Decision 2022/Luray Council – Q&A with Stephanie Lillard

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Stephanie Lillard

PUBLISHER’S NOTE: Page Valley News will be publishing profiles of local candidates in contested races for the Luray and Shenandoah councils in this fall’s elections over the next few weeks. Each race features four candidates for three open seats, and voters may cast ballots for up to three candidates.

Stephanie Lillard

Age: 40

Education:  Current masters candidate, Business Administration, Louisiana State University Shreveport; B.S., Management and Organizational Development, Eastern Mennonite University, 2009.

Work:  Business Retention and Expansion Manager, Shenandoah County Government, present; Development Specialist, Virginia Tourism Corporation, 2017-2022; Director of Community and Economic Development, Page County Government, 2013-2017; Business Development Manager, People Inc., 2009-2013; Commercial Lending Assistant, Pioneer Bank, 2004-2009.

• Elected office: Luray Town Council, 2021 – present.

• Community service: Choices, current board member; Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce, past secretary; Page County Economic Development Authority, past co-chair/treasurer; United Way of Page County, past vice president/treasurer.

Family: Husband, Brian; daughters, Madalyn and Makayla.

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• Why are you running for public office?

I have a desire to serve with a strong passion to see our community thrive. Years ago, I found the opportunity to work in community and economic development, as a native, for local government unique. I learned a lot, but most importantly I learned how progress and development can be fostered or hindered by elected members of government. As a result, I resolved that, one day, I would pursue the opportunity to serve on the other side of the table, where the decisions made impact the possibilities of sensible progress and development.

• What makes you the best candidate?

While I do not claim to be the best candidate, I do believe that my work and volunteer experience, combined, provides me the ability to bring a practical perspective to the council.  My career experience includes years trained and worked in finance, small business development, and traditional community and economic development. Over the last decade, my work has spanned local, regional and state level government experience. My roles have included development of programming and administrative policy, as well as administration and implementation.  

• What is the most pressing issue facing the Town of Luray?

While traveling the Commonwealth, for my work, I have learned that we are not alone; our town is not unique in our challenges. In fact, we are ahead of many. Of our most pressing issues, I believe striking the right balance between delivering quality public services and well-maintained infrastructure, while being mindful of sustainability and revenue-generating strategies is, and will be, an ongoing challenge and opportunity. I want to do more and do better. However, we need to ensure that costs are feasible and that they do not continue to fall heavily on the backs of our citizens; therein lies the opportunity.

• What is one thing that you would like to change or improve about Luray?

We have come a long way. I am hopeful about our future and believe we are on the cusp of some exciting opportunities. This includes revitalization of downtown properties, continued improvements in our parks and shared spaces, growing community engagement and year-round events, entrepreneurial growth, and so much more. However, we still have work to do with building community awareness, communication, and advocacy. The pandemic introduced us to reaching more residents through their devices. Yet, ironically, while we are reaching more residents, we are not hearing from more residents. Your concerns and ideas matter. We are elected to serve and act for the majority, but in order to meet that responsibility and expectation, we need to hear from you, consistently.

• Briefly describe a decision you have made in a leadership role and tell why you made that decision.

I believe good leadership embodies integrity, empathy, and accountability. As a leader, whether in our home, at sports, in church, or in government, our actions should be in accordance with each. I take pride in my ability and ambition to be a good leader; it is not for me, but rather for the good of the whole – including our future generations. Service to others through good leadership is a priority and a privilege which I strive to demonstrate in all things and to everyone around me, especially my daughters. I am a lifelong learner. If we want better, we must do better.

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3 Comments

  1. What do you think made the United States the best nation on earth when compared with others?
    For a satisfactory answer, you should lean towards the US Constitution, individual initiative combined with self restraint, our system of laws, the education system, and the Christian religion.

    • Yes, and there’s something really radical about the US as a nation, and our Constitution. It’s the first Country in the world founded as a secular republic, no kings, no divine rulers, just “We the People”, as imperfect as it may me…ever since, theocrats insist we are something different, it’s not true, at all. As Benjamin Franklin so eloquently said, our nation is “a republic, if you can keep it…”

      Back on earth, Ms. Lillard is a fine candidate and an even better person, and I am proud to cast one of my three votes for her!

  2. “The propitious smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of right and order which Heaven itself has ordained. … Of all the dispositions and habits which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness, these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. …”
    President George Washington seemed to think that religion was an indispensable support for society and the government, but not a part of the government.
    If anybody would like to live in a country that isn’t predominantly Christian, I think they’re rapidly getting what they wish for. Good luck.

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