NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The race for Norfolk mayor grew by one more candidate on Monday. Councilman Andy Protogyrou formally announced his candidacy.
Protogyrou said at his announcement in the Denby Park neighborhood, an area the city has worked to revitalize over the last few years, that he wouldn’t be running for mayor without the support of fellow city officials.
“If it wasn’t for the support of the people behind me, I wouldn’t be standing here,” said Protogyrou. “I don’t want to let them down.”
The councilman was joined by his wife, Vice Mayor Angelia Williams Graves, Councilwoman Mamie Johnson, and Councilman Tommy Smigiel. Also at the Monday news conference was Commissioner of Revenue Evans Poston and Clerk of Court George Schaefer.
“This is a council that will work together and to have this kind of support early on is proof in the pudding,” said Protogyrou.
Protogyrou, who has served on council since 2010, is not alone in the race. This summer, longtime Norfolk Sheriff Bob McCabe said he is running for mayor as well. Others are considering entering the race. A source confirmed to WAVY News’ Andy Fox State Sen. Kenny Alexander is considering running for the position.
Norfolk’s mayor of 22 years, Paul Fraim, said at the beginning of October he would not run for the office again.
Protogyrou said Monday, his top priority would be bringing in business that can work with the schools. The candidate said fully funding schools is at the top of his list, which plays a role in attracting business to the city.
“If you don’t have the businesses backing the schools, and the schools in turn being the lure for people to stay in Norfolk and to come to Norfolk, we’ll never be successful,” explained Protogyrou.
Protogyrou also brought up federal funding for flood mitigation as a priority in the Ocean View, East Beach and throughout the city. He explained an idea for an annual conference in Norfolk on flood mitigation, taking advantage of the various universities in the city.
Protogyrou also talked about regional cooperation and specifically mentioned when Virginia Beach city council voted against a road earlier this year that would have benefited a major Norfolk project: the outlet mall located off Northampton Boulevard.
“I’ve always said on day one, as soon as I win, we’re calling Virginia Beach, we’re setting up a meeting, were going to talk to them,” Protogyrou laid out. “Have their economic developer tell us what’s going on, we’re going to have ours tell him what we’re doing. And then we end that meeting with, ‘What can we do for you and how can we help you.'”