CHC Welcomes Aaron Rouse, Candidate for City Council


Photo Credit: Esmel Meeks

What do a former NFL player and a Congressional Campaign manager have in common? These men grew up together in Virginia Beach and are working to get one of them elected to office. Former NFL player, Aaron Rouse, and his longtime friend, Esmel Meeks, met with the Upper School Journalism students on Tuesday morning. Aaron Rouse is one of six candidates running for one of the At-Large seats on Virginia Beach City Council in November. Together, they shared stories of growing up and going to school together at Birdneck Elementary, Lynnhaven Middle, and First Colonial High School. They followed different college and professional paths, but as fate would have it, they are both back in their native Virginia Beach, hoping voters will elect Aaron to make a difference on the Virginia Beach City Council.

After sharing some personal stories about growing up in Virginia Beach, Aaron shared his experiences of earning a football scholarship to Virginia Tech and ultimately playing for the NFL, first with the Green Bay Packers and later with the New York Giants.  After enduring a car accident in Arizona, he was forced to retire since he had injured his neck and was considered a high risk on the field. At that point in his life, with his sociology degree and his faith in God, he returned to Virginia Beach to be with his family and friends. Developing his own non-profit, Rouse House, Aaron set out to make a difference. “Servant leadership” is how he describes his mission in politics. He wants to represent the people – all types of people – and make individual voices heard.

Likewise, Esmel told the Journalism students about his six years of congressional campaign experience. In that short period of time, he became discouraged by the ugly world of politics and was determined to take a different career path. After reuniting with Aaron, however, he agreed to support him in his bid to win one of the at-large city council seats in the November 6th election. By all accounts, the pair has set the campaign trail on fire, meeting with all sorts of groups who embrace Aaron’s fresh ideas and perspective. With endorsements from Frank Beamer, his former VT football coach, Bruce Smith, NFL Hall of Famer, the VBEA, and a multitude of local businesses and churches, Aaron Rouse has more than a fighting chance come election day.

This past Tuesday, Aaron welcomed questions from our journalism students for the better part of an hour, and the 13 students shared afterward what an impact his message had on them. Without question, he inspired the entire classroom to value their vote and exercise their right in all future elections.

What a memorable experience! Thanks, Aaron and Esmel, for the time and sense of empowerment you gave to the students in your presentation.