Mike Johnson campaign announcement

ZACK WAJSGRAS/THE DAILY PROGRESS

Mike Johnson announces his write-in campaign for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors’ Rivanna District seat on the steps of the Albemarle County Office Building on Thursday.

A retired University of Virginia professor is running a write-in campaign for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors.

Mike Johnson, a professor emeritus in the UVa Department of Pharmacology and vice president of the Gibbs Society of Biological Thermodynamics, announced Thursday that he is seeking the Rivanna District seat.

“Initially, quite frankly, I thought somebody else was going to run and then at the last minute he dropped out,” Johnson said. “I tried to get everything in order to run a regular campaign, but I couldn’t manage it by the deadline.”

He said he spent time thinking about whether running a write-in campaign was worth it.

“It kind of goes back to why it was I moved here in the first place — and that is I did not want to move to California,” he said.

Bea LaPisto Kirtley won the Democratic primary for the Rivanna District seat in June, receiving 54.2% of the vote.

LaPisto Kirtley spent her adult life in California but was born in Virginia and moved to Keswick with her husband in 2007.

“From my point of view, I like Albemarle County just the way it is,” Johnson said.

Johnson grew up on a farm in Willamette Valley, Oregon. He attended Oregon State University, and went to graduate school at the University of Connecticut.

He came to UVa as a postdoctoral fellow studying protein chemistry in 1973 and moved to Albemarle County in 1979, when he became a faculty member.

Johnson said he’s running as an independent with “GOP endorsement.”

When asked what he wanted to see change, Johnson said he would like to see more roads and “some way to manage to stop the traffic congestion.”

When asked on how he would fund new roads, he said he didn’t know.

“I’m not really privy to all the internal documents in the county yet, but I have a suspicion the county is wasting a lot of money on various projects,” he said.

Current county supervisors have said they want to prioritize funding for transportation projects — as matching money or for design — in the upcoming capital improvement program.

“I would argue that building bicycle paths and walking trails are not going to solve the road traffic problems, not when people 20 or 30 miles out of town have to commute into town,” he said.

Notably, former Samuel Miller District Supervisor Sally Thomas first won election to the board in 1993 as an independent write-in candidate. She ultimately served through 2009.

Current Rivanna District Supervisor Norman Dill, a Democrat, is not seeking another term. The election is Nov. 5.

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