By Alex Bridges
J.G. "Bucky" Miller says he wants to carve out his own path as Mount Jackson's next mayor.
Voters picked Miller over challenger Allen L. "Al" Asbury in the town election Tuesday. Miller said Wednesday the response by the voters and the wide margin by which he won made him feel good about stepping into the mayor's position.
"It's something that I always wanted and everything kind of came in line," Miller said.
Miller, a former councilman, takes over the post held by longtime Mayor Joseph Williams, who died last year. Miller credits Williams with pushing him to run for council years ago.
"I really wish I would have had him physically there to celebrate with me but he was there in spirit, he was in all my thoughts through the day," Miller said.
But Miller doesn't plan to try to fill Williams' shoes.
"He went down his path and did his thing and did it right and I hope that I can carve my path and continue off of the growth that he brought to the town," Miller said.
Miller said he wants to do something in honor of Williams and plans to bring some ideas to council.
Whitney J. Sperry Miller, a member of the Planning Commission, moves into a seat on council. Sperry Miller and newcomer Roger Rudy take office June 1. Sperry Miller is familiar with some projects that came before the commission but said she expects to observe council at least for the first few meetings.
"I'm excited to serve with the another new council member and kind of get into it and start the learning process," Sperry Miller said. "I'm sure there's going to be a learning curve."
Sperry Miller also continues a family tradition in town politics. Her grandfather Jack Sperry served as mayor in the 1970s.
Voters also re-elected Kenneth Hackenbracht to another term.
Longtime Councilman W. Todd Holtzman failed to gain enough votes for a fifth term but bore no ill feelings and spoke positively about the winning candidates.
"I would say at this point I'm excited for those that won the election," Holtzman said. "They are all fantastic candidates and the town is in great hands."
Holtzman faced a number of controversial issues while on council but didn't pull any punches.
"I think that I was never afraid to be very forward when I thought there was something important to talk about and telling it exactly like it is isn't always popular," Holtzman said. "I feel good about my participation. I learned a lot. It really was a great experience and a pleasure to serve the town all that time."
Holtzman isn't ruling out future political aspirations. Holtzman had announced his candidacy for a special election for the state Senate District 26 seat if Sen. Mark Obenshain won the attorney general race this past election. Obenshain lost the election. Holtzman still has more than $70,000 he could spend toward a campaign, according to the Virginia Public Access Project.
"I would never close the door to that possibility," Holtzman said. "We currently have a great state senator and a great delegate and at this point there are no opportunities."
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org