Democratic council candidates pledge to fight poverty, promote economic opportunity

Published: Oct. 28, 2020 at 7:45 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The field of candidates running for Roanoke City Council is crowded this year, with eight candidates running for three seats. It’s a diverse group, and this week, we’ll hear from each of them, in the order they appear on the ballot.

The ballot doesn’t identify their party affiliation, but Democratic nominees Robert Jeffrey, Peter Volosin and Trish White-Boyd top the list.

“I definitely believe we can be the jewel of southwest Virginia,” Jeffrey told WDBJ7 in a recent interview.

During a campaign Jeffrey describes as “one for the ages,” he and his wife are recovering from COVID-19.

A businessman who returned to his hometown after 20 years in Seattle, Jeffrey said his concerns about economic opportunity and gun violence pushed him to run in 2018, and again this year.

“That is what I feel I have a vision for our city,” Jeffrey said, “making sure we are one Roanoke, and a vision to make sure everyone is at the table.”

Like Jeffrey, Peter Volosin grew up in Roanoke, and eventually found his way back with a fresh perspective.

“And I said to myself, why am I doing this in Indonesia, why wouldn’t I go back and use my skills in Roanoke,” Volosin explained.

After working for the World Bank abroad, Volosin put his experience as an urban planner to work in western Virginia.

“I want to see the city thrive,” Volosin said. “I want to reduce that poverty rate so that everyone in the city has that opportunity to reach their goals.”

Among the eight candidates, Trish White-Boyd is the only incumbent. She was appointed to council in 2019.

“I didn’t just say, hey, I want to run for city council. I have been a community activist for decades,” White-Boyd said.

After 18 years working in child support enforcement, and more recently as the owner of a home health care agency, White-Boyd said she has learned a lot about the people of Roanoke and their needs.

She says the city can do more to develop village centers in neighborhoods throughout the city.

“I think leadership matters,” she said. “I think experience matters, and I think being in touch with the community, which I have proven that years and years and years.”

Up next, the two Republican candidates for Roanoke City Council, Thursday on WDBJ7.

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