Elma resident and current vice chair of the Nelson County Board of Supervisors Jesse Rutherford announced via video he is seeking another term on the board representing the East District, which includes Lovingston and Schuyler.
A Nelson County native and home builder by trade, Rutherford, 26, said in his announcement video — posted to his Facebook page April 21 — he hopes to build on goals and initiatives that already have begun during his first term, including continuing to push for career and technical education in the county and the improvements to the towns of Lovingston and Schuyler.
If reelected, he said he intends to “double down” on building out infrastructure in the two communities with broadband, cell coverage, water and wastewater systems and the streetscape improvements of the county’s seat through the Lovingston Revitalization plan.
Rutherford also serves as the chair of the Nelson County Broadband Authority, represents the East District on the Nelson County Service Authority, and has been appointed to the joint CIP committee with the Nelson County School Board and the joint committee with members of the Amherst County Board of Supervisors on the construction of a shared agriculture complex promoting career and technical education.
The East District incumbent also said a priority for the county at large is reviewing and updating the county’s Comprehensive Plan, which serves as a blueprint for future growth in Nelson.
“We have got to sit down and develop smart growth areas,” Rutherford said in an interview with the Nelson County Times. “That’s a huge priority of mine and I want to see us be successful in trying to define what areas will be good for growth and what areas growth should be slowed.”
Another priority, he said, is attracting and retaining more young families with children to address stagnant population growth and declining school enrollment, which he believed could be achieved through broadband, affordable housing and access to jobs, in that order.
“Pupil losses will be detrimental to our education system so we have to attract people to Nelson County,” Rutherford said.
Rutherford, who is running as a Republican, said he viewed his relatively young age as a strength. He was 23 when he was first elected to the board.
“You can’t treat age as a parameter necessarily of success. It’s all on the individual. I was ambitious, I wanted to get things done and that’s why as chairman of the broadband authority I was able to secure universal internet connection,” Rutherford said.
The deadline to file to run in the November election is June 8. Registrar Jackie Britt said as of April 22, no other person has filed to run for the East District.