Walters new supervisors chairman after Guthrie named to Dept. of Agriculture and Consumer Services post by Gov.-Elect Youngkin

There have been some big changes in Pulaski County government this evening.

To start, the Ingles District’s Laura Walters is the new Chairman of the county’s Board of Supervisors – the first woman in county history to hold that position – following the announcement by former Chairman Joe Guthrie that he has been selected by Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin as the Commonwealth’s new Commissioner of the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services.

The board met Tuesday evening for its annual organizational meeting in the Pulaski County Innovation Center off Viscoe Road in Fairlawn.

When the time came during the meeting for a member of the board to nominate a chairman, as promised outgoing Robinson District Supervisor Charles Bopp nominated Guthrie for another year as chairman.

Guthrie, the Cloyd District representative on the board who has served two straight one-year terms as chairman, then announced he would have to decline the nomination, and announced to the board his appointment by Youngkin.

Guthrie’s selection to lead the Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services was announced officially by Youngkin’s staff in an email to the media just moments before Tuesday’s meeting.

The email also announced that Matt Lohr had been named as the next Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

“Agriculture is the Commonwealth’s largest independent industry and plays a crucial role in Virginia’s economy and communities. Matt and Joseph bring decades worth of hands-on experience that will give Virginia a competitive advantage in the agriculture industry. Together, we will deliver for our ranchers, farmers, and all Virginians to help ensure our farmers and ranchers thrive,” said Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin.

Following his announcement, Guthrie then placed Walters’ name in nomination for chairman of the board, a move that was approved unanimously by the board.

“I’ll do everything I can to keep us moving forward and do what’s best for our citizens,” Walters said.

Next, Guthrie nominated Draper District Supervisor Dirk Compton as vice chairman of the board – a move that was approved unanimously as well.

Following what County Administrator Jonathan Sweet predicted would be a lengthy executive session, the board was expected to fill the Robinson District’s seat to replace Bopp. Bopp planned for the organizational meeting to be his last, and expressed the desire to serve through that meeting so he could again nominate Guthrie as chairman.

Also Tuesday, the board unanimously reappointed Ashley Edmonds as the Clerk of the Board; Markie Quesenberry as Deputy Clerk, and County Attorney Tim Kirtner as Parliamentarian.

We’ll have more later on any further action by the board Tuesday, and on Guthrie’s selection by Governor-Elect Youngkin.