Mayor will not seek third term
Story by Chris Graham
It was a “difficult decision,” but in the end, Tom Reynolds knew what he had to do.
“It’s an easy decision to make, but at the same time it’s a difficult decision to make,” said Reynolds, the mayor of Waynesboro for the last four years and a member of Waynesboro City Council since 2000, who announced today that he will not seek a third term on the governing body in the upcoming May city elections.
“So many good things have happened in the last eight years. So much of the dreams and visions and hopes that I’ve had for Waynesboro have come to fruition. And there’s still more to go,” said Reynolds, who is retiring from city politics on June 30 to become a full-time pastor at Jollivue United Methodist Church in Augusta County.
The departure of Reynolds, who represents Ward B on city council, leaves a void for the progressive majority that formed in 2006 with the re-election of vice mayor Nancy Dowdy in Ward C and the election of former Waynesboro School Board chair Lorie Smith in Ward D. The trio has pushed for an aggressive schedule of capital improvements in Waynesboro, including improvements to the city stormwater-runoff system and the construction of a new West End fire station that had been promised to residents of that part of the city 20 years ago, in addition to supporting the use of taxpayer dollars for the renovation of the downtown Wayne Theatre.
“Eight years ago when I was elected to city council, I had a vision for Waynesboro – and part of that vision was economic development, part of that vision was growth, and part of that vision was to revitalize my hometown, to bring back what we had in the past,” Reynolds said this morning at a press conference at city hall in which he made public his decision to not seek a third term on city council.
“I encourage the citizens of Waynesboro to find a replacement for me, to find a council that will continue to have hope for the future, to be positive about what’s going on. Not to dwell on what maybe’s not working, but to build on what is working so that we can grow and move into the future – look beyond our noses out there somewhere,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds elaborated on the “difficult decision” against running for another term on council – saying he did “think about what will happen if people who don’t have that vision and hope for the future, people that don’t really don’t believe in what we can do, people that get lost in the pessimism of day-to-day operations.”
“I certainly believe that this community and the voters with this latest referendum also believe in the future – because they voted to move forward with part of the plan that council couldn’t come to an agreement to borrow money for,” Reynolds said.
“Since I’ve been on council, we’ve been investing a whole lot of money in education – in the schools and that sort of thing. But that was the only thing that we were investing in. And now we’re beginning to invest in all of those other important things that this community needs,” Reynolds said.
Chris Graham is the executive editor of The Augusta Free Press.