Meet the 2022 Lynchburg City Council candidates

Students registered to vote in Lynchburg will make their voices heard on Election Day, Nov. 8.

The Liberty Champion compiled a short interview with each candidate for Lynchburg City Council.

The Champion asked candidates to submit a short bio and photograph. The candidates were also given identical questions and a word count for their answers. 

The opinions expressed within these articles are of the individual candidates, not of the Liberty Champion or Liberty University. 

Their biographies and answers give an overview of the candidates and why they want to serve on City Council and will help voters in making their decisions. The candidate information is in alphabetical order.

Patrick Earl

My name is Patrick Earl. I’ve proudly lived in Lynchburg for nearly a decade, serving as a teacher at Randolph College. Originally, I am from Michigan and grew up in a lower middle-class home as the son of two school teachers, who instilled in me the importance of a quality education and the value of kindness. Growing up, I became a scholarship athlete in track and cross country. As a student athlete, I learned the importance of hard work, discipline and dedication. When I left home, I took those values with me. I have earned a B.S. in biology and an MFA in acting. My amazing wife of 12 years, Stephanie, and I have two children, Arden (6) and Lona (1.5), but we have also served as therapeutic foster parents with HumanKind. Now, I want to serve you on Lynchburg City Council.

The City of Lynchburg’s homicide rate doubled from 2020 to 2021. If elected to City Council, how do you see your role changing that and making the city a safer place to be? 

It is a travesty that the homicide rate doubled over the span of just one year. I would like to see a special investigation as to why that happened. But I also believe that it is important to look at statistics critically. It is worth noting that violent crime has been virtually stagnant since 2010. Taking into account that we have 10,000 more citizens, one could say it has gone down. I say all of this because I believe our city is on the right track, and as a City Council member, I plan to keep it that way. Our police officers have received wage increases, making them the highest paid in the area, and we broke ground on a new $40 million police headquarters on Sept. 30. Big changes like these take time and investment, and I believe we are focused on the right investments:
our officers. 

What would be your top three priorities if elected to City Council?  

My first priority is how to better deliver all city services: schools, safety, human resources, works, parks and recreation, etc. From our first responders to public works and human services, we are understaffed. We have hardworking employees, and they deserve to have the sufficient personnel so as to not be continually stretched too thin. 

The economy has taken a hit during the pandemic and, with inflation as high as it is, people are rightly concerned about the future. I believe we need to prioritize methods to aid our citizens and assist both new and thriving businesses. We need to continue streamlining our business licensing process, as well as give tax incentives to developers who want to help rejuvenate our city.  

I also want to prioritize “putting civility back into civics.” I am running as an independent to keep national politics out of the local level. Let’s come together, collaborate and tackle challenges together.

Lynchburg has one of the highest meals taxes in the country. Would you be in favor of lowering this rate? Why or why not?  

As the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance Forum, I believe that the easiest and most immediate tax relief we can give is to reduce the meals tax. This tax has brought in an extra $3 million in the first 11 months of last fiscal year. In lowering this tax, we put money directly back into the pockets of hardworking citizens grabbing a bite for lunch or in between multiple jobs. This may also help working single parents whose schedule forces them to rely on quick takeout meals. It also assists city eateries by counteracting the prices artificially increased due to inflation. It is also tax relief that puts money into the pockets of EVERY Lynchburger, not just the ones that own a home or car.

Why should LU students vote for you?

I have been a college professor for eight years. I teach students like you every day. It has been a while since I have been a student, but I do understand the pressure you are under, the uncertainty some of you might feel facing graduation and also the homesickness as well. I want you to vote for me because I want everyone, including those who live in Lynchburg just nine months out of the year for four years, to feel at home and taken care of. I even want you to think that you might want to STAY! Opportunities are growing here in Lynchburg, and we need young and talented people like yourselves to keep them growing. I also believe that there is nothing more powerful than a good education, and you can count on me to help that. So, VOTE EARLY AND VOTE EARL!

