Harris: ‘Help the people’

Published 9:51 pm Tuesday, October 25, 2016

A local business owner and teacher is among those running for the Whaleyville Borough seat on City Council.



Vanessa Harris owns Harris Funeral Home and also teaches civics at King’s Fork Middle School.

“I want to help the people,” she said. “I want to be a voice for the people.”

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Harris grew up in the Saratoga neighborhood, which is in the Whaleyville Borough. She graduated from John F. Kennedy High School and studied music at Elizabeth City State University. She then earned another degree in education at Norfolk State University and also has a mortuary degree.

She has been in the funeral business since 1975 and started her own business, Harris Funeral Home on Carolina Road, in 2002.

Harris said education is one of the areas she wants to focus on if elected to City Council.

“Being on the inside, I can see some of the things teachers are facing,” she said. “I want us to have a stronger educational system.”

To accomplish that, she would like to see more open dialogue between City Council and the School Board.

Public safety is another area where Harris will concentrate.

“I wholeheartedly believe in public safety,” she said. “We really need that.”

She said she would like to review speed limits in neighborhoods with the goal of reducing them where needed. She also would like to make sure the police and fire departments have the equipment they need to operate successfully.

Harris also said she is concerned about the community’s seniors and will focus on them during her term if elected.

“There’s so many seniors,” she said. “We have to take care of these seniors, because they are the root of these communities.”

Economic development is another area of focus for Harris.

“Suffolk has grown, but we can’t forget downtown,” Harris said. “We can’t forget our own small businesses. They need help to stay in business. We’ve got to continue to support the little businesses.”

Overall, Harris said, she wants to promote open government and be available.

“I want the City Council to be a little more open,” she said. “The people feel everything is kept from them. My job is to make sure I am always available to the citizens.”