The Botetourt County Board of Supervisors named Richard Bailey to serve the remainder of Jack Leffel’s term on the Board last Thursday.
Leffel was chair of the Board and represented the Fincastle District. He died at the age of 74 on Dec. 4 during emergency heart surgery.
“Jack Leffel was a wonderful person,” Bailey said. “He was a friend. He gave a lot of himself to the county,” he said. “Big shoes to fill. I look forward to the challenge.”
He explained that he has a lot to learn, but is looking forward to the challenge.
“It’s a great honor to be a representative of the Fincastle District,” Bailey, a Republican, said.
Bailey noted how good the county has been to his family as the primary reason why he wanted to serve in public office.
He attended Virginia Tech for his undergraduate degree in animal science, as well as for veterinary school.
He returned to the county in 1988. He founded the Botetourt Veterinary Hospital and ran it for over 24 years. He eventually sold the practice to one of his associates, but still works there on a part-time basis.
Bailey will represent the Fincastle District until next November at which time he will have to seek reelection, something that he eagerly plans to do.
He already has his mind set on the two things he wants to tackle: agriculture and responsible economic development. Going forward, he explained, preserving the quality of life in the county, while still encouraging growth, will be important.
He added that spending taxpayer dollars in a wise manner matters deeply to him.
Even though he hasn’t specifically worked with any of the other members of the board in the past, Bailey is no stranger to them. He explained that he’s had the chance to get to know most them because of his veterinary hospital.
“I look forward to working with them going forward,” he said of his fellow board members.
Billy Martin, of the Blue Ridge District, explained that four individuals expressed an interest in filling the vacancy left by Leffel.
“He seems like a real nice guy,” said Ray Sloan, of the Buchanan District, in reference to Bailey.
Sloan went on to explain that Bailey’s stature in the community was one of the driving reasons why he was selected by the Board.
Chair Donald Scothorn echoed Sloan’s sentiment, explaining that the board asked around the community who they felt should be given the opportunity to represent the Fincastle District.
“His name came up each and every time,” Scothorn said of Bailey.
Scothorn added that the board wanted someone who would be able to continue the work that Leffel started.