Joseph W. (Joe) Guthrie announced that he will be seeking re-election to the Pulaski County Board of Supervisors in November. Guthrie was elected to the board representing the Cloyd District in 2015. Prior to that, he was elected to the School Board in 2011. Guthrie was elected to the Board of Supervisors as a Republican and will seek the nomination from the Pulaski County Republican Party at its Mass Meeting on April 25th.
Guthrie is a native of Pulaski County. He lives on a farm near Dublin that has belonged to his family since 1795. He has owned and operated a beef cattle and hay farm there since 1997. He is also on the faculty of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Virginia Tech where he teaches in the Agricultural Technology Program.
After graduating from Pulaski County High School, Guthrie earned a bachelor’s degree in Agricultural Economics from Virginia Tech and a master’s in Agricultural Economics and International Trade from Massey University in New Zealand where he was a Fulbright Scholar.
Guthrie cited his life-long ties to the community and his experiences as a business owner, educator, and elected official for the past 8 years as some of his qualifications for running for re-election, along with his strong desire to make the county a better place for people to live, work, raise a family and retire.
Among the accomplishments of the past 4 years, he included the newly robust economy in the county, low unemployment, job creation, and businesses that have announced new jobs, investments, and expansions in the past four years. “We were the top county in Virginia in per capita job creation and investment in 2017. We are looking for even more economic development announcements this year.”
Guthrie also noted that he was an advocate and supporter of the bond referendum to construct a new Pulaski County Middle School. “I studied this issue for over six years, on the School Board and on the Board of Supervisors, and looked at every possibility. The best value proposition for the long-term benefit of the people of the county was a new consolidated school. We were also fortunate to find an excellent location, had a great design for the building, and we were able to get a very favorable interest rate on the bond.”
Guthrie said he was also glad to have worked to acquire a donation of over 100 acres of open land in the heart of the Fairlawn community for a new public park. The property, known as the Smith Farm, stretches from Old Riverlawn Elementary School to the New River. A walking trail from the school to the river and to the train trestle at Hazel Hollow Road is scheduled to be constructed this year. Guthrie said he is excited to continue working on improvements for the rest of the park in his next term in office.
“We have also balanced all of our budgets without diminishing our reserve funds and without any tax increases, other than the one approved by the voters for the middle school, during my four years on the Board of Supervisors,” Guthrie noted in his announcement. “I intend to continue that in the future: providing the schools and services we need without any tax increases and without dipping into our reserves. We have been growing every year and we intend to keep growing in jobs and population. That growth will provide additional revenues we need for the services the county provides and provide the workforce needed for the new and expanded businesses we are bringing to the county.”
“I also want to be sure we provide access to a community college education for all Pulaski County students who want one. I envision this as a public/private partnership with the County providing part of the funding and part coming from businesses, organizations, individuals, and fundraisers. I’ve asked that we begin with $100,000 for an Access to Community College (ACCE) Program in this year’s budget.”
“Another issue I’ve worked on, and will continue to work on if re-elected, is creating balance and value in the tax revenue agreement the County has had with the City of Radford for over 40 years,” Guthrie added in his remarks. “That agreement stemmed from the days when counties needed to protect themselves from annexation from cities. With a long-term moratorium on annexation in place, and Pulaski County not under the threat of annexation, we need to find other value for the revenue we share with Radford. We have been and will continue to negotiate new areas of mutually beneficial partnerships with Radford that will bring more jobs and better quality of life on both sides of the river. I am confident we can create an agreement in the near future.”
Guthrie also stated his opposition to increasing the compensation for the future members of the Board of Supervisors. “The members of the board have been asked to consider adding health insurance benefits for the board that will begin in 2020. This would at least double or even more than triple the amount Supervisors are currently compensated and could cost over $100,000 per year. I am opposed to that. Our work on the Board of Supervisors is part-time and volunteer. We receive a modest but adequate stipend. Supervisors have other employment that can provide their health insurance. I would rather see that money go to other work in the County. I will vote against the health insurance compensation if it is proposed, and I will refuse to accept it if it is available and I am re-elected.”
Guthrie and his wife Carol live on the farm near Dublin. They have three children. Julie is a graduate of Yale and a scientist at SGS Polymer Solutions in Christiansburg. Brendan is a sophomore at Virginia Tech in the Corps of Cadets on an Army ROTC Scholarship. James is a senior at Pulaski County High School and will attend Emory & Henry College next year.
“We have done much so far to improve the economy and the quality of life for the citizens of Pulaski County in the past four years, but much more remains to be done. The prospects for our future are bright and exciting. I believe I have proven that I can help lead the County into a more prosperous future as a member of the Board of Supervisors and I ask people in the Cloyd District for their support and vote.”