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Leslie Hager-Smith, Mayor

Term Expires: 12/31/21

Mayor Leslie Hager-Smith

A native of Cincinnati, Leslie Hager-Smith has been at home in Blacksburg since 1982.  Her interest in town governance took root during her years as a reporter and columnist for the Roanoke Times. She was formerly the director of the Downtown Merchants of Blacksburg, a small business owner, and she directed Community Programs for the YMCA at Virginia Tech. 

Hager-Smith’ council work has focused on economic and community development. She lent her hand to creating a business incentives program for downtown revitalization; matching grants for façade improvements; and town-wide apartment recycling. Hager-Smith also introduced community recycling of CFLs and electronics at downtown businesses. Hager-Smith currently serves on the following committees:



Hager-Smith champions quality of life for all residents, focusing on projects that enhance place attachment and create community. She co-founded Blacksburg’s Summer Solstice Fest; and, also originated the 16 Frogs Watershed Initiative, a public arts tribute with an environmental consciousness. She is a founding member of Sustainable Blacksburg and an energetic advocate for trails and bikeway connections in the region.

Hager-Smith initiated council action on legalizing Accessory Apartments in homes that are owner-occupied. This allows homeowners to age in place with a caretaker on site. It also allows multi-generational living and can contribute to income diversity in town limits. Most importantly, it incentivizes owner occupancy, contributing to neighborhood stability. Council adopted the new policy in spring, 2017.

Hager-Smith is married to Eric P. Smith and they have three grown children. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Journalism, awarded magna cum laude by the University of Georgia. Hager-Smith has served three terms as Vice Mayor, and was elected Mayor in 2017.

Michael Sutphin


Michael Sutphin, Vice Mayor

Term Expires: 12/31/23

Michael Sutphin was elected to Town Council in 2011 and reelected in 2015. He currently serves on the following committees:



Like many in the community, Michael first moved to Blacksburg to attend Virginia Tech. In college, he worked as a reporter and news editor for the Collegiate Times and even covered the local government beat. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in communication in 2006, Michael landed a job with his alma mater. He worked as a writer for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences for five years and then as public relations coordinator for the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine for six years.

In 2017, Michael accepted a position as communications manager for Community Housing Partners, a Christiansburg-based nonprofit which develops and manages affordable and sustainable housing throughout the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.

In addition to his council responsibilities, Michael is also a New River Valley representative on the SmartWay Advisory Committee and a member of numerous civic and community organizations. He served on the board of directors of Equality Virginia, the state’s leading LGBT advocacy organization, from 2010 to 2017 and is a past chair of the organization. In 2015, he was also appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to the Governor’s LGBT Tourism Task Force.

Other past memberships include the Blacksburg Partnership Board of Directors, Montgomery County/Blacksburg Local Emergency Planning Committee, New River Valley Regional Commission, Blacksburg Housing and Community Development Advisory Board, and the Long Range Planning Committee.

Michael was born in Knoxville, Tennessee and split his formative years between the suburbs of Asheville, North Carolina and Williamsburg, Virginia.

Susan Anderson

Susan Anderson

Term Expires: 12/31/21

Susan Anderson was elected to Town Council in 2006 and re-elected in November of 2009, 2013, and 2017. She served three terms as Vice Mayor. Anderson currently serves on the following:



  • Downtown Revitalization Committee

Anderson earned a Bachelor of Science degree from Mary Washington College in 1980, majoring in mathematics and classical civilization, and a Master of Science degree in mathematics from Virginia Tech in 1982. She has been teaching mathematics at Virginia Tech since then and is currently a senior instructor. Anderson is a member of the University’s Faculty Senate and Commission on Student Affairs, and is the faculty advisor to the United Feminist Movement, formerly known as Womanspace.

Anderson is a member of the board of directors of the Women's Resource Center of the New River Valley and the coordinator of Montgomery County NOW (National Organization for Women). Since 1990 she has been married to Kim J. Kipling, professor emeritus of philosophy at Radford University.

John L. Bush

John Bush, AIA

Term Expires: 12/31/23

John L. Bush, AIA, was elected to Town Council in November 2009 and currently serves on the following:



Bush’s involvement in local government was a formative experience that helped him to understand how good government operates. It has given him the opportunity to hear concerns of residents and business owners that live and work in, or adjacent to, Blacksburg’s historic district and near the town gown edge.

From 1999 to 2009 John served the town as the chair of the Historic Design Review Board (HDRB). He was also chair of the 16 Squares subcommittee which was charged with addressing issues that affect the original and historic 16 squares - the heart of Downtown Blacksburg.

