New members join Virginia Beach City Council in the New Year; Wood picked to return in his role as vice mayor

Virginia Beach City Councilmember Aaron Rouse, who holds an at-large seat, is seen during his first meeting as a new member of the council. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

COURTHOUSE – New and returning members of the Virginia Beach Council took oaths to serve the city on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at City Hall.

“You are welcome additions to our team,” Mayor Bobby Dyer said at the start of the meeting.

Councilmembers David Nygaard, who represents the Beach District, and Aaron Rouse, who holds an at-large seat, joined the council. Councilmember Sabrina Wooten, who won a special election in November to serve the unexpired council term of Dyer in the Centerville District, was sworn in, though she initially took office in November.

Returning were Councilmembers Barbara Henley in the Princess Anne District, Louis Jones in the Bayside District and Jim Wood in the Lynnhaven District. Councilmember John Moss in November won reelection to an at-large seat, though he was absent from the meeting due to an illness.

The council unanimously selected Wood to continue serving as vice mayor, a role he stepped into this past year when Jones, who had been vice mayor, was selected to serve as mayor until a special election to replace former Mayor Will Sessoms was held.

 “The City Council did me the honor of appointing me to that position, and at the same time, the City Council made a very wise decision in appointing Mr. James Wood as vice mayor,” Jones said, nominating Wood to remain as vice mayor.

“I want you to know that nobody could have been more supportive of me as the mayor of Virginia Beach at that time,” Jones added. “There was never anything that I asked him to do that he didn’t do. For those reasons, I believe it is important that Mr. Wood continue as vice mayor of the city of Virginia Beach.”

The vote to appoint Wood was 10-0.

“I certainly appreciate the opportunity and the confidence that the public had in electing me, and then also the confidence my colleagues had in electing me,” Wood said, before welcoming the new members of the council and thanking his family.

Rouse thanked the citizens and his mother and family.

“It’s been a long road coming from Seatack community, as well, one of the most impoverished communities we have in Virginia Beach,” he said, adding thanks to first responders, the community and educators, including his teachers from Virginia Beach schools.

“With every decision and vote that I take, I do so with the citizens in mind, and I do not take this job lightly,” Rouse said. “I take it very seriously, and I want to say thank you.”

Nygaard defeated incumbent John Uhrin in a close contest that included a recount and an effort by Uhrin effort to keep Nygaard from voting until a lawsuit challenging his residency is resolved, though a judicial panel refused to keep Nygaard from his duties.

At City Hall, Nygaard thanked his father and family, as well as the citizens who gave him a chance to serve them.

“Many of you also know we’ve had a very challenging campaign and highly publicized, even this afternoon,” he said. “We were laughed at. We were dismissed and ignored, but many of you here saw differently.”

And he spoke about the city and the work ahead for a new City Council.

“I intend to give it – and you all – everything I have,” he said.

City Councilmember David Nygaard, who defeated incumbent John Uhrin and other candidates in the November election, holds the Beach District seat. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]
Vice Mayor Jim Wood, who returns to represent the Lynnhaven District, is sworn in by Circuit Court Judge Leslie L. Lilley on Tuesday, Jan. 8, at City Hall. Seen with Wood is one of his grandchildren, James N. Wood, 7. Members of the City Council selected Wood to continue his service as the city’s vice mayor. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

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