Jaymie L. “Brad” Sheffield describes himself as "a planning nerd."
“It’s all about moving forward in small, incremental steps," Sheffield said outside the Albemarle County Office Building on Tuesday. "And those small steps add up to that bigger vision that we’ve created that ultimately moves us forward.”
Sheffield, 39, announced his candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the county Board of Supervisors' Rio District. That seat is held by Republican Rodney S. Thomas.
The assistant director at JAUNT, the regional transportation provider, Sheffield said he would draw on 14 years of experience in public and private transportation planning.
“I’m a planner and everything that I kind of live and breathe as a planner is really what the Board of Supervisors discusses and decides on,” Sheffield said. “That background and my experience really brings a lot to the table.”
Sheffield graduated from the University of Virginia in 2001 with a master’s degree in planning with a focus on transportation and land use.
After college, he worked in southwest Georgia and Tallahassee, Fla., as a public and private planner, until returning to Charlottesville in 2008 as a consultant in the field before landing at JAUNT.
“I believe that that perspective at JAUNT, as well as those I’ve gained in other private and public positions, will really allow me enhance what I bring to the supervisor board,” Sheffield said. “Those skills will allow me to reach out into the community and engage, figure out what steps we need to take and then take the clear, consistent action to get where we want to go.”
Sheffield said he expects no opposition for the party nomination, leaving him to face Thomas in the Nov. 5 general election.
Thomas announced in December his plans to seek re-election.
“I expect both him and myself to run a clean and quiet campaign,” Thomas said Tuesday. “I’m not going to throw any trash and I’m not expecting him to throw any trash either.”
That said, Thomas added, Sheffield’s not the only candidate with a history in transportation.
“I’ve been around the stuff since ’95 and I’ve been up to my neck in it since then,” Thomas said. “I have a record now, so I have something to stand on.”
Both Thomas and Sheffield agreed the county needs more alternate routes and improved transportation infrastructure. Just how the two candidates might differ is yet to be seen.
Thomas said he looks forward to going over the details one-on-one.
“We’re going to chat a bit before the race starts, just so we can get to know each other better,” Thomas said. “He probably knows me a whole lot better than I know him.”
In addition to Rio, the Samuel Miller and Jack Jouett seats on the Board of Supervisors are up for election this year.
Democrat Liz Palmer announced earlier this month that she would challenge incumbent Republican Duane E. Snow in the Samuel Miller District.
Independent Supervisor Dennis S. Rooker announced in early April that he would not seek a fourth term representing the Jack Jouett District. Rooker endorsed independent Diantha McKeel as his replacement.
McKeel so far has no challengers.