Christiansburg Mayor Ballengee not seeking third term

Christiansburg Mayor Richard Ballengee announced Monday he will not seek re-election in November.

Ballengee will finish out his second term before stepping down at the end of the year, retiring after eight years serving as mayor and a decade more serving on the town council.

“Well, I’ve served two terms, and I think that’s enough,” Ballengee told the News Messenger on Tuesday. “Before that I was on the town council for 10 years — I think it’s time to step down and let someone else do the job.

“It’s been a wonderful experience serving this community — I’ve lived here almost 50 years now, and I could not have selected a better town to be mayor.”

In a Facebook page posted Monday night, Ballengee bid a farewell to he town.

“Thanks to the citizens of our town for your support and encouragement the last 8 years.”

During his tenure, Ballengee oversaw many changes and forward-thinking projects throughout the town over his eight years in office. One thing in particular stood out to him as a high point for his administration.

“I think bringing the extended bus service into town is one of the things I’m most proud of — the Explorer bus and the Go-Anywhere bus — I think that’s a fantastic service that the people utilize and really appreciate.”

As for the future, Ballengee and wife, Jo Anne, plan to do a little travelling.

“We’ll probably travel around a bit — we have two great grandchildren we’re looking forward to visiting a little more,” he said. “Oh, we’re just going to grow old gracefully, I suppose,”

Town Councilman Mike Barber is running unopposed for the mayor’s seat, a candidate Ballengee strongly supports.

Barber, a lifelong Christiansburg resident, is the assistant vice president of First Bank of Virginia in Radford, a 32-year member of the Christiansburg Kiwanis Club, and was elected to the town council in 2000, 2004 and 2008, and has served as vice mayor since 2004. He serves on the street and downtown committees as well.

“I’ve known Mike since he was a student in high school,” Ballengee said. “He’s local, and he has a tremendous love and affection for the Christiansburg community. I believe he’ll do just fine — his heart’s really in it.”

By Aaron Atkins