Christiansburg Mayor Candidates speak at Community Forum

Published: Oct. 15, 2021 at 1:21 AM EDT
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CHRISTIANSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - The League of Women Voters of Montgomery County and the Montgomery County-Radford City-Floyd County Chapter of the NAACP have been hosting community forums for Montgomery County candidates over the last few weeks. The forums give residents the chance to learn about and ask questions of the people who will represent them in the future.

Current Mayor Mike Barber is being challenged by fellow Town Council members Samuel Bishop and Johana Hicks. Barber has been Mayor since 2014 and on Town Council since 2000. Vice Mayor Bishop was first elected in 2014 and Hicks was first elected in 2019.

There were many topics of conversation going on Thursday night, some including the economy, infrastructure and law enforcement funding. There was not a lot of disagreement between the three throughout the night, besides when Hicks claimed Barber does not listen to citizens who speak at public meetings.

“The current person that is Mayor picks and chooses who they want out there to speak their mind, and I think that I can change that,” Hicks said.

“I’ll agree with Councilwoman Hicks to a point; it’s that, it’s called citizen comments and we are the council to listen to people’s concerns,” Bishop said.

Barber defended himself, saying, “I have never asked or encouraged anybody to come and speak on a specific subject. I believe that you let the citizens come, you let the citizens speak. Now, I know the insinuation is that I’m stacking the deck against Ms. Hicks; that is totally not true. Ms. Hicks is very good at bringing people to speak at council and I appreciate that. But as far as bringing in ringers, no, that’s not the job, I have too much integrity to do that.”

The candidates then went on to speak about what they hope to accomplish if they are elected Christiansburg Mayor. The priority for all was continuing to bring small businesses and growth to the town.

“Some way I would love to bring affordable housing to the Town of Christiansburg,” said Bishop.

“Going forward, the Town of Christiansburg needs someone who has a proven history running a small business, to manage the rapidly expanding budget and prevent rapid tax increases,” said Hicks.

“I will continue to strive to make Christiansburg the best possible place to live, work, play and raise a family,” said Barber.

For the full discussion, you can head to the Town of Christiansburg’s Facebook page here.

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