Danny Turner, an incumbent member of Martinsville City Council, is seeking re-election in the November election. Turner, 66, has served on council for 12-years, two of which he spent as mayor.
Currently, he said housing is one of the biggest issues the city is facing, but he takes a different approach than some other council members in that Turner wants the city to focus on revitalizing houses in the West End and Southside areas of Martinsville.
“I held a Housing Summit where I brought the director of housing for Virginia and two others with him. We rode around looking at housing. My goal was to save as many houses as we could in Martinsville, and we got some pretty good feedback from the state officials”. The director “was excited that we could save a number of the houses,” Turner said.
“I think that was very positive. We found a bunch of places to apply for money and different programs that weren’t utilized at this time, and I think it’s going to pay big dividends down the road for housing in Martinsville,” he said.
However, despite being one of the areas where he believes Martinsville needs work, Turner also believes housing is booming in the city.
“I think housing is booming. The apartment complex I live in, the rents have doubled in one year, and there’s a couple other apartment complexes where the rent’s doubled,” he said. “It’s tough on the people living there, but it’s obvious that there’s a lot of people willing to invest in Martinsville.”
Turner said the biggest issue Martinsville is facing right now is reversion, which he supports.
“I plan to support reversion in any manner that comes out of the three judge panel. There’s a number of things they can do. I guess we basically have to wait until they get through doing their work to see if they approve it,” he said. “I’m sure that it’s in the best interest of the Commonwealth, best interest of Henry County, best interest to Martinsville, and hopefully they will try to resolve it.”
Turner said if the panel does not make a decision on reversion, it will go to a referendum next November. Either way, he is confident reversion will happen.
“When we vote on reversion next year, I feel like it’s going to become obvious that we need to revert. If not, then we’ll do the best we can with the resources that we have,” he said.
Turner’s vision is for the city to continue to grow, especially financially. He said the city’s “better years are in front of us.”
To that end, Turner said the city needs to continue working with Uptown Martinsville. He also said there is a deal in the making that he cannot yet announce.
“I’ve got an international company, I feel certain will commit to Martinsville and hopefully we’ll have an announcement in November. That will be manufacturing based and it’s going to locate here,” he said.
The potential deal is only one of what he considers to be some of his biggest accomplishments in office, including many accomplishments that were the result of how he helped the city during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Sharon Sleeper had some material, she runs Mollie’s Originals, she had material and everything to make out and you couldn’t get a mask. She had a crew working and then I distributed them for her. I think something like 2,500 to 3,000 masks that we got out,” he said.
Turner also helped businesses in the city to stay afloat by helping to identify any revenues that were available to them and how to apply.
“I worked with Congressman Griffith to get the COVID relief money to businesses around Martinsville,” Turner said. “I probably did more than the rest of the council put together as far as getting the information to the people, getting to the right banks, and that facilitates everyone getting their money quicker. And then, when the City of Martinsville had its grant money to pass out to businesses, I went door to door, business to business.”
Turner is proud of the way he pushes the city to recognize those in the area who have done good things, especially veterans.
“I’ve got 14-years of community service. I was off two years, but I think that when I became mayor, I told my vice mayor, Jennifer Bowles, that we were going to recognize anybody that had any accomplishments. We did that and I have continued to do that,” he said.
Turner works with other organizations, businesses, churches, pretty much any outside agency to bring recognition and respect to veterans, particularly those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“I think all total, I’d brought 29 flags out and had them flown over the United States Capitol and given them to veterans in Martinsville-Henry County to thank them for their service,” he said. “We also participate in the Wreaths Across America, where I’d go to Arlington and make sure everybody’s got money to put a wreath on everybody that buried in Arlington from Martinsville and Henry County.
“And then it progressed from there, I think last year we had maybe 50 more that we placed on, wreaths around Martinsville and Henry County and Franklin County, and actually we got into Patrick County to remember these people that served in the military,” Turner said.
He also seeks to be a voice for the people and represent them the best he can since voters trusted him to be their representative.
“I said, ‘There needs to be somebody up here willing to speak for the people,’” Turner said. “So, I took the challenge there and ran. After a number of snafus, I think city council has made to get there and at least let the people know what they were doing, what they were buying into,” he said.
Turner, who is retired, completed many classes through Patrick & Henry Community College. He has no children, but has several family members, including grand nieces and nephews. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf, photography, and collecting old paper money.