Jim Andrews is hoping to help make Albemarle County more resilient.
Andrews, a retired physicist and attorney, is running as a Democrat for the Samuel Miller District seat on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors.
“I think there are challenges looking ahead that we’re going to have to face, some we don’t even know about but some we do, like extreme weather events, hyper partisanship, challenges related to demographic shifts and growth, which is a good thing, but we need resilience,” he said. “Resilience is big a theme right now in Albemarle, and I agree with that.”
Current Samuel Miller Supervisor Liz Palmer said in February that she was not running. Andrews was the only Democrat in the district who filed by the deadline last month. No Republican, third-party or independent candidates have come forward.
While attending the University of Virginia School of Law, Andrew met his now wife, Nathalie Heyward, an Albemarle native.
“I think it’s a great place to be — it’s the best place in Virginia, and probably well beyond,” he said. “I think it’s got the best of both rural and an urban area nearby, and the university makes it vibrant. I think the county has been run very well in terms of its cooperation with the city and UVa. I think Liz Palmer has done a great job. Sorry to see her retire, but this opens up the need for someone to step forward and I wanted to do that.”
Andrews practiced local government and real estate law in Ohio, and then earned his doctorate in physics to pursue two passions of his — education and science. He then taught at Youngstown State University and Case Western Reserve University, where he’s still an adjunct. After visiting the area frequently for years, Andrews and his family moved back to Albemarle in 2017.
If elected, his priorities are economic, environmental and social resilience.
“I don’t think the pandemic is over by a longshot, in terms of its effect on how we do things,” Andrews said. “I think it’ll affect some businesses longer-term, people’s ways of doing business are going to be affected, and property uses. Obviously, the broadband issue isn’t going to go away.”
Andrews volunteers at the Legal Aid Justice Center, helping with lawsuits involving housing and public utilities.
“This has made me aware of affordable housing issues, and what you get from housing in terms of the walkability, livability and quality of life in the neighborhood, and the need for green spaces,” he said.
He’s also on the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists and on the board of the Schoodic Institute, a research and education center at Acadia National Park.
“I think the Climate Action Plan from the county is very important and I want to support making it real — transportation, green space, forest preservation, resilience against climate change and sustainability,” he said.
Andrews said he values public education and wants to support the school division and its teachers.
“I think we need to pay attention to demographic needs and infrastructure, and this is a big part of the county budget, even though there’s a separate school board to manage the schools.”
According to the Albemarle County Democrats and the Virginia Public Access Project, Supervisors Diantha McKeel, of the Jack Jouett District, and Ned Gallaway, of the Rio District, are both seeking another term. At this point, they are unopposed.
The election is Nov. 2.