Endorsements 

Isabel Berney

What an honor it is to endorse Leslie Hager-Smith for mayor of Blacksburg. I admire her leadership skills, her great intellect, her ability to see the whole picture as well as the details. She has served the town well, has accomplished a lot, as mayor and before that as a town council member and in her 35 years of community service in Blacksburg. Leslie is a thoughtful activist, a true pragmatic progressive. She has worked for a sustainable community. I admire the way she is truthful and open to the press. She is always able to explain her position and she represents our town in the most professional manner. We are indeed fortunate to have Leslie as our advocate. Knowing Leslie for almost 40 years, I have seen her in leadership roles in the community, in our congregation, serving on the town council and various boards, and as mayor. She is a dedicated, hard-working woman who is a wife, mother, business woman and civic servant. I will definitely cast my vote for Leslie Hager-Smith for mayor of Blacksburg on November 2. 

Elizabeth Adair Obenshain

Although presidential campaigns draw more attention than town elections, it is the decisions of the Mayor and Town Council have an immediate and direct effect on our lives. In Blacksburg, we are fortunate to have a strong and insightful candidate for mayor in Leslie Hager-Smith. Leslie has shown in the decisions and initiatives she has taken in her years on Town Council an understanding of the challenges and opportunities that confront a college town as it copes with the stresses of continuing growth. Leslie has served as vice mayor three times. She has been involved in economic development and also in sustainability projects in Blacksburg. Her work as the former director of the Downtown Merchants of Blacksburg gave her insight into economic issues facing the town’s locally owned businesses. She is also a small business owner herself.

I was fortunate to work with Leslie at The Roanoke Times when she was a reporter and columnist. I was impressed with her intelligence and her sense of humor. Leslie and her husband raised their family here in Blacksburg. She is committed to this town and its continued growth as a sustainable community. I am proud to support Leslie’s candidacy for mayor of Blacksburg.

Liam J. Watson

It has been a great privilege of mine to come to know Mayor Leslie Hager-Smith so well over the past year. Like most of us here in Blacksburg, I’ve long felt the effects of her work in our hometown, but having the privilege to spend so much time together has afforded us the opportunity to deepen our friendship.

 

For as long as I can remember, Mayor Hager-Smith has been a staple of our small-town community. First as a councilwoman, then as vice mayor, and now as mayor, Leslie has been working endlessly to care for her neighbors and for all of us here in Blacksburg. With more than a decade on the town council, Mayor Hager-Smith is seasoned, but continues to introduce new ideas and new solutions to our town’s challenges. To Leslie, innovation is as natural as time-tested wisdom, and novelty-in-method is as natural as the practical and familiar.

 

Mayor Hager-Smith’s inimitable heart for public service is one that lives free from the maneuvering of political machinations. Her spirit eschews ego and avoids self-promotion at all cost. She reliably puts others first, placing the spotlight of success on those around her, and is the very model of a humble and dedicated public servant.

 

We are all fortunate to have Mayor Hager-Smith’s kind heart and practiced wit guiding our town as it grows and changes. In large part, she’s singularly responsible for the preservation of our small-town feel, even as the community develops and matures. In many ways, Mayor Hager-Smith is as much a part of Blacksburg as the Farmer’s Market, Steppin’ Out, or the Lyric— she’s an institution that reliably shapes our character and improves our quality of life.

 

In Mayor Hager-Smith, I’ve not only found a public servant and a friend, but also a role model. She embodies the empathy and intellect that is so seldom found in politics. I wholeheartedly endorse my dear friend, Mayor Hager-Smith, and I invite my neighbors to join me in giving her a second term this November.

Alice Teague Ledford

Leslie's decision to run for Mayor of Blacksburg is exciting news for our town. Leslie has worked very hard & has advocated for Blacksburg for many years. As a town council member, she has been the Vice-Mayor for three terms. Leslie is extremely intelligent. I am often impressed by her ability to quickly size up an issue and find solutions that are beyond the average. When there is work to be done, you can count on her to have her hands in the work (not just delegating). In other words....She isn't lazy. Leslie is a loyal friend, a good neighbor to all of us in Blacksburg, a successful business person and a productive member of the Town Council. I look forward to helping her with her campaign. Leslie for Mayor!!

John Randolph

I’ve known Leslie for 30 years during her many professional, personal, and civic experiences, all of which make her the most qualified for Mayor of Blacksburg. She has been a mainstay on Town Council since 2008, serving as vice-Mayor for most of that time. We all know that Blacksburg is a special place, but many are unaware of what the Town is known for across the country (other than home of Virginia Tech). Blacksburg has made its mark as a model of community sustainability. This is demonstrated by its award-winning comprehensive plan, its Climate Action Plan, its multiple Governor’s Awards for Environmental Excellence, its Solarize Blacksburg program (for which it won the U.S. Conference of Mayor’s national Climate Protection Award), and many other accolades listed here. Leslie has been a long supporter of the Town’s sustainability initiatives, both on Council and before as a founding board member and past-president of Sustainable Blacksburg. I have worked closely with Leslie on these initiatives and have found her to be thoughtful, positive, and innovative. But Leslie is more than an environmental advocate. Her prior experience as Director of the Downtown Merchants and as a small business owner, she understands the need to advance and manage the Town’s growth and development. Still, the main reason for my endorsement is that Leslie is the best candidate to manage and promote the Town’s interests in its relationships with the County Board of Supervisors and Virginia Tech.  There are unresolved issues with the County and the University that pose challenges for the Town, and Leslie Hagan-Smith brings both a strong advocacy for the Town’s interests and the creative instinct to help develop solutions of mutual benefit.

