John L. Rowe, Jr.

City Council
Title: Mayor
Phone: 757-393-8746
John Rowe Pic (228x290)

Mailing Address: 
P. O. Box 820
Portsmouth, VA 23705

Term Expires: December 31, 2020

The Honorable Mayor John L. Rowe, Jr.

John was elected Mayor of the City of Portsmouth, Virginia on November 8, 2016 to take office for a four-year term starting January 1, 2017.  In a field of six candidates running for the Mayor's seat in November 2016, John received 50% of the vote.  He grew up in Portsmouth, and Portsmouth is his hometown.

John has a unique combination of nearly four and one-half decades of public administration experience in the Commonwealth of Virginia – more than three decades in local government management within the Hampton Roads region (on both the Peninsula and the south side of the Hampton Roads) and nearly a decade in public higher education as a college vice president for finance and administration.

Furthermore, John helped create several of the regional public authorities that are working within the Hampton Roads today - notably, the Tidewater Transportation District Commission which is predecessor to our current HRT - and - the Southeastern Virginia Public Service Authority (SPSA). 

Lastly, serving as chairman of the regional planning district commission for the south side of the Hampton Roads (the former Southeastern Planning District Commission) in the 1980s, John was part of the leadership that brought about the consolidation of the Peninsula Planning District Commission and the Southeastern Virginia Planning District Commission to create the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission.

John was educated in the Portsmouth Public School System – he attended James Hurst, John Tyler, Harry Hunt, and he graduated from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1962.

He is a Distinguished Military Graduate of the Virginia Military Institute, Class of 1966.

John received a Regular Army Commission upon graduation from VMI – served five years (1966 to 1971) in the United States Army as a commissioned officer in the Army’s Infantry branch.  

Served as a platoon leader and company commander of a Mechanized Infantry Rifle Company in Germany

Served as a combat advisor to an infantry battalion of the Regular Army of the Republic of South Vietnam

Served as Assistant Professor of Military Science at Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), Murfreesboro, Tennessee

While at MTSU – completed graduate course work, Masters of Public Administration program and decided to switch careers to local government management

His military awards include the Bronze Star, Air Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster, the Army Commendation Medal with First Oak Leaf Cluster and “V” Device, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star, the Vietnamese Armed Forces Honor Medal (First Class), the Combat Infantryman Badge, and the Parachutist Badge. 

John began his work in local government in 1971 working for the then Norfolk City Manager, Bob House.  When Bob became City Manager of Suffolk in 1975, he took John to Suffolk as his Assistant City Manager.  Subsequently, John's career includes:
Serving as the City Manager of Poquoson, Suffolk, Clifton Forge, Emporia, and Portsmouth.

Serving as the Interim Town Manager for the Town of Windsor, Virginia

His career also includes:

Serving as the Business Executive (Vice President for Finance & Administration) for VMI

Serving as the Church Administrator of his church, Calvary Baptist Church, Portsmouth, Virginia

During his career, John has served on numerous boards and commissions including economic development authorities, various Chamber of Commerce boards, and a hospital Board.  He is the immediate past Treasurer for Emily Green Shores Assisted Living in Portsmouth.  

John also served for a decade on the Board of Directors for Portsmouth Volunteers Homeless, and he was Board President for three years.  He has served on the Board of Directors for Future of Hampton Roads and the Hampton Roads Center for Civic Engagement.  He is the President of Western Tidewater Chapter of the VMI Alumni Association, trustee/deacon/Sunday School teacher (for the past 15 years) at Calvary Baptist Church. 

John is married to Carol Evangelo Rowe of Portsmouth, Virginia.  Carol is a native of Portsmouth, and she is a 1965 graduate of Wilson High School and a graduate of James Madison University (JMU).  They have two adult children and three grandchildren.

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