John also served the local chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) from 1997 to 2009. He has served at every level in the Blue Ridge Chapter, from Director, to Program chair, president-Elect, President and past-President. In addition, he has served the Virginia Society AIA for 4 years as the local chapter representative and as a Director.

John grew-up in Lexington, Kentucky and left the bluegrass state in the fall of 1980 to attend St. John’s College in Santa Fe, New Mexico where he studied the Great Books. After graduating in 1984, John and his family moved to Blacksburg.

Since 1984, he has worked as a frame and trim carpenter, received a Master’s degree in Architecture from Virginia Tech, designed and built timber frames, and has pursued his career as an architect in private firms and for the state in the Office of University Planning at Virginia Tech, where he has been employed since 2001.  

John and Elizabeth have been married since 1982 and have raised their two sons in Blacksburg. John has a passion for the outdoors and enjoys the southern Appalachian Mountains. John believes the scenic and natural beauty of the town and the region are major contributors to the high quality of life that Blacksburg residents appreciate and value.

Lauren Colliver

Term Expires: 12/31/21

Lauren Colliver Lauren Colliver was elected to her first term on Town Council in 2017. She is a small business owner and employer in Blacksburg. She and her husband, Dr. Ethan Colliver, own and operate two businesses: Valley Sports & Spine Clinic and Valley Active. They enjoy offering a comprehensive care model for patients with back and neck pain; sports injuries; nerve, muscle and joint pain. In addition, Lauren was a natural light photographer from  2009-2016, and enjoyed documenting families in and around Blacksburg.

Lauren earned a Bachelor of Science degree from James Madison University in 1998, majoring in Biology. She worked towards a Master of Science in Natural Resources and Wildlife Management at Arizona State University.

Lauren is an active and engaged member of the community. She has served on the board of the Blacksburg Jewish Community Center, served as Assistant Treasurer for Blacksburg New School since 2014, and held volunteer positions with her sons’ Cub Scout Pack. While homeschooling her children from 2009-2013, she taught a science class at the Price House Nature Center for local homeschoolers.

Lauren grew up in Northern Virginia, and after completing her degree lived in Phoenix, Arizona; Cooperstown, New York; Salt Lake City, Utah; and Buffalo, New York before choosing to live in Blacksburg in 2009. Lauren and Ethan have been married since 2001 and enjoy raising their four children in Blacksburg.

Lauren currently serves on the following:




Jerry R. Ford Junior

Jerry R. Ford, Jr

Term Expires: 12/31/23 

Jerry R. Ford, Jr was elected to Town Council in 2018. He previously served on the town’s Long Range Planning Committee from January 2016 to January 2018 and was a member of the town’s Planning Commission from July 2016 to January 2018. He completed the 89th Certified Planning Commissioner Program on May 13, 2017.

Ford currently serves on the following:


A native Virginian, Ford first came to Blacksburg in 1987 to attend Virginia Tech. In 1991, he received a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology and began, what has become, a 26-year career in public service with the Commonwealth of Virginia. Along the way, he received a Master’s of Science degree in Environmental Management from the University of Maryland University College.

Ford has served on the boards of two local non-profits, the New River Valley Bicycle Association, Inc. and Sustainable Blacksburg, Inc. and several Homeowners’ Associations. He also co-founded the non-profit NRV Bike Kitchen, Inc.

He recognizes the rich outdoor opportunities the town and region have to offer. He enjoys bicycling, especially overnight bikepacking trips, the performing arts, reading, and visiting Virginia’s many historical sites. He has resided in Blacksburg for over 25 years and has been married to his wife, Beth, since 1999.

Susan Mattingly

Susan Mattingly

Term Expires: 12/31/21

Susan Mattingly is a 27 year resident of Blacksburg and has a long history of civic engagement. She has held leadership positions in the numerous organizations including: Downtown Blacksburg, Inc., the YMCA at Virginia Tech, the Blacksburg Partnership Collaborative for the Arts, and Spotlight Southwest Virginia, in addition to being an active participant on several town committees. Her focus has been on creating a vibrant business and cultural environment. She has served as the Executive Director of the Lyric Theatre since November 2000.N

Susan grew up in Albuquerque, New Mexico and Northern Virginia but has her roots firmly planted in Blacksburg. She has been married to her husband, Kelly since 1983. They are the proud parents of Avery and John.

Susan currently serves on the following: