Salem’s new Mayor focuses on local businesses as Commonwealth reopens


SALEM, Va. (WFXR)– The City of Salem’s new Mayor, Renée Turk, said her focus will be on supporting the city’s businesses and listening to citizens.

“My plans are to listen first, and to do my homework, to see what we have and what we need,” Turk said.

Renée Turk, Salem Mayor

As Virginia continues to reopen, local businesses have taken a hit during the COVID-19 pandemic, some of which are in Salem, but Turk plans to discuss with business owners the measures needed to reboot the city’s economy.

“I think it’s very, very important to evaluate what’s going on before you move forward, and we will move forward as a team as we address different issues, especially in a time now, when the situation with COVID has reduced revenue stream into the city,” expressed Turk.

Local business owners, like Courtney Lambert, manager of Nature’s Outlet Health Foods, said they are looking forward to Turk’s business leadership.

“Whatever she’s wanting to implement to keep them informed. So, again, keeping us all informed together and keeping us kind of a close little knit community,” Lambert stated.

Mayor Turk was sworn-in Wednesday, July 1, becoming the first female mayor in Salem, Roanoke City, or Vinton.

“It’s very different – nothing that I quite expected, but I’m very proud, humbled and honored to be representing the City of Salem,” Turk expressed. “It’s exciting; it’s history, but on top of all of that, it’s probably the honor of a lifetime.”

As a Roanoke College alumni, former teacher at Salem High School, and parent of three Salem-bred children, Turk’s roots run deep in the community. Citizens note how her background in business, education, and economics will benefit the city.

“I like her progressive ideas, and I like her passion for governance in Salem, the whole city of Salem,” said Salem resident Susan Bentley. “I was just excited to know that she could get elected, and then as a new person on city council, be elected as mayor.”

After barely losing in her first attempt, Turk was the top-voted in her second run for the position in the May 2020 election, easily beating two incumbents. The runner-up was 370 votes behind Turk.

Turk replaced Mayor Randy Foley, who served from July 1, 2008 until June 30, 2020.

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