Mayor Rick West has dedicated his life to Chesapeake Public Schools. For 30 years, Mayor West worked in the classroom as a teacher and served as principal of four schools: Southeastern Elementary, Great Bridge Intermediate and Hickory and Greenbrier middle schools. Rick continues to be grateful that he was given the honor of having the gym at Greenbrier Middle School named in his honor.

Mayor West knows parents move their families to Chesapeake so their children can receive the award-winning education this city is known for. In fact, Chesapeake Public Schools are 100% percent accredited.

Rick graduated from Chesapeake Public Schools in 1970 from Great Bridge High School. He is proud that he began his educational experience in Chesapeake Public Schools. He is even prouder that he, along with many other Chesapeake educators, helped prepare thousands of students for their futures, whether their desires were to attend college or pursue career development through strong technical education classes. Chesapeake students have, and continue to have, an educational system dedicated to strong academic standards.

Mayor West strongly believes that our students have succeeded because of an amazingly strong team of caring individuals who realize the importance of uniting for the benefit of our children. When students experience the guidance, love and concern within their educational environment, statistics show a much greater level of success in their educational experiences. Chesapeake has always benefitted from a strong support system of parents, teachers and student alumni.

Mayor West is as committed as ever to a strong working relationship between Chesapeake City Council, Chesapeake School Board, parents and educators. Together, they continue to build on the exceptional reputation the Chesapeake Public School System has always enjoyed.

Public Safety

As mayor, Rick West has experienced first-hand the excellence of our Chesapeake Police Department. Under the leadership of Chief of Police Kelvin Wright, over 525 police officers and civilian personnel work daily to patrol and protect over 353 miles within Chesapeake’s city limits. Our Sheriff’s Department, under the leadership of Sheriff Jim O’Sullivan, and the Chesapeake Fire Department, led by Chief Ed Elliott, also work diligently to ensure the safety of over 242,000 Chesapeake citizens. These men and women serve the city with dedication, determination and sacrifice. Although, at times, these jobs can be challenging and unpredictable, Chesapeake’s law enforcement officers and first responders wear their uniforms with a great sense of pride. This is shown by the fact that Chesapeake has been previously recognized as the sixth safest city in America.

In 2018, Mayor West initiated and established a joint school/city safety task force. However, all one needs to do is watch the news to realize that our leaders must serve as watchmen so they will be prepared for any potential harm that threatens the safety of Chesapeake’s citizens.

Members from Chesapeake’s city government, the school system and the law enforcement community joined to assess the city’s safety procedures to see what additional security measures could be implemented. As a result of this task force, Chesapeake Public Schools have been equipped with upgraded technology. Cameras have been installed at every entry point in each of our schools. Additionally, visitors to our schools are required to “buzz in” to gain access to the building.

This joint task force continues to meet each month so members can learn about ongoing security needs and safety concerns. Mayor West continues to make safety a top priority in Chesapeake.

Economic Development & Responsible Growth

In 2010, two years into Mayor Rick West’s first term on the Chesapeake City Council, he was excited about the potential for the city. At the same time, he recognized the challenges of an economic downturn that impacted Chesapeake, as well as most localities across America.

Ten years later, Chesapeake is experiencing prosperity, success and growth that have outpaced even the rosiest of forecasts. In Greenbrier, residents find Summit Pointe on the campus of the Fortune 200 Dollar Tree Corporate Headquarters. This project will continue to provide opportunities for good-paying jobs and serve as a showcase for other corporations which might be considering Chesapeake as their home. Dollar Tree alone has invested over $300 million in Chesapeake resulting in additional revenue for the city.

Other economic development success stories are:

  • Mitsubishi Corp. has expanded to 60 additional acres in Western Branch;
  • Sumitomo Machinery will expand its North American Headquarters in Cavalier Industrial Park to 100,000 square feet;
  • Cloverleaf Cold Storage is investing $21 million at its facility in Cavalier Industrial Park.

Mayor West is also extremely excited to announce that another major corporation will be moving to this great city soon.