Marty Misjuns

I am a Christian, husband, father of four boys, retired Coast Guard chief petty officer, former Lynchburg fire captain and Liberty alumnus. I’m honored to be a Republican nominee for City Council. I deployed overseas twice defending our homeland, and I was also mobilized after 9/11, for domestic emergencies during hurricane season and as a specialized instructor for Coast Guard members deploying to the Middle East. I have experience owning and running a small business in residential construction, and last year, I transitioned into a leadership role in the private sector. My background in military operations, homeland security, law enforcement, emergency medical services, firefighting and incident command led to my selection as an adjunct instructor to teach national standard curriculum for active shooter response through Texas State University’s Advanced Law Enforcement Rapid Response Training (ALERRT) program. I am prepared to bring my background to work for citizens and solve the challenges of high crime, high taxes and schools that don’t listen to parents caused by Lynchburg Democrats to make Lynchburg safe and more affordable.

The City of Lynchburg’s homicide rate doubled from 2020 to 2021. If elected to City Council, how do you see your role changing that and making the city a safer place to be?

Keeping citizens safe is the number one priority of government. Democrats have controlled Lynchburg for two decades, and they failed to invest in public safety until an election year, reactively, after the system was crumbling. I worked in public safety in this city for almost 15 years, and I watched reasonable concerns of police, fire, EMS and 911 dispatch front-line employees dismissed in the budget annually. It starts with rebuilding our local economy to produce great jobs, ensuring every child has access to great education, being proactive with local public safety policy and providing economic opportunity for every citizen.

What would be your top three priorities if elected to City Council?  

My campaign is focused on three areas: Safer Streets, Stronger Schools and Smarter Spending. All three of these areas work together to achieve a conservative long-term vision of prosperity for our city and the region. For our schools to be strong, they must also be safe — for everyone. Achieving long-term crime reduction in our city requires quality education to develop a capable workforce. When we combine a safe city with quality schools and fiscal restraint, business and industry will flock to invest in our city, creating more economic opportunity for everyone, from economically underserved workers and families to new college graduates.

Lynchburg has one of the highest meals taxes in the country. Would you be in favor of lowering this rate? Why or why not?  

The meals tax in Lynchburg is too high, making it less affordable for college students and families to eat out, and hurting service industry employees by reducing consumer gratuity (tips). The Sept. 27 Lynchburg Finance Committee Agenda shows the city collected $16.4 million extra taxes from citizens than they planned on last fiscal year, and the year will end with $43 million more in city funds than they expected to have. The meals tax they planned to collect was $14.7 million, and they did not need the money they took from you. The meals tax needs to be lowered —

Why should LU students vote for you? 

As a Liberty alumnus, former Lynchburg fire captain and retired Coast Guard chief petty officer, I understand the challenges college students face and have the experience and commitment necessary to provide a safe city while they study in Lynchburg. I value the unique characteristics of being an LU graduate in a secular society where the lives of the unborn aren’t valued, free speech is censored, the Second Amendment is under attack and radical ideology threatens American exceptionalism. The policies I support will make Lynchburg an attractive city to get a job, get married, start a family and pursue the American dream — making Lynchburg a great option after graduation.

Stephanie Reed

Stephanie Reed is proud to call Lynchburg, Virginia, her home. Her deep love and passion for her community has motivated her to run for City Council and serve the people of Lynchburg. Stephanie has spent the majority of her career in business, broadcast journalism and ministry. In 2001, Stephanie married her husband Dale, who was actively serving as a colonel in the United States Air Force. She spent 18 years as an Air Force spouse and raised her family all over the world. Stephanie is a dedicated mother of four incredible children. Their family journey has been and continues to be guided by their faith. Throughout her career, Stephanie has been a substitute teacher, women’s ministry public speaker and owner of a furniture restoration business while she lived in Germany. She currently operates a real estate investment company in Lynchburg. Stephanie has been actively involved in the Lynchburg community. She currently serves on the leadership team for the women’s ministry program at Thomas Road Baptist Church. She also serves as the vice president of the board of directors for the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family and hosting local college students who don’t have family close by.

