Special election set for Pulaski County Commissioner of the Revenue

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PULASKI, Va. (WDBJ) -- Voters in Pulaski County will hit the polls Tuesday in a special election to determine the new Commissioner of the Revenue.

The election comes after the previous commissioner, Trina Rupe, died in August after serving since 2007.

Democrat Donna Gray took over as acting commissioner following Rupe's death. She's running to carry on the legacy Rupe left behind.

"She just wanted us to be very friendly, have good customer service, be friendly and just serve the community," Gray said. "And so, I just felt like that was something I wanted to try to carry on and do this job for her."

Gray, a Pulaski native, has worked in the commissioner's office since 2008.

Her opponent Tuesday is independent Kim Matthews, who said she has a history of administering policies.

"What I would do is inform residents of the tax laws, because they can be very complicated, to make sure they're familiar with tax laws that affect them," Matthews said.

A long-time resident informed Matthews she is the first black woman to run for office in Pulaski County.

While the county registrar told WDBJ 7 it doesn't keep that data, Matthews says her mother summed it up the best.

"She said, 'Kim, I think I'm going to cry. I won't embarrass you, but I grew up in an age where African Americans didn't have roles like this. They weren't thought about when you're thinking about running for office like this,'" Matthews said. "She said, 'And I think I'm going to cry if you actually get that.' So that sort of sums up how people feel about an African American running for an office like this."

Since the current term ends in December, there will be another race for the commissioner position in the November election as well.

The polls open for Tuesday's special election starting at 6 a.m. and they will be open until 7 p.m.