Despite legal problems, Virginia Beach Mayor Sessoms says he’s running for re-election

Posted at 8:41 PM, Feb 22, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-22 23:01:02-05

Virginia Beach, Va. - Despite his legal problems over the last 15 months, Virginia Beach Mayor William Sessoms says he’s running for re-election.

NewsChannel 3 was invited his home to talk to him about this announcement.

Mayor Will Sessoms told NewsChannel 3 over a week ago that he was leaning towards running, but had not made up his mind.  Monday morning he announced he is going for it.

Sessoms explained what went into his thought process, “A lot of soul-searching. A lot of conversations with my family and hearing from the public.”

He said people reaching out to him to show support to him in his darkest days really helped him come to the relations that he wants another term in office.

In December he pled no contest to one count of violating the state’s conflict law.

“To sit back and tell you that the last 15 months has not been tough on my family I'd be lying to you."

Mayor Sessoms used to be a president of TowneBank and said he didn't know back in 2014 the bank was involved in a rezoning issue that he was voting for.

The issue was first investigated by the Virginian Pilot.

“I will continue to say that I'm sorry that I made a technical mistake but I'll also remind people a thorough investigation was done about me and made it perfectly clear there's no personal gain for me or any benefit for my former employer,” said Sessoms.

Now he says there's more work to be done and he wants to diversify the economy. ​

“The economy is based on defense, tourism and agriculture.  We got to put that fourth leg in there and I believe it's going to be biomed or biomed and broadband,” said Sessoms.

Mayor Sessoms supports expanding Light Rail throughout the region which is an issue that some are divided on.

“I probably won’t vote for him because he is pushing light rail and we are not in financial support of that deal,” said Virginia Beach resident Jim Hagerty.

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Others praise the work he’s done for the city and don’t care about his legal problems.

“Everybody make mistakes and doesn’t seem like it’s a real big one,” said Virginia Beach resident Lewis Hastie "I think in many respects he's done a really good job.  As for re-election he probably doesn't have anyone that going to be able to compete with him."

Sessoms said he is proud of the work he did for the city despite dealing with the legal problems.

“We kept moving the city forward.  Clearly, I had a cloud over my head but we were dealing with that to the best of our ability and we did not want to interfere with the operations of the city.”

Mayors Sessoms says he has no idea who plans to run against him in November but says he is ready for another battle.

“I think if you ask people that live in Virginia Beach, the quality of life for the price they pay I believe that they would say it's a pretty good deal,” said Sessoms.