ROANOKE, Va. – 10 News sat down with Roanoke City mayoral candidate David Bowers to discuss why he wants to serve the Star City once again.
David Bowers is no stranger to public office. He served as Roanoke City’s mayor from 1992-2000 and again from 2008-2016.
“I’ve had a great 16 years as mayor, but I’m excited about going back," said Bowers.
Bowers said some of his accomplishments include reopening The Hotel Roanoke and his involvement in the initial stages of building the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine complex. This time around, he’s running for the Star City’s mayor as an independent candidate.
“I got a lot of energy, a lot of fresh energy and a lot of new ideas," said Bowers.
One idea at the forefront is economic development. Bowers said he was disappointed when the Evans Spring developer withdrew plans in February because of a lack of community support.
“Why did we lose 250 million dollars, 1,600 new jobs and millions in tax revenue?" said Bowers.
If elected, Bowers said he’ll call the developer back and look at other opportunities to bring jobs to Roanoke.
“I want people from out of town who are willing to make an investment in town to know that they are welcome here and we’re going to work with them to make their project work,” said Bowers.
As systemic racism and social justice have caught the nation’s attention, Bowers said there are good race relations in Roanoke, but he would like to create an equity report card to evaluate where the city stands.
“It’s an issue that affects all of us. None of us want to have discrimination or injustice," said Bowers. "We need to understand what the issues are with the social needs of our community, the housing needs of our community, the transportation needs of our community.”
Bowers strongly opposes building a new bus station downtown because of the backlash from residents and businesses.
“We have a location down there and I think we should try to work in that location where it is,” said Bowers.
He’d like to close off the Campbell Avenue entrance and direct traffic to Salem Avenue.
As for the uptick in gun and gang violence, Bowers said people are scared. There are about 30 vacancies in the Roanoke City Police Department, so Bowers wants to hire more officers and increase pay.
“No wonder there may be an increase in crime. We have to get our police officers out on the streets," said Bowers.
Bowers said voters looking for a change should look to him.
“I think it’s time for a new direction in Roanoke,” said Bowers. “And I’d like to ask people to elect a mayor who will be a leader for the city so that the city can be the leader for the region.”