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Perdue continues tradition of serving Rocky Mount

Jason Dunovant - The Roanoke Times

Apr 24, 2023

C. Holland Perdue III is hitting his stride as the new mayor of Rocky Mount. He recently passed his first 100 days in office with some major accomplishments already under his belt.

ROCKY MOUNT — C. Holland Perdue III is hitting his stride as the new mayor of Rocky Mount. He recently passed his first 100 days in office with some major accomplishments already under his belt.

Just last month, the Rocky Mount Town Council voted to approve adding term limits to the town’s charter. While it still needs to be taken up by the Virginia General Assembly for final approval, it would limit the mayor and council members from serving in the same office more than three consecutive terms.

The Rocky Mount Town Council also approved the purchase of a 64-acre tract of property last month with the goal of addressing housing and commercial development needs as well as promoting economic development. Located at the intersection of U.S. 220 and Virginia 40, it was one of the largest undeveloped tracts of land in the town.

Perdue praised the work of town staff and other council members for getting both major projects done. He said they have been instrumental in getting him up to speed after being sworn in Jan. 5.

Perdue is not a complete stranger to working on town issues. He served on the Rocky Mount Board of Zoning Appeals since 2015 and was chairman before becoming mayor.

While the purchase of the 64-acre tract had been negotiated by town staff before coming to a vote last month, the issue of term limits was something Perdue campaigned on. One of his first acts as mayor was to create a charter review committee to consider term limits, which he also chaired.

Term limits are a significant change considering they are nearly nonexistent in other Virginia localities, but Perdue said there wasn’t any pushback from other council members. It passed unanimously during last month’s vote.

“No one really had anything negative to say about it,” Perdue said.

With a limit to how many years a person can serve as mayor or on the town council, Perdue said it allows opportunity for new people and ideas. It is something that the Rocky Mount Town Council itself has experienced in the past few years with three new members, including Perdue as mayor.

Perdue was elected with Ben Mullins as the newest town council member this past November. Their addition has helped to trend the average age of the council significantly down along with the addition of Tyler Lee, who was elected in 2020.

Perdue, 37, said there is a trend of the younger generation taking notice of these elected positions in recent years. That generation is starting to work toward a better future for their community, he said.

Serving the community is also a bit of a family tradition for Perdue. His father, Clyde Perdue Jr. was a Franklin County Circuit Court judge as well as a longtime attorney with Raine & Perdue PLC in Rocky Mount.

Perdue said he always wanted to become an attorney and work alongside his father. After graduating from Virginia Tech and later the Appalachian School of Law, he returned home to join the firm with his father in 2010.

“That was always my goal,” Perdue said.

Unlike other children who eventually leave the town where they grew up, Perdue was eager to return. He worked with his father for five years until he was confirmed as a judge in 2015. His father died in 2021.

As Rocky Mount’s new mayor, Perdue said he trying to continue his father’s legacy of working for the community. It is an accomplishment his father was never able to see.

“I’d like to think it would make him proud,” Perdue said.

While his time as mayor has been short, Perdue wants to continue working to move Rocky Mount forward. He said the town has made great strides in recent years and wants to continue that progress during his time as mayor.

“I just want to leave Rocky Mount in a better place than when I started,” Perdue said.

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