Mary Ann Johnson

Leslie is on the liaison committee with the university. This gives her a place to make those adjustments. She is very good at it.

She has worked for years supporting businesses downtown. I am keen on building and maintaining community - she is too. Leslie works here, has a career here, and has established she is supportive of the community.

Susan Mattingly

I support Leslie Hager Smith for Mayor. She has been a great advocate for businesses and can be counted on to speak truth to power. She might not be good at blowing her own horn but I’m confident that she will work hard for the citizens of Blacksburg.

Lisa Garcia

I'm a business owner and have worked in various sectors of the New River Valley and Roanoke regions since the early 1990s. I was a student at Virginia Tech who graduated, left the state and was later thrilled to have the opportunity to come back "home" to Blacksburg. As a current homeowner here and the mother of two children who have benefited greatly from our schools and community, I am endorsing Leslie for Mayor. I have known Leslie for two decades and in all that time she has never ceased to impress me with her intellect and thoughtful approach to problems both large and small. She has taken on challenges and seen them through to the end. She is strong-minded and gets work done and I have found her to be both authentically full of integrity and genuinely caring about this town 's present and its future. And it is with my own care for this town and its citizens that I ask you consider casting your vote for Leslie this November.

Eloise Coupey

I am pleased to endorse the candidacy of Leslie Hager-Smith for Mayor of Blacksburg. Leslie’s sustained history of participation and leadership on the town council and as vice-mayor, and her development of the Sustainable Blacksburg initiative, make her uniquely qualified to build on the accomplishments achieved during Mayor Rordam’s tenure in office.

As a business professor at Virginia Tech, and as a mother of four children – all reared in Blacksburg – I recognize the importance of a strong, productive relationship between the town and the university for the quality of life that is often all too easy to take for granted.

With record numbers of applicants to the university, and planned increases to the student population in Blacksburg, Virginia Tech will continue to add to the diversity, cultural vibrance, and economic vitality of our town. As I suspect most parents would agree, growth often presents challenges that require careful stewardship to nurture development in desirable ways. Leslie’s experience and ability, and her common sense approach to leadership, are matched with a strength of character that will serve Blacksburg well.

Kay Kay Goette

Having lived in Blacksburg for 30 years, I’ve witnessed its rapid transformation from a university-based rural town to a vibrant, urban and diversified community. That expansion has been accompanied by critical decisions concerning the direction of Blacksburg’s future. There is great importance in the electtion of officials who make those decisions on behalf of us all.

As Blacksburg grows, I believe it’s necessary that we maintain a delicate balance, accommodating progress in a thoughtful way while protecting the historical character unique to Blacksburg.  In these times, it is more important than ever that we have representatives we can rely on to be truly engaged, to educate themselves on a multitude of complex issues and maintain open-mindedness in decisions that will affect the livelihood of all Blacksburg residents.

 

Over the years, I’ve put a lot of effort into the election of town council members I felt had the character and intellect to guide Blacksburg towards a flourishing future. 

 

I feel Leslie Hager Smith and Susan Anderson  have demonstrated time and again, their dedication to the jobs they perform on behalf of all the Blacksburg community.  Theyv'e done tihis with exceptional deligence by digging into and sorting out the nuances of complex issues, both large and small and without undue influence from outside interests,  For this reason I trust and support both Leslie Hager Smith for elevation to Mayor and Susan Anderson to continue representing Blacksburg on Town Council. 

Piper Durell

Leslie and I have both lived and worked in the Blacksburg community since the early 1980's. Blacksburg is a magical place and our families have found a community here that we have chosen to make our home. The hashtag that Leslie has chosen for her campaign reflects the Leslie that I know and respect for her uniqueness and her vision: Over 30 years she has been involved in PTA's, local newspapers, Downtown Blacksburg, and Sustainable Blacksburg, and I have seen her at everything from poetry readings to walking her dog on the Huckleberry. Leslie is a woman who has not only common sense but wisdom, and she is known for her ability to listen/ question all sides of an issue and to be unafraid to voice her opinion. -- Piper Durell #ItMattersWhoisMayor

Margaret Ray

I recently spent several hours researching the three candidates who are running for Mayor of our great town. And as luck would have it, one afternoon I answered my doorbell and there was Leslie Hager-Smith visiting voters in my neighborhood. She sat for nearly an hour answering my questions and sharing her experience and vision for Blacksburg. She has spent years quietly working in almost every area of local government, our government. Leslie has been Vice Mayor for three terms, serving alongside our retiring Mayor. When elected she can bring seamless transition to governing -- no need for a learning curve for her - when she takes the well-deserved leadership role as Blacksburg's Mayor. ☺️residents won't feel the slightest bump.  Leslie has my support and my vote.

Mike Rosenzwig

I'm voting Hager-Smith. You know what to expect from her, she listens, engages, and is a stable, smart, and an enterprising leader.#ItMattersWhoIsMayor