VIRGINIA BEACH – A Lago Mar resident who in January gained attention for verbally sparring with Mayor Will Sessoms says he is running for city council in the Princess Anne District.
Tim Worst said he will challenge City Councilmember Barbara Henley, a farmer who has represented the southern reaches of the city for much of the past four decades.
It may be a three-person race. The Rev. Pieri Burton, who challenged Henley four years ago, confirmed after this story initially appeared in print that he will again run in the district.
Worst said his goals include tackling flooding issues, evening the playing field for businesspeople and supporting road projects.
Worst, who grew up in Arrowhead, has been a health and physical education teacher, worked in the insurance field and is now in charge of law enforcement sales for tactical equipment firm.
Worst, who will turn 50 later this month, is also is know for being active in youth sports. Amid a recent interview for this story at a local restaurant, a former student spotted him, warmly said hello and asked whether he still coaches. (He does.)
Worst said he has been following politics and government over the past several years, especially how decisions were felt in local communities. He became interested in running last year, deciding to run by December, though he had not announced his campaign when an exchange between Worst and Mayor Will Sessoms landed on social media, ultimately leading to an apology from the mayor.
On Tuesday, Jan. 16, Worst spoke during a public hearing about a fishing pier project at the Oceanfront.
In those remarks, Worst said he had overheard people behind him saying Sessoms had spoken on the phone to someone Worst assumed to be a developer and that Sessoms did not want people to speak about the issue.
“This vote is a given for the pier,” Worst said.
“That’s a lie,” Sessoms interjected.
“Sir, I just heard it,” Worst said. “I have three minutes.”
“That is a bold-faced lie,” Sessoms said.
“I have three minutes,” Worst said.
“Fine,” Sessoms said. “Well, tell the truth.”
“I just heard it from the folks behind me,” Worst told the mayor.
The video was shared on Facebook, and a page was set up seeking an apology from Sessoms. Worst recently said he had nothing to do with that effort on social media.
Sessoms released a statement on Wednesday, Jan. 24. It was an apology that read, in part:
“In retrospect, my statements to Mr. Worst during the Jan. 16 Virginia Beach City Council meeting were out of character for me. …
“I realize I should have waited until he was done speaking to address the issue, Sessoms continued in the statement. “However, as someone who works every day to do what is right for the city I love and the people I serve, it is increasingly difficult to sit back and listen while people spread uncorroborated untruths that question my integrity and that of the City Council.”
In a recent interview, Worst said he had repeated what he overheard shortly before he spoke to the city council that evening.
“I said what I heard,” he said. He acknowledged he had not verified the information before he spoke and did not know whether a call between Sessoms and the person assumed to be a developer took place.
But Worst said people should be able to speak without interruption during meetings, though he also noted speakers should be polite, professional and keep it clean.
If elected, he added, he would pay attention to what the public has to say during meetings.
Worst said he had some key issues for his campaign, including addressing flooding in the city, spending taxes to benefit locals — “12 month residents,” as he put it — rather than tourists and supporting education and public safety workers.
“How do we tell the citizens of Virginia Beach to wait 15 years for these flooding projects to be done?” Worst asked.
He said he is concerned that the city needs to be mindful of the free market, considering a wider range of candidates for projects.
And Worst said he would continue at least one of Henley’s ideas, if elected — her monthly meetings for constituents to address issues.
Henley has filed all of her paperwork to run, as of this past week, according to the city voter registrar’s office. Worst has filed initial paperwork, but he – and any other potential candidates for city council – have until June 12 to finalize their paperwork to seek office.
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