A Special Message from Dante´ Walston
Greetings to the citizens of Portsmouth! I’m Dante’ Walston and I would like to serve on the Portsmouth City Council. I am ready, willing and able to lead with full transparency and accountability for my actions as your humble public servant. Since I have lived in Portsmouth, I have fallen in love with this city, but I know we can do better. We must do better. I want to enhance the quality of life across the board for each and every Portsmouth
resident. A vote for me on November 3, 2020, will bring “Progress for Portsmouth.”
As your next Portsmouth City Councilman, Dante’ Walston will work diligently to make sure every student attending Portsmouth Public Schools has equal access to the tools and technology to graduate and succeed in the real world. Portsmouth’s graduation rate of 85.2% in 2019 puts the school system in the bottom 10% of Virginia districts. Portsmouth must do better. Dante’ will fight for more funding for schools and for teachers’ salaries so students can grow, learn and achieve. He also will make sure he establishes and maintains a professional, working relationship with the Portsmouth Public School Board, so those responsible for spending taxpayer money on schools strives to raise the educational bar for Portsmouth’s children.
Portsmouth residents should not live in fear of crime. Everyone has the right to feel safe in their city, in their neighborhoods. Dante’ Walston knows quality of life hinges greatly on community safety so he plans on making sure that myriad vacancies within the Portsmouth police and fire departments are filled. No 911 call should have a delayed response because of lack of first responders to heed the call. He wants to ensure that the street lights in neighborhoods are on, and, if they break, the issue is immediately taken care of. Dante’ has plans to help raise the salaries of Portsmouth’s first responders to allow them to commit to staying in Portsmouth rather than leave to take a higher paying job in another Hampton Roads city. It’s time to shed Portsmouth’s reputation of being a violent city and replace it with action to take back the city’s safety.
It’s no secret that the implementation of tolls at the Downtown and Midtown Tunnels to and from Portsmouth put a straightjacket on Portsmouth’s economic growth. Downtown stopped being a bustling epicenter on the rise to visitors and the working people of Portsmouth got saddled with a cost that is crippling to their pocketbooks. Dante’ Walston, as a Portsmouth City Councilman, wants to enhance the conditions for businesses in entrepreneurs in Olde Towne, Craddock, Churchland, Port Norfolk and beyond. Business owners, particular with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, need tax incentives and other ways to keep their doors open and to keep the citizens of Portsmouth working. Our business owners need better support services to realize the dream of expansion and prosperity. City leaders need to be the ambassadors of that change. Dante’ also wants to return Portsmouth to the days when visitors came and walked the streets, shopped, dined and enjoyed the views of a beautiful, historic city on the Western Branch of the Elizabeth River.
Tolls, enacted several years ago, stymied Portsmouth’s economy and saddled its residents with an unfair tax of sorts. Dante’ Walston, once elected, with help petition elected leaders at the General Assembly in Richmond to find an equitable solution to eliminating the tolls for Portsmouth residents. There are answers that can be explored, like toll vouchers, relief from funds from a casino, if built in Portsmouth, and transponder relief. There are incentives that won’t take the bite out of Portsmouth residents’ pockets. It’s time Portsmouth got a break, and Dante’ will be the elected leader to see this change through.
Portsmouth’s older neighborhoods were built for pedestrians and bikes and supported more ways to get around other than with a car. As the city grew, newer areas and neighborhoods became spread out and almost guaranteed cars would rule how people got around. Dante’ Walston wants to make sure the city jumps into the 21 st century by not only taking care of those overburdened roads with the big potholes, but he also wants to make sure residents have choices on how to safely traverse the city, from walking to bicycles to public transportation. The system is antiquated and Dante’ will work to adopt a plan to fix existing, persistent road problems and expedite a way for intermodal transportation to become a way of life within the city’s borders.
It is critical in Portsmouth to have leaders who are serious about solving the city’s ever-growing flooding and drainage issues, especially in Portsmouth’s low-to-moderate income neighborhoods. Perception has become reality, that citizens have lost faith in their elected government officials when it comes to long-term flood control. Dante’ Walston knows he must fight for money to help with Portsmouth flooding issues, not only to curtail it but to boost the city’s resiliency long into the future. He also wants to make sure the city workers adhere to a strict schedule of cleaning out drainage ditches so they don’t become clogged and cause overflow water on roads. It’s time to stop passing the buck when it comes to flood control in Portsmouth, and Dante’ is the man to do it.
Everyone deserves a roof over his or her head. Portsmouth has gotten behind the curve in providing alternatives that residents can afford. Dante’ Walston plans to work with the Portsmouth Redevelopment and Housing Authority to make sure everyone has a safe, healthy place to call home. There are ways other cities in Hampton Roads are enacting to be successful when it comes to providing their residents with nice, easy-to- afford homes. Dante’ will work hard to improve the quality of life for all residents, to bring jobs that build houses or renovate existing houses, and he will make sure it’s done equitably and transparently. Portsmouth deserves that.