Sena Magill

Sena Magill speaks to guests at City Space before announcing that she will run for the Charlottesville City Council on Wednesday. Magill is a member of the board of directors for the Region 10 CSB and will run as a Democrat for the seat.

Sena Magill, a member of the board of directors for the Region Ten Community Services Board, has kicked off her campaign for Charlottesville City Council.

Magill, 46, made the announcement at CitySpace on Wednesday morning.

“I’m not doing this because I want to get something out of it,” Magill said. “I’m doing this because I want to give back to the community I grew up in, the community my daughter is growing up in.”

Three seats on the five-member council are available in the November election. Democrats Kathy Galvin, Wes Bellamy and Mike Signer have not announced whether they plan to seek re-election to four-year terms.

Michael Payne, 26, also is running as a Democrat. Don Gathers announced Monday that he would run as a Democrat but on Tuesday delayed the start of his campaign, citing health reasons.

Magill was born in Birmingham, Alabama, and moved to Nelson County when she was 6. She graduated from then-called-Tandem School in Albemarle County, Piedmont Virginia Community College and the University of Virginia, where she received a degree in psychology in 2001.

Magill worked for Region Ten from 1999 to 2010 as director of intensive services.

She spent more than five years as a case manager at People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry homeless shelters and worked with On Our Own, a mental health support organization in Charlottesville.

Magill also purchased Antics, a business on the Downtown Mall that is under new ownership and is now called Low.

She runs an Etsy shop called Hatpindolly Vintage but says she is devoting all of her time to the City Council election.

Her husband, Tyler Magill, a UVa library employee, suffered a stroke caused by clashes with white supremacists at a torchlit rally on Grounds on Aug. 11, 2017. His carotid artery was partially dissected, which caused a clot that resulted in a stroke.

Tyler Magill has recovered and was on hand to facilitate Wednesday’s event.

“That’s given me some of the energy to do this,” Sena Magill said.

Magill discussed climate change, affordable housing and the city school division.

She said the city should focus on moving away from fossil fuels by adding solar panels on buildings and using electric buses. She also advocated for improved bike and pedestrian paths.

“While it’s an initial investment, down the road it will save us money,” she said.

On affordable housing, Magill said the focus needs to be on both affordable rentals and home ownership.

She also advocated for working closely with the Charlottesville School Board to rehabilitate facilities and address overcrowding.

“We must continue to improve and strengthen our schools,” she said.

While reaching out to potential constituents, Magill said many asked “if I was crazy for wanting to do this,” citing the atmosphere in the city and at council meetings over the last many months.

She said much of the anger over the events of August 2017 has been expressed and people are ready to improve the city.

“There’s been a lot of anger in our communities,” Magill said. “And anger is not always a bad thing. Anger can initiate great change. But we do have to be careful that our anger doesn’t become revenge.”

The Democratic primary is scheduled for June 11. The filing deadline for the primary is March 28.

Democratic Councilor Heather Hill and city School Board member Sherry Kraft were among the roughly 40 people to attend Wednesday’s kickoff.

City hall reporter

Nolan Stout is a reporter for The Daily Progress. Contact him at (434) 978-7274,, or @nstoutDP on Twitter.

Recommended for you

Load comments