Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones gives inaugural state of the city address

Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones gives inaugural state of the city address

March 5, 2024

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — Newport News Mayor Phillip Jones held his inaugural state of the city address at Christopher Newport University on Tuesday night.

At 34 years old, Jones is the second youngest mayor in the city’s history, with former Mayor Barry DuVal being the youngest, elected by his council members from 1990-1994. Jones is the youngest to be elected citywide as mayor.

Jones and his team gave an energetic introduction and address to a gym filled with 500 of the city’s changemakers.

“It is an honor to be here tonight to deliver my first state of the city address,” Jones said.

Jones started his term just before a 6-year-old student shot his teacher at Richneck Elementary School, catapulting the city in the national spotlight.

“Parents, children, teachers, faculty and residents were understandably frightened. How does a community recover? How can you come back from a school shooting,” Jones said Tuesday.

In the year that followed, the city and school district secured funding for metal detectors in every school, a director of school safety and a city gun violence intervention program.

Jones also revealed plans for a state-of-the-art early childhood center in partnership with Peake in the southeast community and a new safety initiative comprised of an office of community safety, a hospital-based violence intervention program, a violence prevention manager and investing in youth sports programs.

“It’s going to be a collaborate effort between my office and the city manager’s office. I think it’s important that we level up that office and I need visibility on it,” Jones explained. “My goal is to reduce gun violence by 15% over the next 18 months. We have the plans to do it.”

Jones also applauded city efforts to build back tourism to nearly pre-pandemic levels.

“In Newport News we are capitalizing on the growing sports tourism industry. Next month the tour of Newport News will return to the city. This is the largest bike race in Virginia,” Jones stated.

The mayor’s final message of the night — get involved and mentor the city’s young people.

“I’m asking each of you to step up and to build forward,” Jones concluded.

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