By Rosaland Tyler
New Journal and Guide
Councilman Chris Taylor, a Black man serving his first-term on the Virginia Beach City Council, is one of two candidates planning to seek the mayorship. Taylor recently announced his plans to run against the city’s incumbent, Bobby Dyer, who was sworn into office as mayor on Nov. 20, 2018, after a special election was held to replace William Sessoms, who resigned in 2018.
This means Dyer, a Marine veteran and assistant professor at Regent University, will face at least two opponents in Virginia Beach’s upcoming mayoral race: Chris Taylor and John Moss. The election will be held Nov. 5, 2024.
Like Taylor, Moss recently announced his mayoral candidacy. Moss is a retired civilian defense employee, who represented the former Kempsville Borough from 1986 to 1990 and served as an at-large member of the council from 1992 to 1995 and from 2011 to 2022. Moss lost a bid to be reelected to the council this past year. He hosts a social media program on local matters.
Taylor, a small business owner, is serving his first term on the council. Taylor represents District 8.
He recently explained why he is running for mayor in an interview in The Princess Anne Independent News.
“Although I have one year of public service, when you look at the 20 years of experience I’ve had as an adult, in a lot of those areas, I fit the mold,” Taylor said. “I have experience. For me, it’s not how long someone has served. It’s what are the capabilities, what are the qualities and how can they lead?”
Taylor added, “I have an opportunity in my own city to run for a position that has the ability to influence the direction we’re going in for my children. Why would I sit back and not do anything?”
News reports suggest Justin Burns may also run for mayor in Virginia Beach. Burns has sought local office in the past and is listed as a candidate for mayor by the Virginia Public Access Project after opening his campaign account two years ago. However, it is unclear whether he still intends to seek the office.
Currently, four Blacks serve on the 11-member Virginia Beach City Council: Dr. Amelia Ross-Hammond (District 4), Jennifer V. Rouse (District 10), Sabrina D. Wooten (District 7) and Chris Taylor (District 8).
In June 2020, Patrick A. Duhaney became Virginia Beach’s first Black city manager. Duhaney, previously served as Cincinnati’s city manager starting in 2018.
Duhaney also served as Cincinnati’s assistant city manager and chief procurement officer. He also served on the Cincinnati Convention and Visitors Bureau Board of Directors and the Local Initiative Support Corporation’s Emerging Leaders Council located in New York, according to news reports.
Duhaney has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and urban studies from Cleveland State University in Ohio and a master’s degree in community planning from the University of Cincinnati.