Advocacy & Local Government


Advocacy & Local Government
Added on July 6, 2023 to Chamber Voices

Advocacy & Local Government

The Hampton Roads Chamber’s young professional program, tHRive, hosted a forum on Advocacy & Local Government with local elected officials this past month at Assembly in Downtown Norfolk. Included in the panel were Norfolk Vice Mayor Martin Thomas, Virginia Beach Councilmembers Michael Berlucchi and Jennifer Rouse, and Portsmouth Councilman Vernon Tillage.

Two of the speakers, Rouse and Tillage, are new to their councils this year and spoke about how they are learning to interact with fellow councilmembers and the public. The veterans on council, Thomas and Berlucchi, spoke about how things have changed over the years and how the localities are working together on issues that impact the region.

Topics of discussion from the audience were related to how to get more involved. Council members said there are various boards and commissions where citizens can serve. They encouraged the young members of tHRive to apply for these boards and meet with council members in their respective cities to get appointed.

As Hampton Roads grows and becomes more of one region, councilmembers said that the things that used to divide localities are now fading. Thomas and Berlucchi spoke about the old battles for water supply that occurred between Norfolk and Virginia Beach in the 1980’s. They both said that issues like that today are not as divisive as they used to be, due to the regional organizations that support all localities on issues that impact growth and services.

This is the first forum of this type and the members of tHRive plan on hosting additional forums with elected officials where their members can learn how government works as well as how to get involved.

To learn more about tHRive, visit: tHRive:Young Professionals of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce (

Find more blog posts from the Chamber at: Hampton Roads Chamber Blog | Business To Business Connection (

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