The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 14

LUNCH WITH...

Empowering the People
WHEN SAM RASOUL AND I take our
seats at The Quarter and order lunch (him
with the black and blue chicken salad, me
with the adult grilled cheese because cheese
and bacon is everything), I'm most surprised
by his quiet, unassuming demeanor.
Until, that is, he gets started on a topic
near and dear to his heart. No, it's not politics (as I'd first expected, given he's the Virginia House of Delegates 11th district representative), but rather, his love for Roanoke
and the people in it.
Rasoul's parents brought the family from
Ohio when Sam was only three; Roanoke is
his hometown, as he attended Glen Cove
Elementary, Greenvale School, Lord Botetourt High School, and graduated from Roanoke College. He's the oldest of four and
the child of immigrants. His parents ran a
corner store in the '80s, while the family
lived in a one-bedroom apartment in what's
now the Old Southwest neighborhood.
Now married with three small children of
his own (two girls, ages 6 and 5, and a boy,
age 3), he feels he's really come full circle,
and wouldn't want to live anywhere else.
"I am just not a big city, traffic kind of
guy," he says, laughing. "Roanoke is a great
place to raise a family. I like to tell everybody we have one of almost everything; we
just don't have 50 of everything! The quality
of life has really come into balance with the
developments of our city."
Sam Rasoul ran for Congress in 2008,
losing twice before finally winning his seat
in the House. He admits that he wouldn't
have won without social media.
"[Social media] allows citizens to get
ahold of our office. It gives them empowerment," he says. "You're experiencing frustration at some level, and so the point is to be
able to alleviate that pain. Even when you
can't solve their problem, it's empowering
for them to have someone to respond. I'm
saying that because it's what I want, for my
14 | JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2017

LIZ LONG

Why Sam Rasoul believes even just one person can make a difference in our city.

Sam Rasoul
"Roanoke is just small enough that I believe one person can make a difference."

elected officials to be responsive, and that
makes me feel good about being a citizen."
He also takes pride in his transparency,
believing it allows for better relationships
with citizens. Not a day goes by that he
doesn't get tagged in a Facebook post, or
responds to a message received through his
page.
"The best thing I could ever give back
to the people is just being an advocate for
them, a voice for them," he says. "It's not
about left and right, it's about people caring. If I say I'm going to do it, I'm going
to do it. Your concern is my concern, all
the time...I take a lot of pride in trying to
make sure they feel as though there's someone fighting for them all the time."
In addition, to honor a campaign
promise, Rasoul created "Our Valley, Our
Pledge." He contributes campaign funds
back to charities around the Roanoke Valley.
When he's not working, Sam and wife
Layaly spend quality time with their children at "whatever places are kid-friendly."

Rasoul also loves sports, playing basketball
two to three times a week at Green Ridge
Recreation Center. He loves to get outdoors,
too, recently taking his kids to Tinker Creek
for a hike (replicating childhood memories
of hikes there with his father).
To those who want to make an impact
on the local levels, whether it be for government, education or another path, Rasoul encourages them to contact him directly. Rather than a generic suggestion, he
believes in personal conversation that gets
to the root of what your goals are for your
cause and how you can achieve them.
"You don't invite, you include," he says.
"It takes open minds, on-the-ground hard
work and lots of teamwork. It's a good example of how we create an ecosystem to ensure
we're synergistic, that we can open minds in
all corners of our city. Roanoke is just big
enough that there are big challenges and just
small enough that I believe one person can
make a difference."
-LIZ LONG
THEROANOKER.COM


http://www.THEROANOKER.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Roanoker - January/February 2017

Front Cover
Letters/Worth a Click
From the Editor
Lunch With . . .
Streets of Roanoke
The Gist
Events
25 Great Things in Roanoke, 2016
Five National Best-Selling Authors Right Here?
Making it in Roanoke
The “From-Scratch” Bullington Home
Blue Apron, La Petite Fondue: Two for Distinctive Dining
The Dish
SPECIAL SECTION: Valley Life
SPECIAL SECTION: The Menu Dining Guide
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Intro
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Cover1
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Cover2
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 3
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 4
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 5
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 6
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 7
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 8
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 9
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Letters/Worth a Click
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 11
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - From the Editor
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 13
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Lunch With . . .
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 15
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Streets of Roanoke
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 17
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - The Gist
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 19
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 20
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 21
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Events
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 23
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 24
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 25
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 26
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 25 Great Things in Roanoke, 2016
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 28
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 29
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 30
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 31
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 32
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 33
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Five National Best-Selling Authors Right Here?
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 35
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 36
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 37
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Making it in Roanoke
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 39
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 40
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 41
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 42
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 43
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - The “From-Scratch” Bullington Home
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 45
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 46
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 47
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 48
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 49
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 50
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - SPECIAL SECTION: Valley Life
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL2
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL3
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL4
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL5
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL6
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL7
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL8
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL9
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL10
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL11
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL12
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL13
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL14
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL15
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL16
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL17
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL19
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL20
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL21
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL22
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL23
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL24
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL25
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL26
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL27
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL28
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL29
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL30
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL31
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL32
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL33
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL34
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL35
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL36
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL37
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL38
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL39
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL40
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL41
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL42
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL43
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL44
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL45
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL46
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL47
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL48
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL49
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL50
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL51
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL52
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL53
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL54
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL55
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL56
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL57
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL58
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL59
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL60
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL61
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL62
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL63
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL64
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL65
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL66
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL67
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - VL68
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 51
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 52
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 53
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 54
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 55
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Blue Apron, La Petite Fondue: Two for Distinctive Dining
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 57
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 58
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 59
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 60
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 61
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 62
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 63
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 64
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - 65
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - The Dish
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Cover3
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - Cover4
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - SPECIAL SECTION: The Menu Dining Guide
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M2
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M3
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M4
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M5
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M6
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M7
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M8
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M9
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M10
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M11
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M12
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M13
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M14
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M25
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M26
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M27
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M29
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M30
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M31
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M32
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M33
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M35
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M36
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M37
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M38
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M39
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The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M41
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M42
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M43
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M44
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M45
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M46
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M47
The Roanoker - January/February 2017 - M48
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