Highlighting women in local government for Women’s History Month

ROANOKE COUNTY, Va. – 10 News is celebrating Women’s History month by featuring several female leaders in local government.

“Every detail we have questions,” Montgomery County Chairwoman Sherri Blevins said after meeting with a few members of government.

They were discussing a hot topic — the fiscal year budget.

“Her department puts everything together chronological, and it’s organized for us,” Blevins said.

While the budget is a hot topic, there is a trend: the leaders involved are women.

“It feels awesome, we are all capable and qualified ladies that have a heart to serve,” Blevins said.

Blevins was elected to serve on the Montgomery County Board of Supervisors representing District B in 2019.

Board members elected Blevins to be chairwoman last year and this year, as well.

“In 2020 when I won my seat for District B, that became part of history as being the first female Republican to serve on the board and also made the majority of the board females, so it became dominant four to three,” Blevins said.

In addition, 12 of the 25 department directors, constitutional officers and agency heads are women.

Blevins meets with several department heads like Deputy County Administrator and Zoning.

“If you have the heart to serve, and the opportunity, it’s there,” Blevins said.

Councilwoman Stephanie Moon-Reynolds worked in the city for the 42 years.

“To be the first Black city clerk in Southwest Virginia,” Moon-Reynolds said.

Moon-Reynolds saw change when council selected it’s first female city manager.

“As you know back in 1991 we hired our first city manager, Darlene Burcham and through Darlene, she came in and put women in several departmental positions, Moon-Reynolds said.

Moon-Reynolds decided to run for council as an independent.

She wanted to ensure government remains transparent, her biggest accomplishment — finding common ground with council members.

“I was the first black independent to win a seat, and I am independent which means I don’t have a political party that I side with, I am just for the people,” Moon-Reynolds said.

Darlene Burcham current town manager in Pulaski sent 10 News a statement that reads “First female city manager, employed from  January 2000- March 2010, after a 30 year career in local government positions, including Deputy City Manager of Norfolk, VA.“

Burcham continued “City management was  a male dominated career area for many years but talented females are now seen in many communities, not only in Virginia but throughout the country. I have a daughter who is the  City Manager in Hampton, Va.”

About the Author:

Duke Carter returned to 10 News in January 2022.