Council Members

Councilor Rachel Carton
rachel.carton@amherstva.gov
Ms. Carton was re-elected to a third term on Town Council in November 2020. An advocate of the Town’s older communities her goal is to find ways to provide appropriate and affordable housing for the Town’s aging population and also for young adults to maintain and strengthen economic growth in the community. Seeking to see both industrial and small privately-owned businesses call the Town of Amherst their home, Ms. Carton hopes that Council’s recent passing of the new ordinance to give rebates for a limited time to new and expanding restaurants will help to ensure and encourage their relocation and expansion within the Town limits.

Ms. Carton is an active citizen of Amherst and proves her loyalty through service on Town Council as Vice Mayor and Chairman of the Finance Committee. She volunteers for Neighbors Helping Neighbors. In her professional capacity, Ms. Carton has eleven years banking experience, worked as a Certified Childbirth Doula through Doulas of North America for ten years, and currently holds the position of Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Communications at Framatome, Inc.

Councilor Kenneth S. Watts
ken.watts@amherstva.gov
Kenneth Watts, elected November, 2018, begins his fourth term on Town Council as the current longest-serving member first elected in 2012. Showing his involvement in the community, Mr. Watts continues to ensure that the Town of Amherst thrives by serving as Chairman of the Town Utilities Committee. While holding these positions on council he also serves as a Member of the Board for the Amherst Cemetery Association.

In his professional capacity, Mr. Watts worked as Officer, an Investigator and was the Chief of Police of the Amherst Police Department. As such and with time spent with the Amherst Rescue Squad and the Amherst Fire Department, Mr. Watts brings plenty of knowledge, expertise, and perspective to the Amherst Town Council.

Mr. Watts is working hard on the Town Council and sees economic development as one of the most important issues that the Town faces. It is his hope that we will soon see progress on a few of his favorite projects bringing economic development and interest to the Town – seeking the interest of a grocery store chain and building a splash pad in an established recreational park for family-friendly activities.

Councilor Kenneth G. Bunch
kenneth.bunch@amherstva.gov
Kenneth Bunch has lived in the Town of Amherst for more than 20 years. Re-elected November, 2020, he begins his third term on Town Council. With his current service as a Town Councilor he is a Member of the Utilities Committee, and served on the Town’s Planning Commission for four years. He continues to serve as a Member of the Board for the Virginia Blue Ridge Railway Trail and previously served on the Rush Homes, Project Development Board from 2006 to 2012. Mr. Bunch served as a mechanic in the United States Navy.

Professionally, Mr. Bunch is on full-time duty as a firefighter and EMT, in addition to owning a woodworking business.

Mr. Bunch brings perspective to Council as a small-business owner and sees promise in making the Town of Amherst a future tourist destination, while not losing the historic small-town presence, because of our expanding brewery market and the new infrastructure including hiking trails.

Councilor Janice N. Wheaton
janice.wheaton@amherstva.gov
Janice Wheaton, an Amherst native who returned to the town several years ago after residing in Nelson County, was first elected to Town Council in November, 2018. She believes that communication between Council members and town citizens is key to strengthening growth and development while maintaining the integrity of the Town’s character.   Along with her service on Town Council, Ms. Wheaton was appointed to serve as a member on the Planning Commission.  

Ms. Wheaton is the mother of two sons.   She has  worked as an account executive for a financial advisory firm.   She served on the Board of the Nelson County Community Fund and volunteered as a 6-year facilitator at the UK International Soccer Camps in Nelson County.

Councilor Sharon W. Turner 
sharon.turner@amherstva.gov
Sharon W. Turner, an Amherst native was elected to Town Council in November, 2020. She was first appointed to Town Council as an interim council member serving from August 2019 through December 2019.

Ms. Turner also serves on the Town’s Finance Committee and is a current member of the Industrial Development Authority of the Town of Amherst.   Ms. Turner plans to work with Council and the Industrial Development Authority to promote the Town of Amherst to increase visibility in hopes of attracting new business. She believes the Town must maintain the integrity and authenticity of its quaint town atmosphere while pursuing industry and new business that would enhance the community. She envisions the Town full of life, and hopes to help build on the foundation to create an infrastructure that would enhance and help residents, providing more jobs, restaurants, shops, patio homes, and better internet access.

Ms. Turner graduated from Sweet Briar College and presently works in a managerial position at Hill Hardware Corp. in Amherst, Va.