An Amherst man is putting his name in the hat as a write-in candidate for a seat on Amherst Town Council in a special election Tuesday.
Mike Driskill, a resident of the town for 28 years, said he has started a small grassroots campaign in his neighborhood for the council seat. Since he missed the filing deadline he said he is running as a write-in for the seat that opened in July after former councilwoman Janice Wheaton was expelled in a 4-1 vote.
Wheaton, first elected in November, was ousted at council’s July 10 meeting after conflicts among town officials. The vote, which Wheaton opposed, came after a closed session. Town officials have not disclosed a reason, citing the closed meeting and council’s code of ethics.
Emails from Wheaton to council and other town officials in the months and weeks prior to her removal, obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, indicate councilors were not pleased with interactions Wheaton had with town staff and a representative of the Virginia Department of Transportation.
Driskill said he didn’t want to comment on that matter since he doesn’t know the facts but feels he would well serve council and he believes voters should have a choice.
Wheaton is the only candidate to file to run.
“I am really surprised there is nobody else vying for the job,” Driskill said in a phone interview Friday. “That’s one of the reasons I’m making a last-minute attempt.”
Driskill retired from the United States Air Force after 20 years and worked as a quality manager at Glad Manufacturing in Amherst for 17 years before retiring, he said.
A member of the Amherst County Republican Committee, he describes himself as a fiscal conservative, willing to learn and easy to get along with. He said he loves the small town nature of Amherst and sees himself as a good fit for council.
“I believe the best way to work our money is to give people more for what they’re paying for. I believe in getting our money’s worth,” he said of the town’s budgeting process, adding of council: “I think it’s a job that can be satisfying.”
The at-large seat expired in December 2022.