Ward: ‘I had to do it’Published 7:23pm Saturday, January 5, 2013
Editor’s note: Following is the second in a series of stories about Suffolk’s two newest members of the City Council. The first story appeared in Saturday’s edition.
One of Suffolk’s two newest City Council members says the timing was perfect for him to make his first run for public office this year.
“I wasn’t really pushed to run; I had to run,” Lue Ward said in a recent interview. “There’s always a moment when you say, ‘I had to do it.’”
Ward, as president of the local chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was an outspoken critic of the city’s redistricting map, which the chapter believed disenfranchised black voters. The plan ultimately was approved by City Council and the U.S. Department of Justice over the NAACP’s objections.
He said he decided to run because of the redistricting process. Some black communities were split into two or even three different voting boroughs, he said.
“I was going to run whatever the map was,” he said. It was just another incentive.
Ward won election over incumbent Robert Barclay, who out-raised him by nearly 15 to 1.
“Everything had to be perfect, and we had our strategy,” said Ward, whose strategy included shunning newspaper interviews and candidate forums. “The strategy worked how we wanted it to work.”
Ward is the owner of Harambee Communications (harambee means “working together” in Swahili and is the official motto of Kenya), which publishes Hampton Roads Happenings and Suffolk Happenings.
Since winning election, he has stepped down as president of the NAACP. He said he is looking forward to serving the city.
“It’s part of a new adventure,” he said. “I want to be a good councilman and serve the people, not only the Nansemond Borough but the whole city of Suffolk.”
Ward said he hopes to offer assistance to older communities he feels have been neglected.
“Some things are going on that haven’t been taken care of,” he said, naming communities like College Square, Pughsville and Belleville that are dealing with problems like flooding and open ditches. “Whatever they talk to me about, I will let them know what can be done. A lot of things I know you just can’t do it right now, but get it in the plan.”
Ward has been married for 38 years and has five children and three grandchildren.
“My family was very instrumental” in the election, Ward said. “The Lord blessed me.”
Ward said he’ll aim to serve the community in a way he won’t regret.
“I want to look back and say, ‘I did a good job,’” he said.