Home Goodbye for now: Henderson plans return to Waynesboro City Council in 2024

Goodbye for now: Henderson plans return to Waynesboro City Council in 2024

Crystal Graham
bobby henderson
Bobby Henderson, submitted

Bobby Henderson’s current term on Waynesboro City Council ends on Dec. 31 – but in no way should you think that he’s done with politics or no longer invested in the future of the River City.

While Henderson did not run for re-election in Ward C due to increased job demands related to an expansion, he is eyeing a return to Council as soon as 2024 – when an at-large seat might open up.

“I wish I would have had time to do one more term,” he said. “I think we’ve moved the city forward in the last four and half years. And I would like to get us a little farther down the road. But you know, it’s one of those things where I have a full-time job, and it has put more time constraints on me.”

Henderson’s day job with a fire investigative company has grown significantly over the last decade. The company expanded from seven states in 2011 to 48 states today. He said he will spend more time on the road, primarily in California, in 2023.

A veteran of the U.S. Army, Henderson has lived throughout the United States. He said they moved back to the Augusta County area in 1990 when he was working with the Virginia State Police. In 2010, when he retired from policework, he took a contractor’s job with the government in Afghanistan. While he was there, his wife wanted to be closer to fire, police, shopping, etc., so they moved to Waynesboro in 2012.

“I feel like I still want to be on City Council, so I’m looking in a couple of years, if nobody that’s on Council now runs for the at-large seat, I’m probably going to throw my name back in the hat, because I really enjoyed it,” Henderson said.

In the meantime, he said, if a seat opens up on the Planning Commission, he’d be interested in serving there and continuing to help the community grow.

His wife, Peggy, also recently gave notice at her insurance job, and they are in the process of leasing a downtown building to open a women’s apparel shop downtown.

“We’re going to open up a small boutique in downtown Waynesboro,” he said. “I’m going to continue doing what I’m doing but she’s going to live her dream. She has so much confidence in our downtown that she’s willing to invest in downtown.”

Henderson feels that the current council has moved things forward – but some of what they wanted to do was slowed by the impact of COVID.

“We’ve moved the needle forward,” he said. “Teachers pay, employees pay … we were lagging everywhere in that aspect.”

He’s looking forward to seeing a number of projects completed in the city:

  • Employee pay: He wants to see us train and retain officers instead of them leaving to go to other jurisdictions for more compensation. He also wants to see compensation up across the board for employees including public works.
  • West End fire station
  • Virginia Museum of Natural History, Waynesboro campus

“I see a bright future for Waynesboro,” Henderson said. “I talked to Sen. (Emmett) Hanger last week, and he’s confident that the funding for the museum is going to come through for us. And once that comes through, I think we’ll see our downtown and East End of town really start to take on a new life and become a beautiful spot in our town like the West End is.”

Henderson believes in listening to city staff and residents to help make decisions related to city government.

“You really can make a difference if you just listen to folks, listen to staff and work your way toward a goal. And our goal was to make Waynesboro grow. And I think we’ve done that pretty well in the last four and a half years.”

At his final Council meeting on Dec. 12, Henderson and Sam Hostetter were both honored by their fellow Council members for their four and a half years of service to the City.

Council member Terry Short said on his Facebook page in reference to both: “Our City is a better place because of their leadership and service. Thank you!”

While this term is coming to an end, clearly Henderson isn’t saying farewell to Waynesboro or politics. It seems very likely we’ll see his name in the headlines again in the future.

“It has truly been an honor to serve the citizens of Waynesboro and to work with staff and Waynesboro,” he said. “It’s a remarkable little city. And there’s a lot of things happening here. It’s a great city, and I see a very bright future for our city.”

Crystal Graham

Crystal Graham

Crystal Abbe Graham is the regional editor of Augusta Free Press. A 1999 graduate of Virginia Tech, she has worked for nearly 25 years as a reporter and editor for several Virginia publications, written a book, and garnered more than a dozen Virginia Press Association awards for writing and graphic design. She was the co-host of "Viewpoints," a weekly TV news show, and co-host of Virginia Tonight, a nightly TV news show. Her work on "Virginia Tonight" earned her a national Telly award for excellence in television.