RADFORD – Mayor Thomas Starnes is making another run for the mayor’s seat on Radford City Council.
Starnes confirmed Tuesday he has picked up his petition and has started garnering the required signatures to run for re-election this May. Starnes has served as mayor for more than 31 years and has been on city council for 35 years.
Starnes said he knows the next few years will be “very difficult financially” and hopes his experience will help the city through the tough times if he is re-elected.
“There are a lot of challenges out there for us over the next few years and I think with my experience I’ll be able to provide some leadership,” he said.
“No question we’re going to have to do some things differently than we have been,” he continued. “There are certain core services we need to provide as a community – education, security and infrastructure – but we need to look at what services are essential and how we can provide them most economically.”
“And we’ve got to create opportunities for employment in the City of Radford. The businesses and the jobs we’ve lost over the past year will have a significant impact on revenue. We have to be pursuing new opportunities.”
Starnes said some of the things the city has been able to do over the past four years make Radford perfectly poised for such opportunities – from sewer and storm water infrastructure improvements to the new elementary school and library addition, which he said can help draw people into the city.
Starnes said he feels his experience will also be helpful in the upcoming transition in the city manager’s office. City Manager Tony Cox will be leaving the city in the coming weeks. Assistant City Manager David Ridpath will serve as interim city manager.
May’s city council election will include three seats up for re-election – the mayor’s seat and two council seats. Those two seats are currently held by Council members Dr. Bruce Brown and Laurie Buchwald, who have not yet announced their intentions for the upcoming election.
Starnes is a charter member and former chair of the New River Resource Authority, a 34-year member and current chair of the New River District Planning Commission, a member of the Radford Chamber of Commerce board of directors, former president of the Virginia Municipal League and a member of the Board of Trustees of Carilion New River Valley Medical Center, among other affiliations.
He is retired from Alliant Techsystems Inc. after 38 years service, during which he held numerous management positions in production, maintenance and engineering.