Local Government in Virginia



When natural disasters strike, the first responders are often part of your local government.


The first counties were created by the Virginia General Assembly more than 350 years ago. Today, there are 95 counties in Virginia. The voters in each county elect a board of supervisors. Those folks then appoint a county administrator who is responsible for the daily operations of the county. What do you think? Who is your county administrator? Use the link provided to find out.


Did you know there are 41 independent cities in Virginia? The governments of these cities are independent from that of their county, and most have a council-manager style of government. Voters in those cities elect a city council. The mayor is either appointed by the city council, or is directly elected by the voters. The city council also appoints a city manager to oversee the daily operations of the city. What do you think? Do you live in a city? Would you rather be elected to city council, serve as mayor, or do the job of city manager?


How many towns do you think Virginia has? Would you believe there are 189 towns across the state? All towns elect a town council to make decisions for the people who live there. Bigger towns may have a council-manager. Smaller towns may be run by a mayor and the town council. What do you think? How important is your local election compared to a national one?

Share What You Know

Using Internet research and your local newspapers, gather the following information:
  • type of government in your community
  • elected officials currently in charge
  • 1 key issue facing your community’s leaders
  • 3 questions you could ask community leaders about that issue

Write an e-mail to one of the elected officials asking the questions you have about a key issue facing your community.


SOL CE.8a, GOVT.8b

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