Lindsay Dorrier: the Tom Sawyer from Scottsville

In Lindsay Dorrier's family, it's a tradition to serve on the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors. His great-grandfather served in the early 1900s. His maternal grandfather served on the board in 1943, and when he died in 1947, Dorrier's paternal grandfather replaced him.

The newest chairman of the board has roots in this county that go back nearly 200 years. A Scottsville native– and current resident– he describes a Tom Sawyer childhood where everyone knew everyone, with watermelon feasts, baseball games with cousins, and fishing, swimming, and floating down the James River.

"There was a lot of richness in my childhood," he reflects.

Dorrier ventured forth from Scottsville, traveling north to attend Trinity College in Connecticut, and to Japan while in the Army. "I considered living in other places," he says, "but they don't have the traction for me that Albemarle County does."

With a law firm in Scottsville (and a Charlottesville office soon opening) and his wife's business, Globe Travel, Dorrier became the latest in the family tree to branch out here.

He has served as commonwealth's attorney and as Scottsville's town attorney. So why the board of supervisors? "I think local government is the most important level of government," says Dorrier. "It's the one closest to the people."

And closest to the people's interests are the zoning issues land use, special use permits, planning, and growth that Dorrier estimates take up 75 percent of the board's time.

The best thing about being chairman? "The opportunity to articulate a vision for the county that's traditional and progressive and preserves our quality of life."

"People already here want to maintain it," he continues, "and new people want to move here. It's a balancing act."

With a deep sense of place he adds, "We've probably had this debate going back to Jefferson's day."

Dorrier has a touch of the Jeffersonian Renaissance man himself. Besides running a law firm and presiding over the supes, he's written some short stories that he thinks will be published in the near future. And when time allows and there's live bluegrass, well, look for this Albemarle native to be in the thick of it.

Age: 59

What brought you here? My family has roots dating back to the early 1800s in farming and retailing.

What's worst about living here? High cost of living

Favorite hangout? Caffe Bocce

Most overrated virtue? Patience and understanding

What would people be surprised to know about you? My hobbies are guitar playing and an A Model Ford.

If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? To always arrive early

What accomplishment are you proudest of? My UVA law degree.

What do people find most annoying about you? I don't return phone calls.

Whom do you admire? Winston Churchill

Favorite book? Huckleberry Finn

 What subject causes you to rant? Unfunded mandates

What thrills you about life in the 21st century? Comprehending the cosmos

What creeps you out about life in the 21st century? Lack of civility

What do you drive? 1988 Volvo sedan

What's in your car tape player right now? Bluegrass Sunday Morning

 What's your next journey? The Lewis and Clark Trail

What's the most trouble you've ever gotten in? Politics

What do you regret? Each day has only 24 hours.

Favorite comfort food? Raw oysters and horseradish sauce

What's always in your refrigerator? Bottled water

Must-see TV? Meet the Press and The Tonight Show

Favorite cartoon? Doonesbury

Describe a perfect day. Tubing down the James with family and friends

Walter Mitty fantasy? I successfully climb Mt. Everest.

Who'd play you in the movie? Tom Hanks

Most embarrassing moment? Read my short story.

Best advice you ever got? To everything there is a time and a season...

Favorite bumper sticker? Know thyself!


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