Albemarle native Ann Mallek likes serving on the Board of Supervisors so much that she’s running for a fourth term.
“I enjoy all the work,” she says. “And meeting people. Especially meeting people.”
The 68-year-old farmer and educator, who represents the White Hall District, says, “My skill over the past 11 years is to listen carefully to these diverse opinions and to learn my constituents’ needs and concerns.”
At a January 16 announcement in the Albemarle County Office Building, she listed her accomplishments, including an agreement with the city to improve court infrastructure and parking that will keep county courts downtown, and an ordinance in the works that will have the Charlottesville Albemarle Convention and Visitors Bureau focus on more programming and destination activities. Mallek had previously expressed concern that the county was not getting its money’s worth from the bureau and its wishes were ignored.
She cited a need for economic development after learning that 465 families in her district had both parents working and were still earning below the poverty line. She noted that for a long time, the board saw economic development as anti-environmental.
If businesses grow and provide better jobs, that also shifts the tax burden from residential property owners, who now pay over 80 percent of the tax revenue pie, she said.
When Mallek was first elected, growth was seen as the biggest threat in the county. That slowed with the recession, but as population has risen—along with the demand for services—she’s hearing some of the same concerns from 2007: “Where are all these people coming from?”
Growth means the county has to provide the capital expenditures that were postponed during the recession, such as school additions, parks, and improved fire stations, as well the services citizens demand, like sidewalks and recycling. “We can and must find these solutions together,” she said.
Mallek also revealed her own growth while on the board, and acknowledged the history she didn’t learn while a student at Albemarle High in the 1960s. She didn’t know that families were forced off their land to build the Shenandoah National Park, and she has worked on a chimney memorial to recognize those families.
“I also never learned about the lynching of John Henry James in Ivy in 1898,” she said. “We must find ways to share the history that has divided us.”
Mallek ran unopposed in 2015. And so far, no one else has indicated plans to challenge her.