Councilwoman Trish White-Boyd makes historic bid for Virginia Senate seat

By Shawn Nowlin 

City Councilwoman Trish White-Boyd during her announcement to run for State Senate held at the Berglund Center Friday, March 24, 2023.

It’s official, Roanoke City Councilwoman Trish White-Boyd has announced her candidacy for the State Senate District 4 seat which represents Roanoke City, Salem City, and parts of Roanoke County, Montgomery County, and Blacksburg. White-Boyd, a proud member of the Democratic Party, chose to make her announcement Friday, March 24 at the Berglund Center surrounded by family, supporters, and colleagues.  

“Receiving the endorsement of so many respected members in the community meant the world to me. I had a very mixed crowd, from old to young, black and white. Accessibility is really important and the venue allowed me to accomplish what I set out to do,” she said. 

A familiar face to many in the community, White-Boyd has served on the city council since 2019, including two years as Vice Mayor. Conscious of how decisions made by the council impact the day-to-day lives of Roanoke residents, White-Boyd is most proud of the role she’s played in affordable housing and moving elections from May to November. 

“May, to me, was a hidden election and hidden elections are just voter suppression. Months after our collective vote, the whole state moved their local elections to November too,” she said before adding, “I’m also incredibly proud of the work my colleagues and I did on moving the economy forward. We granted approvals for several business developments which we believe will bring jobs and revenue into the city. As a small business owner, I understand first-hand just how important teamwork is.”  

A Florida native, White-Boyd earned her associate’s degree in Miami and bachelor’s degree when she moved to Virginia in the early ‘90s. Her journey in politics began during the 2000 Presidential Election and over the last two decades, she’s worked on several local, state, and national campaigns, including President Obama, Governor Ralph Northan, and Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine.  

“The 2000 election is something that I’ll never forget. Al Gore won the popular vote, including my home state when all the votes were recounted. When the Supreme Court got involved, I was beyond frustrated,” she said. “I was so irate from that moment on, I made a promise to passionately support the candidates I believe in with every fiber in my being.” 

The Virginia General Assembly, established in June 1619, is a bicameral body consisting of a lower house with 100 members, the House of Delegates, and an upper house with 40 members, the Senate of Virginia. Collectively, the 140 elected officials comprising the state legislature regularly meet in Richmond to make laws for the state.  

If elected, White-Boyd will be the first woman to represent District 4. “This is a new district because it has been redrawn. Even if Senator John Edwards didn’t retire, this would have been his first time running in this particular district,” White-Boyd said. 

She added, “I want to continue growing our economy here in Southwest Virginia. Sometimes we are overlooked as far as the state’s economic development. Everything around Roanoke is red. If we don’t win this seat, we may not have any representation between here and Richmond.” 

Anyone who intends to run for the District 4 seat as a Democrat needs to officially announce before April 6. 

“Democrats don’t want to run against each other because it is tough enough to do that then turn around and do it again,” she said. “I hope there isn’t a primary, but if one does happen, it’ll be on June 20. To learn more about me, I encourage people to visit my website, I am happy to meet and talk to anybody.” 

White-Boyd and her husband of nearly three decades, Colbert, have a blended family of seven children and almost twice as many grandchildren. White-Boyd’s first batch of committed votes came from those who know her the best.