Trinkle Bows Out of Local Politics

Dave Trinkle has decided not to run again for City Council

Three term City Council member Dave Trinkle said “it wasn’t an easy decision” and one he wrestled with for several months, before deciding not to run again for Roanoke City Council in May.

Trinkle certainly has a full plate already, as a geriatric psychiatrist for Carilion, an associate dean at the Virginia Tech Carilion School of Medicine and as owner of the Fork (Alley, Market) restaurants.

Trinkle was first elected as an independent candidate on the For the City ticket in the aftermath of the flap over Victory Stadium’s future before running with the Democratic Party label twice after that.

There are three seats in all up for grabs in the May election; the other two incumbents (Bill Bestpitch, Ray Ferris) both have reportedly said they would run again. So far three people have stepped forward to seek the Democratic slots for City Council, including former 17th District candidate Djuna Osborne, former pastor Joe Cobb and publisher Robert Jeffrey Jr.

For his part, Trinkle said there were still issues he would “love” to work on, but he came to the conclusion that Roanoke “is in a good spot right now” with a lot accomplished over the past 12 years. Calling himself a believer in term limits, Trinkle also admits to being “surprised” he’s been on council for 12 years already. “A new face or faces on City Council with some legacy-proven leaders will [be able] to take Roanoke forward.”

Trinkle looked back to arguments and indecision and “citizens not feeling great about Roanoke” as primary motivations for his first run for elected office after spending time on the Roanoke City School Board.  “We’ve sort of turned a corner and embraced Roanoke for what it is. We’ve been able to be progressive; fund the schools and create economic projects that have jobs. We’ve been able to improve quality of life.”

The greenway system, other natural amenities and the new Elmwood Park amphitheater are at the top of Trinkle’s list when he looks back. “The street chatter is very positive now and that’s a change. Midsize cities are looking to Roanoke now as a role model. I think we’re in an excellent spot right now.”

Trinkle said his other jobs actually overlapped with his council work, which he will miss, but he also looks “for other doors” to open up perhaps in the future, doors that “would allow me to be engaged [with the city].” That could mean elected office or other ways to be engaged – or other open doors even at Carilion.

By Gene Marrano