Town council candidates and supporters alike shared hugs and tears at Gillie’s restaurant downtown last night as the results for the election were revealed.
Krisha Chachra, Susan Anderson, Cecile Newcomb and John Bush were the four candidates elected to fill the empty spots. Along with current member Leslie Hager-Smith, this outcome makes it the first time that four women are on Blacksburg Town Council simultaneously, according to Anderson.
Anderson is the only candidate who has served on council previously. Originally elected in 2006, this was the first time she ran for re-election.
“I would like to thank the citizens of Blacksburg. I’ve worked hard to serve them and I am deeply grateful for the re-election. It truly is an honor and a privilege,” she said.
This year’s town council elections are deemed unique to the history of Blacksburg and will also serve as an essential reference point for all future elections. It was also the first town council election to take place in November alongside the gubernatorial election. Previously, town council elections occurred in May.
“This election was a real measuring stick for future elections, it is serving as a baseline for the future elections,” said Bush, who works at Tech as a staff architect. In April, some Blacksburg citizens approached Bush and asked if he would consider running for council. This was the first time he considered becoming a candidate.
“Having all the folks who support me come up to me and thank me for running for town council has been very special for me,” Bush said. “I just want the citizens who supported and voted to be thanked.”
Chachra is a Tech graduate student and it was also her first time running for a political position in Blacksburg. Having lived in town for over 25 years, she said her deep roots here helped her to win the position.
“I’ve always run on the political platform of being a consensus builder,” Chachra said. “Blacksburg has groups that have competing interests, but when you peel back the layers you find that everyone wants the same things for our town, which are basically calculated growth while still retaining the character and aura of this place that we all love so much.”
Chachra commended her fellow candidates for their dedication in running for town council.
“I feel really privileged that so many quality candidates ran for this election because it speaks to how much people care about this community. I know the voters must have had a tough decision,” she said.
All four of the winners are excited to be working with one another to benefit the Blacksburg community as a whole.
“We’re looking forward to building an even better community,” Anderson said. Cecile Newcomb was not available for comment.