The City of Lynchburg’s homicide rate doubled from 2020 to 2021. If elected to City Council, how do you see your role changing that and making the city a safer place to be?  

As a mom to four (three of which have attended Liberty or are currently attending), I look at Lynchburg with the concern that countless parents across the city are feeling. We are facing a public safety crisis in Lynchburg. Our police department has been understaffed and underfunded for years, and their needs have been ignored by current City Council leadership.  Recently, there have been nights where only three officers were on patrol due to manpower issues. This is a prime contributing factor to the increase in crime throughout the city. When elected, I want to work with our law enforcement agencies and local leaders to develop a recruitment and retention plan that effectively addresses staffing shortages and officer burnout. I’m running to make sure that our citizens in Lynchburg, as well as our students on campus, feel as safe as possible in our city.

What would be your top three priorities if elected to City Council?  

My top three priorities this year address the core concerns that I have heard from countless citizens across our city. I’m running to strengthen our public safety system, restore excellence in local education and to be a good steward with taxpayer money. First and foremost, if our city isn’t safe, nothing else matters — people won’t stay in the city if they don’t feel safe. Second, I believe that every child deserves a solid education regardless of where they live. Wise spending on quality curriculum, supporting our teachers and their needs and opening opportunities to all students in Lynchburg are the keys to educational success. Finally, I want to work to put more money back in the pockets of our citizens and business owners by making wise fiscal decisions. In order to get there, I want to work to cut the recent, burdensome tax increase, develop a business-friendly environment and help individuals and families thrive in our city.

Lynchburg has one of the highest meals taxes in the country. Would you be in favor of lowering this rate? Why or why not?  

With rising inflation, soaring prices at the gas pump and higher grocery bills, citizens in Lynchburg are taxed enough as it is. Between my sons and their peers at LU, I often hear from them the same things I hear from our citizens in Lynchburg: the extra couple dollars add up and discourages them from eating at local restaurants. When we stop eating out because it becomes too expensive, then we affect the success of local businesses as well as the job market because less customers means less money, which means less staff which leads to less jobs.  When elected to City Council, I want to work to make it a little bit easier on your wallet when going out to eat by lowering the meals tax rate so we can all continue to enjoy the delicious food our local restaurants and eateries have to offer.

Why should LU students vote for you? 

My deep love and passion for my community motivated me to run for City Council and serve the people of Lynchburg. I believe that my career and background as a mother, Air Force spouse, women’s ministry leader, vice president of the board of directors for the Blue Ridge Pregnancy Center and business owner has made me uniquely qualified to serve this city. Through being involved in the college careers of my boys, hosting students in my home who don’t have family nearby and serving as a hall mom to many, I know what the issues are that our students are facing in the Lynchburg area. With the impact that Liberty University has on our community, City Council needs a leader that understands the concerns of our students as much as they understand the concerns of the entire community.

Larry Taylor

In the 30 years Larry Taylor has lived in Lynchburg, he has raised a family, built a successful business and has been a youth mentor at his local church. Larry is running because the people of Lynchburg are tired of being ignored. Our schools are failing, and we’re overtaxed. The local economy is stagnant and our streets are more violent than ever before. We need a change! Humbly, Larry is offering himself as an alternative to the current political majority that has poorly governed Lynchburg for a generation. As a Republican member of council, he will always fight for lower taxes, our first responders and education opportunities for young people.

The City of Lynchburg’s homicide rate doubled from 2020 to 2021. If elected to City Council, how do you see your role changing that and making the city a safer place to be?

There is more violence in our streets than ever before. We could have hired more officers, 911 dispatchers and even EMS staff over the last four to eight years, but mostly, this current council has not. When elected, I will tell the police that I have their backs and will prioritize historic investment in public safety.

What would be your top three priorities if elected to City Council?  

Lower taxes, historic investment in public safety and foster educational opportunity. Our taxes are too high, our community is seeing more violence in our streets and our school board is failing to do the things necessary to provide a world-class education.

Lynchburg has one of the highest meals taxes in the country. Would you be in favor of lowering this rate? Why or why not?  

