CHRISTIANSBURG–Roger Woolwine has shaken his share of Christiansburg residents’ hands in his 40-plus years of business, selling cars and as the one-time manager of Wade’s Grocery Store.
Now he is shaking hands for a whole new reason. Woolwine plans to run for mayor in the November election.
Wednesday, he delivered enough signatures to the Montgomery County Voter Registrar’s office to be placed on the ballot to face incumbent Michael Barber.
“I have met and know a lot of people in Christiansburg,” said Woolwine, “and they have encouraged me to run. I have always wanted to and would like to give back to the community.”
He admits he has nothing against the current governing body, and for the most part, feels like they are doing a good job. Woolwine also finds nothing bad in the job Barber has done.
“I admit I have a lot to learn. We have a strong council right now, and I would like to work with them to make our town a great place,” he said.
Woolwine has also taught Sunday School at St. Paul Methodist Church in Christiansburg, and remembers how the downtown used to be so vibrant.
“It’s a shame how we have lost our downtown. It’s a shame we don’t have more stores and businesses down there,” he said.
If elected, he would continue to work part-time as a car salesman at Duncan Automotive. The 72-year-old has never held public office but is ready for the task.
Woolwine cites growth coming quickly on the little community that he has worked and lived in for all his life. “I remember Christiansburg the way it used to be, and I know a lot of other people still live here that do too. We need some of those things again.”
On Wednesday, he also touched on the recent struggle with rising water and sewer rates.
“It’s tough when you increase anything, whether it be water and sewer rates or even taxes. Christiansburg has an aging infrastructure that includes water and sewer but also other things. We’ve got to do something, but the question is whether there is another solution to cover the costs. There are a lot of older folks that have not seen their income increase, but everything else has. So, any type of increase is going to affect them,” he said.
One of his biggest concerns is the lack of involvement in local government and issues by others in the public, and he said the water and sewer issue is a prime issue. Woolwine would like to see more people involved and attending council meetings.
“A lot of people simply don’t know what is going on and what council is dealing with. If they come to the meetings, I think they would understand better on a lot of things,” he said.
Woolwine would like to see an increase in public information to local residents on all issues, and notes that he has a lot to learn himself.
“I admit I have a lot to learn. We have a strong council right now, and I would like to help them,” he said.
The new candidate has recently undergone a hip replacement and a terrible bout with shingles, and after rehabbing from both, he has been re-energized. I want Christiansburg to be the best town it can be,” Woolwine said.
Town elections are slated for November and other candidates for both mayor and council have until June 30 to file their paperwork.
Incumbent councilmen Cord Hall and Brad Stipes are expected to run again but have yet to formally announced their intentions. Last month, Councilman Steve Huppert said he would seek re-election.