
March, we have seen a loss of $8 million in FY20 revenues and are
projected to lose $20 million in FY21 unless there is substantial
As a City Council, we adopted a pre-Covid-19 budget. It is a budget
based on a quick return to normal. If that does not happen, we will
eliminate the proposed 3 percent cost-of-living increase for our
employees and make other adjustments in spending. The desire is to get
through the year without the layoff of employees.
How can your constituents get involved?
Four years ago, I began hosting quarterly town halls as an outreach
to residents. Two years ago, I began meeting regularly with pastors and
ministers to create a local missions focus to reduce gun violence,
especially among African American males between 14 and 24. My primary
encouragement to my constituents is to become part of their existing
neighborhood organizations or to create a neighborhood watch program.