Ed. note — The Independent News asked announced candidates for the Virginia Beach City Council Princess Anne District seat to answer an initial set of questions about issues. This appeared in print on Friday, May 25, during the edition distributed at this year’s Pungo Strawberry Festival. Responses to question have not been edited. The following responses appear in alphabetical order by author’s last name. The incumbent is noted. We plan to do a more detailed set of questions closer to Election Day, which is Tuesday, Nov. 6. We have already published short profiles on the candidates and other stories about the contest under the Princess Anne District search tag.

Pieri Burton [The Independent News]

Pieri Burton

Residence: Strawbridge

Age on Election Day: 40

Occupation: Reatlor/Mortgage Broker

Key endorsements: Gary Byler (Byler & Samson), Kenick El (MSTA) and David Martinez (Christian Way Ministries)

Phone: (757) 636-5051

Email: pie4council@gmail.com

Social media: pie4council on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat

What are your specific qualifications for this office? I am a servant for the Lord and his people. I have been working diligently directly with the community in different fashions since I was a child. This includes, homeless shelters, Food banks, delivering medication & food to the elderly in senior assistant living facilities, Mentoring in our public schools system, Sitting on community boards to ensure equality, fairness and transparency within leadership, budgetary counseling, I also have my Real Estate Sales license, Mortgage broker license and Life, Health & Annuities license while raising my beautiful eleven (11) year old daughter.

What, to you, is the most important issue facing the city and how will you address it if elected? One of the most important issue facing  the city currently is our infrastructure. How can we claim to be the best city in the world but can’t get our residents from A to B without a continuous grid iron traffic or lack luster public transportation. Not to mention, WE HAVE A FLOODING ISSUE!!.. We must continue to be vigilant by staying ahead of our public problems and addressing them head on. We can solve a majority of public transportation problems by implementing a rapid bus services as well as bike trail from the oceanfront  to Newtown road, running adjacent to Virginia Beach Blvd. To handle flooding, we must appropriate funds to ensure “ALL”  neighborhoods receive adequate drainage and livability. 

What are your three policy priorities as a potential member of the City Council? We must switch our current Voting system to District Voting. Currently everyone is able to vote for all candidates throughout our city, however this allows incumbents who established connections in different districts to out fundraise and stifle organic citizens with-in there represented district to not seek office. Citizens within their own district should pick their council men or women.

My second priority would be on establishing incubator innovative hubs within each district. This would be a mix-use facility which would help foster and stimulate technology, small business and learning for all. Think of an Library with multiple computer access for citizens, Free Wi-fi and resources to help foster ideals for small business owners. 

Finally, we must do better with transportation. I recommend having a rapid bus service from the Oceanfront to town center. I would add a scenic bike trail for walker and joggers also. This will help with the commute of traffic during or most grid-lock times of the day. It will also help to transport more people who cannot afford transportation to move around our city more rapidly  

Barbara Henley [The Independent News]

Barbara M. Henley


Residence: Charity Neck, Pungo

Age on Election Day: 76

Occupation: Family farm – Henley Farm

Key endorsements: All of my supporters are “key endorsements.” Organizational endorsements come later in the campaign.

Website: barbarahenley.com [currently under development]

Phone: (757) 426-7501

Email: barbarahenley@cox.net

What are your specific qualifications for this office? I have been a lifelong resident of the Pungo/Princess Anne District and I know the people and the area well. Conversely, I believe that I am accessible and well- known, and that my participation in community activities provides me with an ability to be close to the people and their needs. I have a demonstrated knowledge of the issues facing Virginia Beach. Several factors have come together to place Virginia Beach at a pivotal point in its development. Now, more than ever, strong, steady, proven leadership will be necessary in order to keep our city on a steady course for progress.  

We must maintain our status as a recognized safe city, a city with a reputation for excellence in educational facilities and opportunities, and a city known for its stable, well-managed government with a triple-A bond rating. Forecasts of natural changes will need demonstrated leadership in conservation and environmental concerns to meet those challenges for the well-being of our citizens and our properties. I believe I have these qualifications. 

What, to you, is the most important issue facing the city and how will you address it if elected? Over the next several months, we will be faced with determining the best course of action for dealing with changed climate conditions, recurrent flooding, and sea level rise.  I liken this to the challenge we faced several years ago in identifying and developing a reliable water supply for Virginia Beach.  It took perseverance and political will to achieve success with the Lake Gaston system, which has assured that Virginia Beach would have its water.  In a similar fashion, we must address our flooding issues.