With the city’s larger corporations and the small and medium-size businesses that have been the heartbeat of America since birth, Chesapeake’s future is brighter than ever! With $2 billion in capital investments over the last decade, it is apparent that Chesapeake is open for business. In 10 short years, the city has welcomed more than 12,000 new jobs. Healthy commercial growth is vital to keep citizens from bearing unreasonable tax burdens.

Mayor West has also spent a great deal of time discussing residential growth with Chesapeake’s citizens. Although opinions can be diverse, most agree that RESPONSIBLE GROWTH must begin by adhering to excellent levels of service and the city’s comprehensive plan. From there, Rick knows how important it is to maintain Chesapeake’s quality of life, undeniable character, safe neighborhoods and excellent schools. These important factors will always play an important role in development decisions.

“A society grows great when old men plant trees in whose shade they know they shall never sit.” (Ancient Greek Proverb)

Baby Boomers & Beyond

Yes, Rick West is a proud baby boomer! He’s not alone. As of 2019, Baby Boomers are the fastest growing age group in the United States. While the numbers vary slightly from source to source, 2019 statistics estimated 72 million Baby Boomers live in America.

The numbers can be attributed to many things, including a decade of optimism after World War II, a more health-conscious society, the many opportunities afforded to aging adults today to remain active and the advances in healthcare technology and education.

An article that appeared in The Virginian-Pilot on July 14, 2017 reported that researchers predict that Virginia’s senior population will double by 2030. Likewise, Chesapeake’s over-65 population is predicted to reach 50,537 by 2030 according to the annual Statistical Report released by the City of Chesapeake in August 2018. These numbers more than double the 2010 census findings.

Mayor West encourages seniors to visit the City of Chesapeake website where several resources are available from financial assistance to programs and classes. As Chesapeake grows and businesses choose to locate here, more opportunities will become available to today’s active seniors.

To keep his finger on the pulse of this population, Rick often visits a local Hardee’s or McDonald’s restaurant in the morning to start the day and hear from retirees who are still quite knowledgeable about local, state and federal governments. He often mentions that these visits are one of his favorite things to do.

Good Government & Leadership

In the 2019 LIFE IN HAMPTON ROADS SURVEY REPORT conducted by Old Dominion University, Chesapeake ranked FIRST in Hampton Roads with a whopping 89.7% rating for citizen satisfaction and quality of life.

Additionally, in recent years, the excellent leadership and spending priorities of Chesapeake’s leaders have been recognized nationwide.

The results are clear:

  • Top 10 Best-Managed Cities in America (24/7 Wall Street)
  • Top 10 Best Cities for Families (Wallet Hub)
  • Small Business Community of the Year (SBA)
  • Eight Years of Double-Digit Business Growth
  • AAA Bond Rating (Standard & Poor’s and Fitch)
  • Chesapeake rated #1 out of 180 of cities in America and Canada for top performing city audit functions (Institute of Internal Auditors Research Foundation)
  • Chesapeake Public Schools are 100% ACCREDITED
  • Chesapeake Public Schools have a 94 percent graduation rate

Civility in America

If you follow the news today, you will constantly hear about the polarization of America. Political pundits have differing opinions on when this great divide originated. What is certain is that no one can predict when our country will return to a more civil discourse while debating the issues that divide us.

When Mayor Rick West was elected as Chesapeake’s mayor, this polarization was already in existence. One of Rick’s primary objectives when he took the oath of office to serve Chesapeake’s citizens was to be known as a consensus builder. To become a successful consensus builder, one must learn to listen to both sides of an issue. It is important that citizens are given the opportunity to share their concerns and passions regarding the city they have chosen as their home. He has worked hard to diligently listen to opposing views, do his homework and provide a solution that he believes will best serve Chesapeake.

Mayor West often says: “There is one thing we can all agree upon, we will not always agree.” Not everyone will be pleased with the outcome of votes on various issues; however, Mayor West believes if people commit to the process with facts, understanding, patience and respect, Chesapeake will serve as a shining example of civility in government in America.