Missy's headshot

Missy Cotter Smasal’s life has always been guided by her passion for service and leadership. She has served as an officer in the United States Navy, and owned and operated a successful small business. She’s a dedicated parent, coach, and volunteer, and has advocated for safety in Virginia Beach schools. And today, she’s running to be your state senator.

missy in military outfit

Missy’s military career began with a Naval ROTC scholarship to Villanova University, where she graduated with honors in 2000. She also served as a Surface Warfare Officer in the US Navy and was deployed aboard the USS Trenton (LPD-14) during Operation Enduring Freedom. After completing active duty, she earned a master’s degree from Old Dominion University, and completed the Distance Education Command and Staff Program with the Naval War College.

missy at ritas talking to worker

When her career and family brought Missy to Virginia Beach, she quickly became a leader in the community. From volunteering and coaching youth programs in basketball and soccer, to serving on the executive board of the PTA, Missy took action and worked hard to help build a community that could serve as a model for Virginia, and for the country. She also owned and operated a Rita’s Italian Ice and Custard franchise that not only became one of the most successful in the area, but also employed hundreds of high school and college students from local schools.

school locks

When her daughter started elementary school in 2017, Missy was inspired to take her passion for leadership a step further. She discovered in the fall that Virginia Beach Elementary Schools did not lock their front doors during the day. When she expressed concern and was met with disinterest and opposition, she took matters in her own hands and collected over 2,500 signatures to present in a petition to the school board. A year later, and schools across the city and now locked, with cameras and buzzers installed to help better protect our kids.

If elected to the State Senate

Missy Cotter Smasal will work within the community to build a safe, environmentally resilient, and economically strong Virginia Beach.