The Princess Anne District is particularly challenged to address the circumstances peculiar to its location within the Albemarle watershed.  My goal for these months leading up to the presentation of the findings of the Sea Level Rise Study is to continue opportunities to see that our citizens can become better informed about this issue, so that we can make the best decisions for the future of our community.  Implementing the chosen path will require commitment and perseverance, but we have achieved our goals in the past, and I am confident that with proven, committed leadership, we can be successful again.

What are your three policy priorities as a potential member of the City Council? Public Safety is critical.  Virginia Beach must be a place where our people feel safe.  Respect for and confidence in our first responders is important.  Our safety policies must include emergency management for natural disasters as well as for man-made situations.  Our citizens deserve assurance that they can live, learn, work and play in a safe environment, and we must do our best to provide that assurance.

A high priority for our city is that we are a city of lifelong learning.  Learning opportunities from early childhood through adulthood are essential in order to provide a well-trained workforce for jobs which will provide salaries capable of supporting our families comfortably.  Our policies must provide for funding and facilities to provide these educational opportunities.

We must maintain Virginia Beach as a good place to live, work and do business.  We must be a financially stable city in order to attract businesses which provide jobs that will support our families comfortably.  We must be known as a business-friendly city that encourages innovation, such as new technologies.  Our neighborhoods must be safe and desirable, with well-maintained public infrastructure, public services which rank high with our citizens, and a valued natural environment. Our policies must show that we value all of our citizens, and that we are truly a community for a lifetime.

Karen Beardslee Kwasny [Courtesy]

Karen Beardslee Kwasny

Residence: Ashville Park

Age on Election Day: 53

Occupation: Assistant Professor of English, Saint Leo University

Key endorsements: Sandbridge Beach Business Association; state Del. Kelly Fowler, D-21st District; state Del. Glenn Davis, R-84th District 

Phone number: (757) 377-0342

Email: info@karenkwasny.com

Website: karenkwasny.com

Social media: @karenkwasnyforcitycouncil on Facebook and @kwasny4council on Twitter

What are your specific qualifications for this office? I’d like to represent you on City Council, Princess Anne District because I have a passion for shaping this city to preserve the past, enhance the present, and focus on the future. I also have a deep compassion for the residents of Virginia Beach.  I truly care what you think and what you want for your city. You will have a voice and I will listen to you.

I have been a member of the Transition Area/Interfacility Traffic Area Citizens Advisory Committee since 2014, the Vision to Action Community Coalition since 2016, and the Princess Anne District representative on the City of Virginia Beach Planning Commission since 2015. Each of these positions provides me the opportunity to lead on the health and growth of this city and its residents.

Princess Anne District is the largest district in the city. It needs broad representation and a council member with energy and experience to address our diverse demographic and economic landscape. Virginia Beach must address our infrastructure issues, including both old and faulty stormwater systems, poorly maintained roadways, and aging neighborhoods and retail/office space.  We must emphasize the value of our tourism and agricultural industries and work to create viable futures for those industries. I will do so in a way that illustrates respect and care for all community members. 

More than ever before, Princess Anne District needs a driven, focused leader.  I will be committed to preserving our history while addressing the needs of the present to shape our future.

What, to you, is the most important issue facing the city and how will you address it if elected? The most important issue facing Virginia Beach is preparing for the future. In this regard, we need leaders who are proactive, not reactive. Any politician can react to a problem when it becomes a crisis, but leaders work to prevent problems from happening in the first place. We have the opportunity right now to be progressive in thinking and action when it comes to our schools, public safety, infrastructure and resiliency, and economic vitality. We can be the leaders in the region when it comes to these aspects of the city’s health and well-being or we can lag behind others.  

During the budget public hearings, we saw police, firefighters and teachers looking to the district’s City Council member for support. Pay disparity and compression are issues that have existed year after year, and year after year there’s been a promise to do better. Our teacher and public safety professionals are the heroes of our community, and they shouldn’t be the last at the table.  A new Councilmember will put our most important priorities first and be proactive, not reactive.

What are your three policy priorities as a potential member of the City Council? Many of the issues we face are interconnected. Leaders talk of tourism and they talk of agriculture, but rarely do they tie them together. The tourism and agricultural industries have synergies that can make each stronger. They are both economic drivers for our city and they can both enhance each other.  

That takes new leadership more interested in tomorrow’s opportunities than fighting old battles. The Princess Anne district shouldn’t be at odds with the rest of the city. We should be partners. Reconnecting our industries and our interests is a top policy goal. 

