Clifford resident Tom Martin, the City of Lynchburg’s chief planner, is running for the District 1 seat on the Amherst County Board of Supervisors.
Martin, 47, qualified to run for the seat held the past four years by Kenneth Campbell, who said he is stepping down at the end of the year. An Amherst native, Martin said he is a product of Amherst County Public Schools and was one of the lucky ones to come back to the county and have a successful career.
“I want to see the county succeed in the future and give my grandchildren and great-grandchildren the same opportunities,” said Martin, who also serves as chief of the Amherst Fire Department.
He said working to spur economic development and growth, maintaining a quality public school system and tackling the future of the Central Virginia Training Center in Madison Heights when it closes next summer are areas he’s focused on. He was worked 26 years for the city and for about a dozen years has worked as chief planner.
“I think my experience in Lynchburg will be invaluable to the board,” said Martin, adding he also has a certificate in local government management from Virginia Tech. “It seems everybody wants the same thing for the county. It’s just a matter of sitting down and figuring a way to get there.”
He said he feels Amherst County needs to figure out how it fits in the region and attract more businesses. In his third year as chief of the Amherst Fire Department and with more than two decades of experience in the local fire service scene, he said he is a big proponent of emergency services and law enforcement.
“I think we do a good job of it now, but we need to make sure we continue those core services,” Martin said.
As of Tuesday’s deadline, no other candidates have filed to run for the District 1 seat. Campbell, a former Amherst County building official, said he feels like he’s accomplished everything he’s wanted to do in his four years.
Campbell said he feels the board is in a good place now and has shed a “good ol’ boy network” label from past years. Economic development efforts have received a boost, and the county’s school system is making positive strides, he said.
“I don’t have it in me. If it was a two-year term, I would,” Campbell said. “... I’m really happy with the way things have gone.”
Campbell said he fully supports Martin and feels he will do a great job in leading the county. He said Martin has done a great job in Lynchburg helping steer growth, development and investments in downtown and has beneficial experience in public safety matters.
“He would be a good man, there’s no doubt about it,” Campbell said.
Martin, a 1989 graduate of Amherst County High School, said Liberty University has served as a key component of the city’s growth but also noted the investments Lynchburg officials have made into downtown.
“I just hope I can bring some of that knowledge over to Amherst and help them be successful,” he said.
He said he feels he properly can carry on his city duties while serving the county and described himself as open-minded and always willing to listen.
“At the end of the day I’m one of five people trying to improve Amherst County. That’s what it’s all about,” Martin said.
Following the June 11 filing deadline, the field is set for a full slate of local races in the Nov. 5 election. Supervisor David Pugh is running unopposed as a Republican for the board’s District 4 seat.
Commonwealth’s Attorney Lyle Carver, Treasurer Joanne Carden and Commissioner of the Revenue Jane Irby all are running unopposed for their seats.
In a four-way race for sheriff, incumbent E.W. Viar is seeking his second term as the county’s top law enforcement officer and has competition from three former Amherst sheriff’s deputies.
Luciano Freitas, a Liberty University police officer and Madison Heights resident, is running. Noel De Palma, also of Madison Heights, is running as a Republican. He worked in the sheriff’s office as recently as of March 15 when he was dismissed from the position after informing Viar he planned to run.
Dan Lee, pastor of Grace Baptist Church in Madison Heights, who worked for the Amherst County Sheriff’s Office from 1999 to 2016, also filed to run by the June 11 deadline.
Reach Justin Faulconer at (434) 385-5551.