ROANOKE, Va. – Come November, Roanoke native David Bowers will run again to be mayor of the Star City.
Bowers made the announcement on Tuesday that he will be running for mayor as an independent candidate.
Bowers previously served as mayor from 1992 to 2000 and again from 2008 to 2016.
Bowers said that he doesn’t feel that city council has listened to the people of Roanoke, but Mayor Sherman Lea said he is proud of the council’s decisions and his record as mayor.
“This is a positive, aggressive council that wants to be a part and move forward. It’s about moving forward, and that’s what we’re doing,” said Lea.
Lea wouldn’t say if he was running for mayor again, but he did say he would make an announcement in the next couple weeks.
His final term as mayor brought some controversy after he requested to temporarily ban Syrian refugees from the Roanoke Valley in 2015.
Below is what Bowers wrote in his statement:
"Roanoke is a welcoming city and America is the melting pot of the world, and right and successful we have been at both.
However, since the recent terrorist bombing of the Russian airliner, the attacks in Paris and now with the murderous threats to our nation’s capital, I am convinced that it is presently imprudent to assist in the relocation of Syrian refugees to our part of Virginia.
Thus, today, I’m requesting that all Roanoke Valley governments and non-governmental agencies suspend and delay any further Syrian refugee assistance until these serious hostilities and atrocities end, or at the very least, until regarded as under control by U.S. authorities, and normalcy is restored.
I’m reminded that President Franklin D. Roosevelt felt compelled to sequester Japanese foreign nationals after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, and it appears that the threat of harm to America from Isis now is just as real and serious as that from our enemies then.
I further want to assure our citizens that Roanoke’s law enforcement and public safety agencies are and will be prepared to the best of their ability to assure our citizens that everything is and will be done to protect Roanokers from harm and danger from this present scourge upon the earth.
In this regard, at least for awhile into the future, it seems to me to be better safe than sorry."
He apologized two days later for his stance during a special-called city council meeting.
A few months later, actor and activist George Takei came to Roanoke and talked with Bowers when he came to the Jefferson Center to deliver a lecture.
Takei had previously posted Bowers’ letter to his Facebook page with his own comments on the situation.
On Tuesday, Bowers announced 10 ideas he wants to work on, if elected:
- Bring in a new school superintendent. With Dr. Rita Bishop retiring at the end of the school year, Bowers wants to “stabilize our new school superintended in conjunction with our school board and teachers.”
- Smart Start. Join with the United Way and make sure that “EVERY” child in Roanoke gets and receives an early childhood pre-K education.
- New Police Chief. “We have great police officers and I want to support them in their difficult jobs.”
- Bus Station. “Let’s take a look at a location other than the West Station neighborhood and consider a possible modified spoke-and-wheel and/or point-to-point Valley Metro route system.”
- Good Jobs. Bowers wants to explore “new ideas and new ways to bring good jobs to Roanoke.”
- Tourism Summit. Bowers is proposing a tourism summit to explore new ideas for expansion and new initiatives.
- Regional Task Force on Homelessness. “It’s important for every American metropolitan area to take care of the homeless.”
- Southeast 13th Street Bridge. Bowers wants to build a 13th Street bridge that would go over-the-railroad.
- Burying Overhead Utility Lines. Bowers said this idea will take 100 years at least.
- Our Dedicated City Employees.