Another policy focus is to repair the damage the real estate collapse did on our salaries for teachers, police officers and firefighters. Revenues from the state and local governments slowed to a halt for years, and I commend Council’s leadership in weathering the storm. Now it is time to right the ship. Our local heroes from the classroom to our neighborhoods serve at great sacrifice. We must commit the necessary funding to reward and retain Virginia Beach’s finest in education and public safety.

A third priority is reinvesting in our infrastructure. From improving our stormwater system to modernizing roads and bridges to addressing aging buildings to expanding technology, Virginia Beach must plan and upgrade these needs for the safety and security of our citizens. Doing so will attract more and better jobs to our city. I will be a leader in working to these improvements and initiatives, which are long overdue.  They simply must be a top policy goal. 

Tim Worst [The Independent News]

Tim Worst

Residence: Lago Mar

Age on Election Day: 50

Occupation: Tactical Equipment Sales

Website: TimWorstforCityCouncil.com

Phone: (757) 353-1555

Email: Tim@TimWorstforCityCouncil.com

Social media: @TimWorstVA on Facebook

What are your specific qualifications for this office? I’m a life-long resident of Virginia Beach and I grew up in Arrowhead. I attended public schools. My wife and I had a tiny apartment in Aragona, then Kempsville, and now we’re raising our two daughters in the old section of Lagomar.  I have a bachelor’s degree from Newberry College and a lifetime of working and coaching in our community. I have volunteered for a multitude of different organizations like the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, Alzheimer’s Association, Equi-Kids, and the Special Olympics to name a few.  Understanding teamwork and building coalitions are my specialties.    

 Although I am running for the Princess Anne seat on city council all the residents will have the opportunity to vote for me. The people of Virginia Beach have lost their faith in our city council. It’s time we put government back on the side of the people. It’s time we had elected officials that can be trusted to do what’s right. It’s time something was done for the 12-month residents and not the special interest. I intend to be that person. 

My faith, family, and community are what’s most important to me. My Dad (Dale) was a hard-working man of character and taught us to be the same. His word was his bond, people knew they could trust him. Trust would be very refreshing on council and is desperately needed.

What, to you, is the most important issue facing the city and how will you address it if elected? Put the people first! They are the #1 priority, not tourist, not a pier, not an arena, and not light rail. Our city council should balance the city budget just like everyone else. We [the city] need to live within our means and focus on our infrastructure, fix flooding, get equipment for our police, EMS, firefighters, and safety of our children attending school. 

The special interest has for far too long been the priority of this council. I believe most people want our city to grow but it should develop organically. Private Public Partnerships don’t allow the city to do this. They {PPP} only delete funds from basic maintenance and after years of neglect, our neighbors are underwater. We need drains not trains. Small businesses are at least 75% of our economy. Every business shouldn’t feel like the council is adding more red tape and barriers to become successful. The chosen few thrive and prosper while others are made to carry the financial burden. We can encourage higher wage employment when the business community sees a fair playing field without bias from the city council. 

What are your three policy priorities as a potential member of the City Council? A balanced budget without tax increases just to pay for all the special interest projects. I spoke at city council and supported the Moss, Abbott, and Dyer alternative budget. It’s unfortunate that our current city council seems to want tax increases on just about everything meanwhile asking the 12-month residents to wait another 10-15 years to fix the dilapidated drainage system. How can we keep demanding our police, firefighters, and teachers work with double the load while waiting for proper compensation?

Second, after a responsible budget is in place then we can rebuild our infrastructure. We need to focus on poor drainage systems throughout the city along with the backlog of road repair on pipes as old as 90 years, and the ditches not attended to for 10 years. After the hurricane people were told that emergency vehicles couldn’t get to them. This is completely unacceptable. I cannot imagine what was going through those citizens minds knowing no one would be able to help them. Our First responders need to be at full strength and able to function in any kind of weather at any time.  Citizens should never fear being left behind by a lack of staff or inadequate equipment. This applies to our schools as well. We don’t need to build a Taj Mahal to educate our children, but teachers shouldn’t have to go broke purchasing supplies the schools should already have.

Lastly, keep Pungo/Blackwater green. I’d rather Pungo/Blackwater look like it did in the 70’s.  It’s a zoning issue, not a development issue. That said, I want agriculture to remain agriculture. The green line is the green line; no if’s and’s or but’s. Council needs to stop making excuses to profit off it.

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