Yes. With $100 million in surplus over the last two years for the city, we can cut a great deal of taxes on our people, all while maintaining and investing in current services. Folks are hurting at the pump, the grocery store and even at City Hall because this current council has voted to increase property taxes by $5 million as well as other fees too. We must do this (cut taxes) to help offset current economic hardships.

Why should LU students vote for you? 

College students play a critical role in our community. I want students from all of our colleges to feel safer, more equipped to spend their dollars here and ultimately create a city where they can get a job and build a life here.

Walter Virgil

For 14 years, I’ve built meaningful relationships and fostered trust throughout the city. I’ve honed my skills by God’s grace to be uniquely postured for what I believe the city needs: unification and productivity. I moved to Lynchburg in 2008 and was blessed to serve various communities by connecting residents to resources. I joined Interfaith Outreach Association as director over programming for men and women in the Lynchburg jail, aiding in their successful reentry back into the community. “Get Fresh and Live,” a nonprofit I founded, committed to youth in the Lynchburg juvenile detention center and our local school system, empowering young people through proven evidence-based methodologies. I served as vice president of ESS, a staffing agency … placing over 2,000 people in jobs within two years. I now work at Liberty University as director of strategic projects and alliances through the IDE division. I volunteer on Centra Health’s Community Benefits Committee. For 14 years, I served as a member of the Ramp Church International as an elder. The love of my life, Kristal Virgil, received her B.A. in broadcast journalism and is a proud LU alum. Kristal is an amazing mother to our two children, DJ and Joya. I am running for City Council to be a voice, an advocate and a bridge builder for our city.

The City of Lynchburg’s homicide rate doubled from 2020 to 2021. If elected to City Council, how do you see your role changing that and making the city a safer place to be? 

I believe before you can be an agent of change for any cause, you must first have a contextual knowledge of the situation, along with an understanding of the people that are guilty of the activities we desire to see changed. During my 14-year career here in the city of Lynchburg, I’ve been graced with the opportunity to work with families and communities that have experienced great tragedies related to gun violence. I have also had opportunities to work with both men and women in Lynchburg City jail that have been guilty of gun violence. The common assessment was that they were broken, in need of love, hope and opportunities. My time and service here has graced me with relationships in the community, our churches, local businesses and law enforcement to collectively wrap around those that are subjected to repeat violent crimes in hopes of breaking their dangerous cycle. This approach along with my experience has won the official endorsement of the Virginia Police Benevolence Association. I’m honored and humbled by their support of my candidacy and with their help, we can make the change we desire
to see.

What would be your top three priorities if elected to City Council? 

The three areas of focus are 

– Improving the quality of our education system and creating a culture of transparency and advocacy for our local educators and our children. We must value our educators by taking to heart their recommendations and suggestions while compensating them competitively. We must value our children by focusing on helping them cultivate a healthy self-perception so they can discover their intrinsic value. This is the key element that’ll ensure their successful persistence and advancement through their academic track. 

– Reducing crime in a city (reference response to gun violence reduction question). 

– Economic empowerment. Lynchburg must remove unnecessary barriers for businesses to establish roots in our city. We must be committed to reducing our meals tax. We have an underdeveloped workforce for the job opportunities that are in our city. This is a prime opportunity for our local vocational certification programs to partner with organizations that serve the members of our community in need of gainful employment in those areas of opportunity. 

– I have the track record to move the needle forward in all three of these areas.

Lynchburg has one of the highest meals taxes in the country. Would you be in favor of lowering this rate? Why or why not? 

I’m definitely in favor of reducing the meals tax. We (the city) can afford to do it. It’ll provide necessary relief to the many local restaurants and coffee shops that have struggled financially just to keep their doors open during COVID. The sad truth is, most of our favorite eateries have still not recovered from the many sacrifices made during the pandemic.

Why should LU students vote for you? 

