There will be at least one new member of the Albemarle Board of Supervisors at the beginning of 2018.
“A lot of things have changed in my family life over the last year that have made me put a greater importance on the time I spend with my family,” said Supervisor Brad Sheffield shortly after revealing he will not seek a second term representing the Rio District.
Sheffield’s announcement came after a question from radio host Joe Thomas to which he answered he was leaning towards not running.
“I didn’t want that to be interpreted as a rumor or whatever so I fairly quickly tweeted out… I would not be running again,” Sheffield told Charlottesville Tomorrow.
Sheffield said his family needs more of his attention. His wife is in treatment for breast cancer and his older daughter will attend Virginia Tech in the fall.
He said the decision was difficult because he said many exciting issues are facing Albemarle in the years to come.
“We’re emerging out of the recession fairly strong,” Sheffield said. “We’re getting well prepared for a lot of different things in economics, community, quality of life and a lot of different things that are going to dramatically improve Albemarle County.”
Sheffield, a Democrat, defeated Republican Rodney Thomas in the 2013 election by a margin of 3,318 votes to 2,525 votes, or 56.7 percent to 43.1 percent.
Thomas had defeated Democrat David Slutzky in the 2009 election by 2,650 votes to 2,349 votes, or 53 percent to 47 percent.
The last time the seat was open was in 2005 when Slutzky defeated Republican Gary Grant and independent Tom Jakubowski.
The Albemarle County Democratic Committee had been preparing for the potential vacancy.
“I knew Brad was considering what is best for his future and his family,” said committee vice chair Stephen Davis. “We’ve been talking to several other potential candidates and no one is quite ready to announce yet.”
Davis said the party will decide by the end of the month whether to selects its nominee in a caucus or in the Democratic Primary on June 13.
Former Congressman Tom Perriello is challenging Lieutenant Governor Ralph Northam in a primaryfor the Democratic nomination for governor.
“It’s very important to have a candidate and to have a strong candidate and if there were multiple candidates who were interested, having a healthy conversation amongst the party can be strong just as we’re having in the governor’s race right now,” Davis said.
Officials with the Albemarle County Republican Committee did not respond for a request for comment.
Three school board seats will also be up for election in the county.
Kate Acuff has not yet announced if she will seek a second term to represent the Jack Jouett district. Pam Moynihan has not decided whether she will seek a fifth term representing the Rio District. Graham Paige has not said if he will seek a full term representing Samuel Miller. He won a special election in 2015 to fill the unexpired term of Eric Strucko.
Sheffield has been the executive director of JAUNT since replacing Donna Shaunesey in 2015. He had been assistant director at the time of his election. He said his work also played a factor in his decision.
“The opportunities in this community and the dialogues that are happening I think are going to require a lot more of my attention and my impartial perspective on where I think we should be heading,” Sheffield said.
The Board of Supervisors will be briefed Wednesday on opportunities to provide its own transit service. Sheffield said he will participate in the conversation until a presentation on JAUNT is made by the agency’s assistant director, Karen Davis.
Sheffield said he does not have a candidate in mind to succeed him as Rio District representative but has advice for anyone willing to run.
“I am open to talking to anybody and everybody that is interested to give them some background on the conversations that have been going on for the past few years to help them prepare for whether they want to run or not,” Sheffield said. “There’s hard work that’s going to be required over the next few years.”
There’s hard work in the meantime as well. Supervisors will hold seven meetings in February including several work sessions on the budget.
Sheffield said 2018 will be an even busier year as the county reviews its economic development programs and conducts a comprehensive rezoning to encourage more urban development in its designated growth areas.
Sheffield did not rule out running for office in the future.
“I have no doubts that I will remain engaged and interested,” Sheffield said.