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Quiet Competence: Martha Hooker Leads Roanoke County Board of Supervisors

Retired Glenvar High School teacher and current Roanoke County Board of Supervisors (BOS) member Martha Hooker (R-Catawba Magisterial District) has recently been named BOS Chairman for this year. The five supervisors, all Republicans, rotate that responsibility annually. Each supervisor serves for a four-year term.

Roanoke County Supervisor Martha Hooker (R-Catawba District) (photo/roanokecountyva.gov)

In contrast to Roanoke City, where council members are elected “at-large” with the top overall vote-getters winning a seat, the County is divided into five magisterial districts, each with about 19,200 residents. This way, each sector of the sprawling County is guaranteed an equal voice and vote on the five-member Board.

First elected to the Board in 2015, Hooker has previously served as Chairman in 2018. When asked by The Roanoke Star for a statement about some of her goals and priorities, as well as County victories to date, she responded with the following:

“Roanoke County has grown business and industry with the addition of Mack Trucks, a Lowe’s Distribution Center, an AEP expansion, and 419 continues to be reimagined with Tanglewood Mall revitalization. We have partnered with Salem and Roanoke City to build a 111-acre business park. I would like to see more high-quality businesses with good wages come to Roanoke County.

“We worked with a grant opportunity to provide a shuttle to McAfee’s Knob, the most photographed destination on the Appalachian Trail. I look forward to an expansion of the shuttle in preparation for the construction of the pedestrian bridge over 311.

“We have worked diligently to expand our broadband opportunities to the unserved and underserved. The County partnered with internet service providers to leverage more than $7.7 million to expand broadband connectivity throughout the County and we still have more work to do to connect more families.

“We have worked to develop a plan to fund a new Career & Technical Education (CTE) center that stays inside our tax structure. It will be the largest capital project in Roanoke County history. But we believe our students are the future for this community and we are investing in them now! 

“We hope to gather support from the General Assembly to use state funds to continue operation and expand the mission of Catawba Hospital to include substance abuse disorder and rehab.

“We also hope to get support for funding the Roanoke-Blacksburg Regional Airport to support a runway extension and other improvements to foster regional economic development.

“We found a creative way to give back $12 million to the citizens when our used car values increased to unprecedented values in 2022. In 2023, I look forward to finding ways to decrease taxes during this difficult economy and high inflation.

Brian Holohan (R), Roanoke County's Commonwealth's Attorney, speaking in the Ro. Co. Board of Supervisors' Meeting Room
Brian Holohan (R), Roanoke County’s Commonwealth’s Attorney, speaking in the Board of Supervisors’ Chamber that displays US National Motto “In God We Trust.”

“The Roanoke County Board of Supervisors is a good team working to serve the County to ensure it will continue to be a great place to live, work and play.”

A careful reading of the above statement reveals that Chairman Hooker, displaying fine leadership skills, includes liberal use of the word “We” and thus demonstrates her team-led approach to collaboration and problem-solving.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the Republican County GOP, Hooker remarked that the five members of the BOS come from a diversity of career backgrounds. In addition to her having served as a County teacher, other supervisors come from the fields of law, banking, construction, etc. Hooker observed that the wide variety of expertise lets each member bring rich insights to the table and that they work together well as a team.

While gaffes and displays of incompetence at the federal level repeatedly make national headlines, and Democrat-led Roanoke City battles crime and intermittent scandals among some Council members, Roanoke County distinguishes itself with a no-nonsense, no-drama Board that focuses on accountability and results. Valley motorists observe that the homeless encampments and beggars vanish once one crosses into Salem or the County. As shown in this graphic, much of our region–including the Cities of Roanoke and Salem–is losing population, while the County is bucking the trend with a slight uptick of residents.

Along with Cave Spring Supervisor Paul Mahoney, Chairman Hooker will face re-election this November.

Updated 3:08 pm 2-16-23 

–Scott Dreyer

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