VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Virginia Beach Councilwoman Jessica Abbott announced her resignation from the city council Friday afternoon due to medical concerns.
Abbott, who ran for the Kempsville district seat in 2016 and was re-elected in 2020, said in a statement that "Virginia Beach and Kempsville deserve a representative who can be 100% focused on the city's needs. Regrettably, that is not something I can do right now."
In the statement, Abbott said she hoped that the council would "utilize this time to appoint someone who will be dedicated to serving the people of Virginia Beach" to temporarily fill the vacant Kempsville seat, and requested that a special election be held in November to fill the seat permanently.
Abbott's full statement is as follows:
"It is with deep sadness that I announce my resignation from the Virginia Beach City Council effective immediately. I want to express my deepest sincerity to the people of this fantastic city for the opportunity you bestowed upon me to be your representative. Unfortunately, due to recent health events, I must take some time to focus on my health and well-being.
"In 2016 I ran to be the Kempsville representative because I loved Virginia Beach, and I love The Kempsville District. Public service is always about putting your community first. Virginia Beach and Kempsville deserve a representative who can be 100% focused on the city's needs. Regrettably, that is not something I can do right now. My decision to resign weighs heavily on my heart, but my health and family deserve my full attention.
"My time as a Councilmember has been a tremendous learning experience. Working for the great people of this city has been an honor and a privilege that I will always cherish. I want to thank the City staff who have always lended their knowledge and aid to me, my colleagues on Council who have shared their insight and experiences with me, and the residents who keep me informed, enlightened, and amazed by their perseverance and resilience.
"Kempsville and Virginia Beach face many challenges, but I believe we have an incredible future ahead of us as well. I am hopeful that one day I may be able to return and earn the opportunity to serve our city again. But, until then, I hope that Council will utilize this time to appoint someone who will be dedicated to serving the people of Virginia Beach to fill the Kempsville seat temporarily, as well as schedule a special election this November so that the Kempsville District remains represented and reflective of this unique community.
"Everyone - thank you so much for this opportunity."
At 27 when she was elected in 2016, Abbott was the youngest-ever person and the first Millennial elected to Virginia Beach's city council.
This is a developing story.