This is an interview with Ben Davenport, Virginia Beach City Councilman:
What is unique about protecting Virginia’s resources?
Virginia Beach is a striking mix of diverse environments. To name a few, we have the beach, the bay, marshlands, and farmland. It is important that we protect each of those environments and all that comes with them. For example, the Lynnhaven River has long been known for its oysters. However, in years past, the oyster population dwindled due to overharvesting and pollution. In the past 10 years, the Lynnhaven River oyster population has been restored due to the efforts of both non-profits and governmental regulation, and it is important that their efforts continue. Virginia Beach has a great opportunity to use its wind power to create clean energy. By protecting the resources of Virginia Beach, we also protect jobs and opportunities for generations to come. It is not an either/or — we can protect both.
As a parent are you worried about the effects of climate change on your children and the children of Virginia?
I have two boys, a one-year old and a three-year old. I am very concerned about climate change and what potentially my generation will be leaving for theirs. Particularly in Virginia Beach, a city that is surrounded by water, much of it being in flood zones. Sea level rise is one of the most difficult problems we are going to be facing over the next 20 years. Norfolk is already seeing the effects when a simple high tide begins covering city streets. It is important that Virginia Beach begin truly planning for how to deal with sea level rise so that potential solutions can be implemented before it is too late. I want my sons to grow up and remain in Virginia Beach. If much of the city begins flooding on a regular basis, it might not be an option.
Why is a bipartisan effort so important and how can these efforts be achieved in our politically polarizing culture?
Though politics has been quite polarizing as of late, I am confident that cooler heads will prevail and start working together. Negotiation and compromise are not bad words. As a businessman, I negotiate and compromise on deals everyday. That is how business gets done. For some reason, in the political world, “my way or the highway” style thinking has become the norm. Nothing substantial will ever get accomplished if that is the way people continue to think. Nothing will ever get the votes needed to pass and gridlock will continue. My parents are on opposite sides of the political spectrum, so I grew up knowing and understanding both sides of most arguments. From my upbringing, I became a true moderate and will work to get things accomplished just like I do in business.
Is there anything you’d like to share that is important for Moms Clean Air Force members to know?
I am a native of Virginia Beach and have lived here all of my life. I truly love this city and want to leave it for my sons and their generation to enjoy. I am the only candidate running that opposes drilling off the coast for oil and natural gas.
Ben Davenport is a councilman from Virginia Beach and a residential real estate broker. He was a realtor in Virginia Beach from 2002-2010 before joining his family real estate business. Ben serves on the Virginia Gentlemen Foundation Board of Directors, Monarch Bank Leadership Board of Directors and was a 2011 recipient of Inside Business’ Top 40 Under 40 program.