I believe I should be considered for City Council because I came to this city as a 23-year-old college dropout with no hope. Since then, I gave my life to the Lord and found faith community at the Ramp Church Int. I’ve been discipled, ordained as an elder in the Lord’s church and have served the people of this beautiful city in various capacities for the last 14 years of my life. I have served here at Liberty University in the division of IDE for going on two years. I’ve been honored and committed to the mission of the late Dr. Falwell, training in my opinion some of the greatest young people on the planet, to be Champions for Christ. The Lord has graced me with an undeniable track record of loving and serving his people while connecting them to the resources and support they need. That has and will remain my commitment until the glorious return of the Lord.

Beau Wright

Beau Wright is a third-generation Lynchburg native and an eighth-generation Central Virginian. After graduating from E.C. Glass High School in 2007, he received a B.A. in government and history from the College of William & Mary. He is also a graduate of the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership at the University of Virginia. Elected to City Council in May 2018, Beau was elected by his colleagues in July 2020 to serve as vice mayor. On Council, Beau has fought for public education, critical investments in community infrastructure, including a new police department headquarters and the Lakeside Drive Bridge, and for stronger municipal services. Prior to his election to City Council, from 2011 to 2017, he served in numerous capacities in the White House under President Obama. In his last role there, as the senior deputy director of operations and director for finance, Beau was responsible for managing the White House’s financial operations and advising senior White House leadership on budget strategy. Beau currently serves as chair of the Central Virginia Metropolitan Planning Organization and Community Development Advisory Committee and on the boards of Virginia First Cities, the Pierce Street Gateway Project and the Endstation Theatre Company. An avid hiker, jogger and lover of the outdoors, he lives in the Diamond Hill neighborhood in downtown Lynchburg.

The City of Lynchburg’s homicide rate doubled from 2020 to 2021. If elected to City Council, how do you see your role changing that and making the city a safer place to be? 

Safety is non-negotiable. But like cities and towns across the country, Lynchburg has struggled to recruit and retain police officers. That’s why, during my four years on City Council, I have fought to increase police and first responder pay. We now have the highest starting police pay in the region and implemented a new pay scale model that will strengthen the retention of skilled officers. I am honored to have received the endorsement of the Police Benevolent Association, the organization that represents our law enforcement community, because they know, as I do, that public safety is essential. 

What would be your top three priorities if elected to City Council?

– Economic and Business Development — I believe that the city, to maintain and expand its competitive edge, should do everything within its power to foster a dynamic, diversified local economy. That’s why, during my time on City Council, I have fought for pro-business investments. 

– Education — I believe public education is a cornerstone of our community and that our city’s success hinges on it. It’s critical that when our students go out into the world, they are ready for whatever’s next — the military, technical training, college or the workforce. 

– Community Investment — Lynchburg is a wonderful place with incredible neighborhoods. Each neighborhood, though, has unique needs: a park, for example, or sewer access or sidewalks. The city needs to hear and work to meet those needs. On Council, I will fight for each neighborhood across the city, no matter the zip code.

Lynchburg has one of the highest meals taxes in the country. Would you be in favor of lowering this rate? Why or
why not? 

Meals tax is a significant source of revenue for the community, around $18 million in recent years. It helps make possible increases in police pay, the addition of much-needed firefighter positions and the maintenance of our streets and park system. But as someone who likes to eat out, I know how hard it hits the wallet. I think we should consider lowering the rate, but as part of that consideration, we need to figure out either how to replace that revenue or determine what city services we are willing to trim.

Why should LU students vote for you? 

I believe that Lynchburg’s best days are ahead. But to get there, it’s going to take all of us, and Liberty students, faculty, staff and alumni in particular play a critical role in the life of our community and in our shared future. To me, governing is about hard work, common sense and importantly, collaboration. That’s the leadership style that I want to bring to City Council, working for things that matter to all of us: safe streets, economic opportunity and a high quality of life.

The Liberty Champion made numerous attempts to contact Treney Tweedy. At press time, we had not heard from her. For information on the candidate, go to her website

One comment

  • Concerned Lynchburg resident

    This list is incomplete: Treney Tweedy is also running for City Council. You should also include her information so that your students can make a fully informed decision based on information from all of the available candidates.

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