Former Virginia Beach Councilman John Uhrin withdraws from appointment process

Posted at 5:40 PM, Apr 20, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-20 17:43:50-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – John Uhrin, former Councilman, has removed himself as a candidate for the Virginia Beach City Council seat.

Uhrin was in the Beach District seat for 12 years before he lost the position to David Nygaard by less than 200 votes in November 2018.

John Uhrin

He claimed Nygaard didn’t live in the Beach District when he decided to run, which made Nygaard ineligible for the seat.

Uhrin submitted a letter to the Virginia Beach City Clerk, explaining his reasons for withdrawing.

“When it became clear that an elected official had not honored this important component, I became one of only 2 people in the city with the legal standing to challenge the election results,” Uhrin’s said in the letter, regarding David Nygaard.

As of now, there are four potential appointees to fill the vacant Beach District seat:

  • Leah Malbon Davenport: Deputy Department Head/Supervisory Attorney, United States Navy
  • Megin Kennett: Client Solutions Executive, AT&T
  • Louisa Strayhorn: Chief Executive Officer, LSA Consulting, Inc.
  • Guy King Tower: retired attorney, mediator, educator and association executive

The full letter that Uhrin submitted is stated below.

Dear Mayor and Councilmembers:

I am honored and thankful to have been selected as one of the five candidates for consideration for the temporary appointment to the Beach District Council seat.  As someone who has been through the appointment process several times, I know what a challenge these decisions are. The pressures must be even greater considering it is to replace the seat of the only member of Virginia Beach City Council to be forcibly removed from office.  The residency requirement of our election system is very important in maintaining the geographical diversity that is so important in the governance of a city of our size. When it became clear that an elected official had not honored this important component, I became one of only 2 people in the city with the legal standing to challenge the election results.  I am glad that I did and am very hopeful that the unanimous and very straight forward decision of the three-judge panel will discourage future candidates from attempting to similarly game the system.

Although I have no regrets in bringing this historic action, it has not been without personal sacrifice.  This legal action, combined with a recount brought on by the closest race in our city’s history and the normal exertion that is a part of any election process, has left me drained and currently lacking in the patience, stamina, and time commitment that I know is necessary to serve as a member of council, especially the challenges of the Beach District.   After much soul searching and discussion with my family, I respectfully ask that you remove my name for consideration of this important appointment.

During my 12 years on council, I am very proud to have been part of many great accomplishments,  During this time we have built over $700 million worth of new roads, 13 new schools, and participated in preserving and restoring the Cavalier Hotel (one of the city’s most recognizable landmarks and the catalyst that made us one of the most attractive tourist draws on the East Coast).  We have protected and encouraged the growth of our military assets, made great strides in bringing high paying jobs in manufacturing, bio medical, and technology. We have consistently properly funded our school system by regularly adding dollars to their budget so that our students did not suffer from the many funding reductions from the state and federal level.  And we did all of this during the largest economic downturn Virginia Beach has ever experienced without laying off one employee and maintaining by far the lowest tax rates in the region.

I have been proud to be a part of these accomplishments, but I list them here not as a statement of what I have done.  In fact, none of these things would have happened without the concurrence and hard work of the majority of council. Even though your appointment for the vacant Beach District seat is only for 6 months, I am very hopeful that you will be able to select someone with a similar shared philosophy that will continue to move the great City of Virginia Beach forward.

I wish you the best of luck in your upcoming deliberations and thank you again for your previous consideration.


John Uhrin