STRASBURG — Ray Lough is hoping to bring back a small-town atmosphere to the community.
Announcing his bid for mayor this week, Lough said he sees a divided town that could benefit from a mayor who puts transparency, unity and accessibility at the forefront of his duties.
Following many months during which Mayor Richard Orndorff Jr. has been battling three separate court cases, Lough said he hopes his campaign will bring some relief to a community uncertain about the future.
“It’s made people angry,” he said of town news in recent months. “I feel I can bring Strasburg back together.”
With the campaign motto “citizen, not politician,” Lough said although he has not run for office before, he brings extensive experience to the job from his 13 years in the Navy and various jobs working with government agencies.
He had top-secret clearance with the Department of Defense and Department of Energy while working in the nuclear division with General Electric.
He’s worked in construction, operations, management, oversight and new construction — from the bottom rung to management levels — including renovation efforts at the Pentagon following the Sept. 11 attack.
He plans to look for ways the town can cut spending while also promoting business and other town efforts, such as more community meeting spaces.
Lough is the third resident to announce his candidacy for mayor. Don LeVine and Marlin Dixon are also running for a seat that will become available July 1. Orndorff has not yet announced whether he plans to run again.
The deadline to file as a candidate is March 3, though the Office of Shenandoah County Voter Registration and Elections recommends filing earlier to leave time for any potential problems with paperwork.
Hoping to put a unique spin on the office, Lough said he plans to be a full-time mayor. Already in talks with the town office, he said he intends to keep office hours and be accessible to the community.
A retiree, he also plans to donate his salary as mayor, hoping the money can go to help school or library programs, area food banks, the Fire Department or other community efforts.
“There’s a lot out there that I think probably can use it more than I,” he said.