Andria McClellan

City Councilmember

Norfolk, VA

Andria McClellan is using her experience as an entrepreneur, civic leader and community activist, parent of three school-aged children, and former Planning Commissioner to make meaningful and progressive changes to the city of Norfolk, Virginia. Unseating a 16-year incumbent in 2016, she was elected to serve a Superward City Council seat for the second largest city in Virginia because of her pro-growth, innovation platform which focused on improving public schools; diversifying the economy in a city home to the largest Naval Base in the world; finding innovative solutions and funding to address sea level rise; and, creating a more engaged, accessible and transparent city government.

Andria has served on numerous boards and commission throughout the city, the region and the state, including the Virginia Small Business Advisory Board, the Virginia Family & Children’s Trust Fund, and the Local Government Advisory Committee for the EPA’s Chesapeake Bay Program. She began her career working in sales and marketing for two Fortune 500 companies, after which she ran two start-up enterprises (one in manufacturing and one in tech). Andria earned her B.A. from the University of Virginia and graduated from the Wharton Management Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She is also a proud graduate of the CIVIC Leadership Institute and U.Va’s Sorensen Political Leaders Program.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared


Following the Women's March in DC in February 2017, many had come home with a strong desire to “do something” to make a difference -- beyond a march or protest -- but weren’t sure how. They wanted to connect with their elected officials; to learn how to run for office or support someone who was; and, to connect to groups who were making our community a better place. Organizations and leaders needed a way to reach those very people. Websites were helpful, but the ability to have personal interaction was invaluable.


Engage Norfolk was a civic one-stop-shop that allowed residents to transform their passions into action by connecting with local organizations at the CivicFAIR, meeting elected officials, and learning through Civic 101 Workshops. The event drew more than 1000 attendees and over 100 organizations, with volunteer speakers presenting half a dozen civic workshops on a variety of topics. Elected leaders from local, state and federal offices all came together to meet with their constituents in one place. Engage Norfolk also required minimal monetary investment (less than $1K) thanks to using low-cost online organization tools (Mail Chimp, Sign Up Genius, and Squarespace), and social media for publicity of the event. Due to the event's success and popularity, we will be holding Engage 2.0 in 2018, and we expect even bigger crowds and participation.


Norfolk, a community with 144 miles of coast line, home to the largest naval base in the world and one of the busiest seaports in the country, is experiencing sea level rise, sinking land and more intense precipitation events, a combination which requires us to actively address flooding. Because of climate change, we are now planning for 1.5’ of sea level rise by 2050, 3’ by 2080 and 4.5’ by 2100. Tidal flooding is now regularly inundating areas, even on sunny days, referred to now as “nuisance flooding.” Because of climate change and increased and more intense precipitation, “rain bombs” are now dumping inches of rain in a short period of time, creating chaos and flooding that damages our structures.


Recognizing that Norfolk needs to learn to “live with the water,” we updated our zoning code to encourage and require flood-resilient development:
• elevated building requirements (between 16” to 3’ above base flood elevation)
• a Coastal Resilience Overlay (limited parking and impervious pavement, additional landscaping and open space); Upland Resilience Overlay (reduction of resilience requirements allowed in exchange for placing conservation easements on higher-risk properties)
• a “Resilient Quotient,: a point-based system for new development to mitigate risk (e.g. impact resistant roof and windows, storm shutters), sustainable energy (e.g. wiring for solar panel or generator); and stormwater (holding water on site after precipitation).