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April 08, 2009

Sally Thomas announces retirement from Albemarle’s Board of Supervisors

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By Brian Wheeler
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Wednesday, April 8, 2009

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Supervisor Sally Thomas (I-Samuel Miller) announced this evening that she will retire at the end of 2009 after 16 years on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.  Thomas served as Chairman of the Board during 2001-2002.  

Thomas has represented the Samuel Miller district since 1994 when she won the 1993 election in a write-in campaign over Carter Myers by a margin of 192 votes.  In all elections since, Thomas has run unopposed.  

“I originally ran to give Samuel Miller voters a choice when only one name was on the ballot,” said Thomas.  “Since then, I’ve been privileged to serve those voters and all the residents of Samuel Miller and the County....I love the job and the responsibility that the voters have given to me, but sixteen years probably is as long as one should stay, so I won't be running for re-election this November."

Thomas moved to the area in 1963 and soon became involved in the Charlottesville-Albemarle League of Women Voters ultimately becoming President of that organization.  Thomas remains involved in the League and recently served as its representative on the South Fork Rivanna Reservoir Stewardship Task Force. Thomas was also appointed to the Albemarle County School Board as the At-Large member during 1980-1983.  Prior to her election to the Board of Supervisors, Thomas was Director of Governmental and Community Relations at the University of Virginia.

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Making her announcement at the end of a meeting of the Board of Supervisors, Thomas also had some advice for the voters in her district.  “For the same reason that I originally ran, giving the voters a choice, now folks need to think what they want for Albemarle County and select the right person to work for those goals,” said Thomas.  She encouraged the public to ask candidates about their views on education, growth management, and protection of natural resources.  Thomas has championed these causes throughout her service to the community both inside and outside of government.

In Charlottesville Tomorrow’s 2005 election Voter Guide, Thomas said protecting the rural area would be her top priority in another term on the Board.  In December of 2006, Thomas published an open letter with her recommendations on how to address the County’s goals of preserving its rural fields, farms, and forests from residential development.  

Interviewed by Charlottesville Tomorrow, Thomas said she did not have plans to seek any other elected office.  Asked about accomplishments she was most proud of in her tenure on the Board, Thomas cited her support for and encouragement of public participation in local government.

Madison Cummings (D) and John Lowry have already announced that they will be running for the Samuel Miller seat.  Cummings is a part-time pharmacist at the University of Virginia Medical Center and currently serves as the County Democratic Party’s Chair for the Samuel Miller District.  Lowry is a recently retired investment counselor and is the current Chairman of the Albemarle County Economic Development Authority.  He has not yet announced whether he will run as a party candidate or an independent. The Jack Jouett and Rio District seats will also be on the November 2009 ballot.

Local political parties will officially nominate their candidates between May 8, 2009 and June 9, 2009.  County Democrats will hold a caucus on May 11, 2009 to nominate their candidate for the Samuel Miller seat on the Board.  Independent candidates have until June 9th to collect necessary petition signatures to get on the ballot.

See Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch page for complete coverage of the County's 2009 elections.

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