POLI Alumni Spotlight: Lee Volger

Original article published 7/5/2016 by Brian McNeill, VCU News – Click here for full article

VCU alumnus is youngest ever to serve on Danville City Council

Lee Vogler, who won his first election in 2012 at age 24, was re-elected this spring.

At the age of 24, Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus Lee Vogler became the youngest person in history to be elected to Danville’s City Council.

Vogler, who graduated in 2010 and won his first election to City Council in 2012, was inspired to run for office in his hometown while studying political science at VCU.

“Like many young people growing up, I always thought the grass was greener on the other side and couldn’t wait to get away from my hometown,” he said. “It was during my time away from home, at VCU, that I began to see Danville in a different light. I realized that there were many great things Danville had to offer, but we weren’t quite reaching our full potential.”

During his time in Richmond, Vogler saw how old warehouses in Shockoe Bottom were being put to new use, whereas Danville’s old tobacco warehouses were sitting vacant.

“So, while I was still at VCU, I began thinking of moving back home after graduating and getting involved in the community,” he said.

In 2010, to generate new ideas about helping Danville grow, Vogler formed a group called Moving Danville Forward. He also began attending City Council meetings and, soon enough, was being encouraged to run for a seat himself.

“Our city had just come through a tough decade at the beginning of the 21st century and was really looking for a fresh face and new ideas,” he said. “I really wanted to make a difference in my hometown and felt the best way I could achieve this was by running for City Council.”

Vogler won his first election on May 1, 2012. He was re-elected to a second term this spring, receiving the highest number of votes out of 11 at-large candidates who were seeking the council’s five seats. Vogler received 12.3 percent of all ballots cast.

“During the past four years, we’ve seen a lot of progress in Danville,” he said. “Our unemployment rate today is roughly half of what it was in 2012. Our population downtown, now called the River District, grew from 200 residents to over 2,000 in just four years. And, while I’m proud of what we’ve been able to achieve, I truly believe that we’re just scratching the surface on what we can accomplish in the years ahead.”

Vogler, who has a young son with his wife, Blair, says his goal as a public servant has been to position Danville to succeed in the 21st century.