Boyce Phillip Seay sees his independent run for the Jack Jouett District seat on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors as a way to help the public learn more about local government.
“I taught government and civics for so long, and I see this as an opportunity to help everyone understand the process better,” he said.
Seay, 52, filed paperwork and submitted a petition with about 250 signatures to the registrar Tuesday, the last day to qualify for the Nov. 5 general election. His opponent will be another independent, Diantha McKeel, who is leaving the School Board to enter the race.
Both are vying to succeed Dennis S. Rooker, who is not seeking a fourth term.
Seay said he became interested in running for office when he learned there was no School Board candidate for the Jack Jouett District.
“I have worked for the city for 13 years, worked for the county for six, and worked for the state for two years as a juvenile probation officer so I have a good grasp of what’s in the trenches,” he said.
Seay said friends asked him if he would consider running for supervisor rather than the School Board.
“I thought about it for a week and thought ‘why not?’” Seay said.
Since 2006, Seay has been the executive director of the Charlottesville chapter of The First Tee, a youth mentoring program that builds life skills through teaching golf. He helped to launch the program in 2002.
Previously, he served as a deputy sheriff in Appomattox County and made an attempt to become a professional golfer until sidelined by a neck injury. Additionally, he taught civics for several years at Buford Middle School. He has undergraduate and master’s degrees from the University of Virginia.
Until last week, Seay was registered to vote at an address in the Rio District but has lived at a rental home in Farmington since December.
County Registrar Jake Washburne said all candidates are required to swear an oath that they live where they say they do.
“The requirement is not property ownership, but it is residency,” Washburne said. “The place you pledge as your residence is where you lay your head down to sleep at night.”
The home is owned by Cyndra Van Clief and her husband. In 2001, Van Clief lost to McKeel in the race for the Jack Jouett seat on the School Board.
“I didn’t even know she had been a candidate,” Seay said.
Seay said he found the home through an online ad and did not know Van Clief prior to moving there.
McKeel, 63, said she welcomes her opponent’s entry into the race.
“Well, I think contested races are always healthy races. It allows candidates to talk about what they support, and it causes the issues to have a better airing in public,” McKeel said.
“I don’t know my opponent and wish her the best,” Seay said.
Seay said he will make a formal announcement of his candidacy before the end of the month.