LYNCHBURG, Va. – A new year and a new mayor for the city of Lynchburg.
Stephanie Reed - just one day after being sworn in to become a part of the city council - is now moving her seat to the center to become Lynchburg’s next mayor.
“I’m just still kind of overwhelmed by everything. I was honored and then just very humbled that I got the votes,” Reed said.
Reed did not get all the votes, but she narrowly won the seat in a 4-3 vote over councilman Jeff Helgeson.
Helgeson has served on the Lynchburg City Council for nearly 20 years. He got the support of councilmen Marty Misjuns and Larry Taylor.
Reed got votes from Chris Faraldi, MaryJane Dolan, and Sterling Wilder.
Part of the reason why some members didn’t want Reed to take over as mayor was that she has only lived in Lynchburg for two years.
“But Lynchburg has never done this before and it would be unprecedented to hand over the mayorship to someone with no experience in government and almost no experience in our city,” Misjuns said.
Marty Misjuns even went onto Facebook afterward to congratulate her, then followed by saying “Making deals with Democrats to seize power is not the way a Republican super majority should operate. I will hold you accountable to your oath of office at every turn.”
Reed said she understands why people may not believe she is qualified to be the mayor. She and other members of the council don’t believe her longevity of living in Lynchburg is as important as some are making it out to be.
“Stephanie has repeatedly stated she will work for all of the residents of our city and I believe that she will. I believe that she has the integrity required for the mayoral position,” Dolan said.
One of the platforms Reed ran her 2022 campaign on was making sure there is unity amongst the council. Even though there was some division during the organizational meeting, she still believes the team can make impactful decisions this year.
“I think all of us agreed that public safety, schools, and the economy are important to us. Whether we all agreed today on who should be mayor should not change that those are our priorities,” Reed said.
Lynchburg’s first regular meeting will be on Jan. 10.