Roanoke County has announced that Tammy Shepherd will represent the roughly 19,200 people in the Vinton Magisterial District for 2024. Whereas most supervisors are voted on to a four-year term by County residents in one of its five districts, Shepherd comes to the Board of Supervisors by the unusual move of appointment.
Shepherd was chosen unanimously by the current Board of Supervisors members to complete the unfulfilled third year of former Board member Jason Peters.
Supervisor Jason Peters was re-elected to represent Vinton in 2021. However, in 2023 he ran for the position of County Commissioner of the Revenue. Peters has explained that, reluctant to take a head-to-head competition, he originally had been led to believe incumbent Nancy Horn, at 78, was preparing to retire after twenty-some years in that position. However, at the last minute, Horn announced her desire to run for re-election.
As explained here, despite Horn’s wide recognition, Peters bested Horn by 2,244 votes and, by defeating the last Democrat office holder in Roanoke County, helped make history by turning the County all red for the first time ever.
Shepherd will now begin to represent the Vinton District until the end of 2024. In November of this year, there will be a special election for voters to chose who will represent Vinton during 2025, the unfulfilled fourth year of Peters’ term.
Then, in November 2025, there will be yet another election to choose a supervisor for a new, four-year term.
Even before last November’s election, Vinton resident and well-known principal broker at Mountain View Realty Tim Greenway had announced his intention to run for the position in 2024 as an independent. Shepherd is not known to have announced her intentions for November. However, since Shepherd is a life-long Vinton resident who owns the prominent Shepherd Realty Group, her appointment may be setting up a contest between two local realtors with vast name recognition and impressive social networks.
The full text of Roanoke County’s January 11 press release is below:
“The Board of Supervisors of Roanoke County today voted to approve the appointment of Tammy E. Shepherd to fill the vacancy in the Vinton Magisterial District. Mrs. Shepherd will hold office until a special election November 5, 2024. The person elected at the special election will serve the remainder of Jason Peters’s term, as a result of his election to Roanoke County Commissioner of the Revenue. Mr. Peters’s [original] term expires December 31, 2025.
“’Tammy has prior experience in serving Roanoke County while on the Board of Equalization and is familiar with departments and staff,” expressed the Board of Supervisors. “A life-long
resident of Vinton, coupled with expertise in business operations, finance and management,
positions her as an outstanding representative for the Vinton District.’
“’I am deeply grateful and privileged to be chosen as the representative of the Vinton Magisterial District during this interim phase,’ said newly appointed Supervisor Tammy Shepherd. ‘I’ve earned a living working in Vinton, and now I have an opportunity to give back to the community that has supported me.’
“A proud graduate of William Byrd High School, Mrs. Shepherd, 54, attended Virginia Western Community College and has worked in the field of real estate for more than 35 years. She holds a Virginia Real Estate Broker License and Virginia Real Estate Salesperson License. Mrs. Shepherd has owned Shepherd Realty Group since 2017 where she manages the day-to-day operations and is an active salesperson. Prior to becoming a small business owner, she was employed as the business manager for 14 years at LT McGhee and Company where she was responsible for managing more than 150 properties and gained extensive experience in real estate, finance, accounting, and management. She also worked for 16 years in real estate sales with LT McGhee and Company. Mrs. Shepherd was selected to serve on Roanoke County’s Board of Equalization in 2022 and has served on multiple HOA boards. Mrs. Shepherd also has served as president of the William Byrd Football Booster Club and treasurer of the William Byrd Booster Club.
“Mrs. Shepherd and her husband Robert reside in Vinton and have four children.
“The Board of Supervisors accepted applications for the vacancy until January 1, 2024. Nine applications were received. Applicants were asked to submit a 300-word essay on why they wanted to be the Supervisor to represent the Vinton Magisterial District and why they felt they were qualified to serve. The Board voted unanimously to appoint Mrs. Shepherd.”
In contrast to Roanoke City, where the seven members of City Council are elected by an “at large” system, the County has more of a “ward” system. In that way, each of the five distinct regions of the County is guaranteed one seat on the five-member Board of Supervisors, and residents of that district can vote for their own supervisor only, and not supervisors for other districts.
In addition to the Vinton District, the County’s other four districts include Hollins, Catawba, Windsor Hills, and Cave Spring. Currently, all are represented by Republicans. To maintain equal representation, each district has roughly the same population, just over 19,000 residents. However, since the sprawling Catawba District is largely rural, it is the largest in area, stretching from the Montgomery County line on the west near Dixie Caverns, to the Craig County line on the north, and even up to the Botetourt line, Carvins Cove, and iconic McAfee’s Knob on the northeast. The boundaries for the five districts can be seen on this map.