RADFORD — City Mayor David Horton is looking forward to another four years in office.
Horton, 54, is up for reelection this year and running unopposed, something he views as some endorsement of his tenure.
“You never want to read too much into things, but I’m honored by the citizens, that they felt we have done a pretty good job — with my role and with our council over the last four years — to say ‘please continue for another four years,’” he said. “It’s nice when you’re running as the only name on the ballot, but I don’t take anything for granted either. I want to earn every person’s vote and confidence.”
Horton, noting events such as the pandemic, acknowledges that the past four years haven’t all been smooth sailing, adding that his decision to run again wasn’t an easy one.
“But I am trying to help this community move to its best place and we’re working really hard to do that,” he said, touting work such as the replacement of sidewalks on Main Street, new lighting and landscaping. “There’s more to do.”
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In addition to serving as mayor, Horton works at Radford University as a communications officer for the Artis College of Science and Technology.
Horton touts the progress Radford has made over the years and speaks at length about trying to position the city to distinguish itself economically and become a destination for people moving to the New River Valley.
Horton calls on the continuation of economic development initiatives that helped draw hundreds of jobs to Radford over the years, employment he said ranges from high-paying engineering related work to numerous positions in the food, service and retail sectors.
Among other employers, the mayor singled out air purifier manufacturer Oransi, which he said brought a major production facility to the city in 2021. Horton quipped that the company is considered the “Tesla of air purifiers.”
Horton also touted those involved in the motion control industry, including longtime employer Kollmorgen. The motor for the Spiderman ride at Universal Studios in Orlando is made at the Kollmorgen facility on Rock Road, he said.
It’s distinctions like the Kollmorgen one that can help Radford stand out, Horton said.
“We need to continue to work to make Radford the place that folks want to visit and we’re working toward that,” he said. “Our city is building a diversified economy that is not purely reliant on one sector. The world is evolving so quickly and we have to be nimble enough to be able to pivot in the face of an emergency like a pandemic. That’s an important element.”
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