Four candidates for Blacksburg Town Council – two who are on the official ballot and two who are running as write-ins – will discuss town issues during a Candidate Forum Thursday, Oct. 5, 7- 8:30 p.m.
The forum will be held in the Blacksburg Town Council Chambers at 300 S. Main St., Blacksburg.
The forum is sponsored by the League of Women Voters and the NAACP-Montgomery Co-Radford City-Floyd Co Branch. Local citizens who attend will be invited to submit questions to the candidates on town issues.
The candidates include incumbents Michael Sutphin and Jerry Ford Jr. who are on the official ballot as well as two candidates, Rick Johnson and Liam Watson, who are running as write-ins.
The Town Council has three vacancies so at least one of the two write-in candidates seems likely to be elected to the council.
The Town Council race has already generated community debate and discussion about the town’s growth, the lack of affordable housing, how to cope with Virginia Tech’s growth and its impact on the town as well as other issues.
The four candidates will each have time for an opening statement and will then answer questions submitted by the audience. Each candidate will also have a closing statement.
Ford, one of two incumbents, represents the town on the New River Valley Passenger Rail Station Authority. His campaign statement calls for “development and redevelopment that occurs in a planned and reasonable manner guided by shared community values.”
Sutphin is running for his fourth term on the Town Council. He came to Blacksburg in 2002 as a student and was first elected to the council at the age of 27. He supports “a wide range of capital projects that revitalize our downtown, expand our trail system and recreation amenities, make transportation improvements, and replace our aging water and sewer lines.”
Johnson, who spent over a dozen years as the director of Housing and Dining Services at Virginia Tech, said he decided to run after hearing about disappointment among some town citizens with how the current town council has voted on several development projects.
Watson, a Blacksburg native, has served on the town’s Planning Commission where his focus was on “making Blacksburg more accessible for working families, while also protecting what we love a bout our hometown.”a
Submitted by the League of Women Voters