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Candidates face off to be Blacksburg’s next mayor

Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 5:31 PM EDT
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BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - As we inch closer to election day, Blacksburg’s mayoral candidates say they have different strategies.

“Talk to a lot of people, a lot of people, I really have a need to talk to more people,” said Mohsen Manteghi.

“I think the best thing I can do is nose to the grindstone and just keep doing the work,” said incumbent Leslie Hager-Smith.

Hager-Smith is being challenged by Mohsen Manteghi, a 10-year resident of Blacksburg who says he immigrated to the U.S. in 2011 with hopes of making a difference.

“First of all, I’m going to fight for the rights of people. So I don’t have... I’m not going to be just complacent with the board, the visitors. And second, because I see the expansion, the aggressive expansion personally has affected me and my friends. So I feel the urgency,” said Manteghi.

He says he’s worked at different places in town and hopes to bring a fresh perspective to Blacksburg by focusing on an affordable quality of life and the local economy.

“So I’m kind of, I have that background. You know, I’m concerned about if you’re developing, quote-unquote, develop a growth, how’s it going affect people that I know personally? You know,” said Manteghi.

Hager-Smith is hoping for a second term, as she looks to continue her work with the council.

“We’ve added 150 affordable homes to town boundaries, and we have got the old middle school project up and running that’s called ‘Midtown’ now and the parking structure is complete, and a very much-needed police station is, the shell is complete, and they’re doing the interior now; that should be ready in the spring,” said Hager-Smith.

Both candidates agree housing is also a big topic among residents.

“The housing developments are growing way faster than our infrastructure, so we have huge apartment complexes, but the streets are the same,” said Manteghi.

“We’ve got projects in the works that I’d really like to continue. There’s a possibility right now for about four other neighborhoods that would introduce that missing middle piece of our housing puzzle,” said Hager-Smith.

Those running for mayor and town council all run without party labels.

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