McGuire & Priddy meet in Roanoke City Council special election

Published: Oct. 5, 2022 at 8:22 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - This year, we have a crowded field in the race for Roanoke City Council, but two of the candidates are running head-to-head in a special election.

Republican Peg McGuire and Democrat Luke Priddy hope to serve the two years that remain on the unexpired term of Robert Jeffrey, Jr., who was removed from council after being convicted of obtaining money under false pretenses.

Both candidates have been active in the life of the city and of southwest Virginia.

McGuire is a communications and marketing professional, perhaps best known for her work with the Virginia Museum of Transportation to restore the 611 steam engine.

“We’re a small city, but we’re a mighty city,” McGuire said. “And I just want to get that spirit back into Roanoke.”

Priddy is the Chief of Staff for Sen. John Edwards and Chair of the Roanoke Parks and Recreation Advisory Board.

“I think that I bring a unique skillset from my work in the General Assembly,” Priddy said, “and would be able to apply the knowledge I’ve learned there to local government.”

We asked the candidates for their approach to some of the city’s most pressing issues, starting with public safety and Roanoke’s response to violent crime.

Both support a closer look at police pay and benefits to address staffing issues.

McGuire called for more community engagement, and more after-school programs for young people.

“So let’s give them job training after school. Let’s teach them masonry and construction or arts or music or something along those lines that will also help them make up for that learning loss, but also keep them safe,” McGuire said.

Priddy said the problem will require a comprehensive approach to address the conditions that lead to crime.

“When it comes to public safety generally, I think there is more that we can do with our infrastructure, that we could install better street lighting. I heard from a business owner that cameras are not deterring criminals, but streetlights are. And we need more officers to be on patrol, but that means we need to hire them,” Priddy said.

And if any Roanokers are still undecided, what do the candidates hope the voters will consider as they make their choice?

“We’ve got some issues,” McGuire said, “but we also know that new leadership can bring in new ideas, and new blood and new ways of thinking and doing, so let’s go there. Let’s see what we can do.”

“Four seats are up on council this November,” Priddy told us. “That’s a majority. We could see a lot of the positive policies that were put in place, such as banning guns in parks, in our municipal buildings and in our libraries - We could see that kind of work undone. And that’s a direction I would not like to see the city go in.”

There are nine candidates running for full four-year terms on Roanoke City Council, and WDBJ7′s Isabella Ledonne will talk with them next week.

No-excuse early voting is underway. Election Day is November 8.