I’m running for re-election on a platform of investing in our community, expanding opportunities for everyone, and building a sustainable future.
My name is Michael Sutphin, and I am running for re-election to the Blacksburg Town Council on November 7, 2023. I have more than a decade of experience in local government, and I am currently on my third term on the Town Council. Previously, I served as vice mayor and planning commissioner.
I have a deep connection to this town and arrived here as a Virginia Tech student back in 2002. During my college years, I served as a news editor and reporter for the Collegiate Times and covered the local government beat. It was during that time that my interest in serving the community began to grow. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication in 2006, I worked in communications and public relations for two colleges at Virginia Tech before accepting a position for an area nonprofit in 2017.
In 2011, I was elected to the Town Council at the age of 27. I was honored to become the youngest person to hold the position and first openly gay elected official in Southwest Virginia. I’ve been re-elected twice since then, in 2015 and 2019. As part of my role on the Town Council, I represent Blacksburg on several committees and boards, including the New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization, Blacksburg Business Relations Committee, and MBC Development Corporation. I also served on the Blacksburg Planning Commission in 2018 and 2019 and completed the Virginia Certified Planning Commissioner Program.
My service extends beyond Blacksburg, too. For seven years, I was on the board of directors for Equality Virginia, the state’s leading LGBTQ advocacy organization. I also spent a year as board chair. It was an honor to work with such a dedicated group of people who are making a difference in the lives of LGBTQ people across Virginia.
I was born in Knoxville, Tennessee, but spent my formative years in the suburbs of Asheville, North Carolina, and Williamsburg, Virginia. I’m proud to call Blacksburg my home now and excited to continue serving the community.
Blacksburg and the greater New River Valley are growing, and it’s crucial that our infrastructure keeps pace with that growth. That’s why I support a wide range of capital projects that revitalize our downtown, expand our trail system and recreation amenities, make transportation improvements, and replace our aging water and sewer lines.
The Town Council passed a five-year, $140 million Capital Improvement Program in 2023 with dozens of projects that align with these goals. In addition, the Town of Blacksburg received $13 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding in the past year, with more than half allocated to capital projects.
I support numerous community investments, including:
Collaboration is also critical to our region’s success, and I have nine years of experience on the New River Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) making regional transportation planning and funding decisions. Through my work on the MPO and other committees and boards, I have learned that we can create a better future for Blacksburg when we work with our neighbors and partners in the New River Valley and Roanoke Valley.
Blacksburg is a great place to call home, but our community faces many challenges. Rising housing prices and a shortage of available homes have made it difficult for many residents to find a suitable place to live in town, especially those with low-to-moderate incomes. To address this issue, I support land use policies that encourage the creation of more homes for sale and rent that are close to jobs and existing infrastructure. This will also help reduce commuter traffic and improve quality of life.
As a member of the Blacksburg Business Relations Committee and the Main Street Connect merchant group, I’m committed to working with local business owners to identify policies and initiatives that promote economic growth and entrepreneurship in town. Throughout my time in office, I have voted to support our commercial centers, such as the College Avenue Promenade, the IMAX at First & Main, and the Midtown development.
Here are some of the relevant measures I support in Blacksburg:
My goal is to collaborate with residents, community organizations, business owners, and others to expand opportunities for all members of our community.
The Blacksburg Comprehensive Plan sets out a vision for our town that values environmental stewardship, economic resilience, and the well-being of residents both now and in the future. As someone who cares deeply about these issues, I believe that we must take concrete steps to improve our environment and quality of life. This includes reducing our community-wide greenhouse gas emissions, making good on the town’s climate and sustainability commitments, and working with our regional partners to achieve our goals.
Here are some of the sustainability measures I support:
Sustainability is not just about the environment — it’s also about a sustainable local economy that generates employment opportunities for residents and a local government that is accountable to taxpayers. We must also prioritize social sustainability by creating a welcoming and inclusive community that encourages civic and cultural engagement. I firmly believe that these three aspects of sustainability (environmental, economic, and social) are interconnected and must be considered together when planning for Blacksburg's future.
To donate via check, please mail a check payable to “Citizens for Michael Sutphin” to the following address:
2719 Chelsea Court
Blacksburg, VA 24060
Please include your full name, mailing address, occupation, name of employer, and principal place of business or we will not be able to accept your donation. Your information will only be reported to the Virginia Department of Elections if your total contributions exceed $100.