This November’s election will fill three Charlottesville City Council seats. This forum occurred before the Democratic Party primary and before the deadline for Independents to file final papers, so while not all participants will be on the November ballot we had the opportunity to hear and explore the views of the entire set of declared candidates on Charlottesville issues and priorities for City Council.
Sue Liberman, president of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia, will be the forum moderator. Each candidate gave a three minute opening statement before questions were taken from the audience. The candidates are shown below in alphabetical order.
Note: Photo and text for Independent Candidate Paul Long was unavailable at the time of this posting. The photo and text for his listing was excerpted from an article published on July 28 in the Charlottesville Daily Progress.
The candidates spoke at the August 10, 2011 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia. The meeting was held at the Charlottesville Senior Center. Following the presentation, questions were taken from the audience. The program was moderated by SSV President Sue Liberman.
Paul Beyer – Democrat I was born and raised in Charlottesville. Our small family business, R.L. Beyer Custom Homes, has 20 employees and a 40-year history in the community. I also have an arts background, graduating NYU with degrees in film, writing and history. My platform is Jobs / Sustainability / Arts because I believe the City needs to focus on job creation, the economic vitality of the region, and supporting small business. A pragmatic small-business perspective will be useful on Council. Of equal importance is maintaining the creative and entrepreneurial communities that are the pride of Charlottesville and maintain our distinct culture. www.beyerforcouncil.com
Collette Blount – Democrat My hometown is St. Louis, Missouri. I received my B.A. in 1986 from Wellesley College and did my graduate work at The College of William & Mary, where I received my M.A.Ed. in 1994. In that same year, I moved to Charlottesville, where I’ve been a teacher in the Albemarle County and Charlottesville City schools. Since my election to the City School Board in 2007, I have served on the following committees: Quest Advisory, Pre-School Advisory, and Children, Youth & Family Services. My community activities include: Dialogue on Race facilitator, coach, and tutor. My daughter, Jo, is a junior at Columbia University.
Brevy Cannon – Democrat A University of Virginia graduate, Brevy Cannon has lived in Charlottesville since 1997. Age 36, for the past five years he has been a news writer for UVa. Today. His well-rounded background includes work as an electrician, farmhand and on Capitol Hill for Senator Bob Kerrey (Nebraska). In Charlottesville he serves as a volunteer firefighter and a leader of Left of Center, a group of young progressives. He is on the board of the Charlottesville Community Scholar Program, and served on the CACF Future Fund grant committee that recently awarded $50,000 to the Buford Schoolyard Garden Project.
Kathy Galvin – Democrat I’m the granddaughter of immigrants, the daughter of an auto mechanic with an 8th grade education and an army nurse who earned her bachelor’s degree on the GI Bill. Growing up in Massachusetts, I saw factories close and neighborhoods wither; it’s no wonder I studied economics, geography, and architecture. I’ve run my own practice since 1989, raised two sons with my husband, and served on several public bodies, including Charlottesville’s elected City School Board since 2007. My vision is a Charlottesville that expands economic opportunity, especially for our most vulnerable, while minimizing our region’s footprint – Greener, Smarter, Stronger, by Design.
James Halfaday – Democrat I have been a resident of Charlottesville for five years and while here, fell in love with our community. I currently serve on the Charlottesville Police Advisory Council and the Building Code of Appeals. If elected to City Council I will work hard to provide every citizen of our city the opportunity to reach their goals, educationally, socially and economically. I believe in equal opportunity for all and that the education of our young people should be one of our top priorities. I also believe in the preservation of our natural resources and support dredging first. I look forward to serving the city if elected.
Satyendra Singh Huja – Democrat I seek a second term on city council because I am committed to public service and think that I can make a significant difference in the quality of life in our community for all our citizens. I bring extensive experience, creativity and a track record of accomplishments. I will work to preserve and enhance our environment; promote balanced transportation with network of sidewalks, bike lanes and more frequent bus service; improve deteriorating infrastructure of water, sewer, drainage and sidewalks; promote quality education especially for early childhood needs; provide for targeted workforce development; and provide for safe and decent housing and neighborhoods.
Dede Smith – Democrat Deirdre “Dede” Smith moved to Charlottesville with her husband, UVA Professor Tim Wilson in 1979. They have lived in the Fry’s Spring neighborhood for 30 years, where they raised two children. Dede has been active in civic affairs for decades, with a particular interest in environmental and educational issues. Recognition for her contributions includes the Distinguished Dozen Award in 2003 for her work at the Ivy Creek Natural Area and as a member of the Charlottesville School Board. Dede’s volunteer activity now includes the Virginia Master Naturalists, Tree Stewards, and advocacy for preservation of the city’s natural and historic resources.
Scott Bandy – Independent With the exception of residing 1986 in Orlando Florida, I’ve lived in Virginia most of my life. I first moved to Albemarle County in 1989. I made my residence Charlottesville in 1993 and have stayed since. The majority of my employment record has been limited small jobs. However, I do know what it is to actually be somebody’s personal assistant and I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. No, the Holiday Inn quip was an attempt at humor. There are no exemplary self credentials or recognitions to note.
Brandon Collins – Independent Brandon, 38, has lived in Charlottesville his entire life, is 38 years old, has a child in the City Schools, is a musician, music teacher, restaurant worker, personal care attendant, and committed activist. He has experienced all of the great things as well as the difficult circumstances and situations that Charlottesville has to offer. He graduated from Charlottesville High School, attended Piedmont, worked for poverty wages, and has organized in Charlottesville. He frequently addresses City Council, serves on the board of the Charlottesville Center for Peace and Justice, secretary of the Socialist Party of Central Virginia, delegate for the IWW, co-founder of Cville Workers Action Network as well as the lobbying group Virginia United Against Oppression.
Bob Fenwick – Independent Occupation and Work Experience: seven years US Army Corps of Engineers Officer, served one year in Vietnam, Central Highlands, Brigade Engineer, 4th Infantry Division; Owner Fenwick Construction (VA Class A General Contractor License #13681) 36 years; Writer www.Santas-Little-Helper.com (first Christmas story written for the internet), www.McIntireTheFox.com (a children’s story that adults will enjoy as well); Vice President Austro Health and Environmental Education Project, Inc. (IRS 501c3); Internet Web Master. Married 44 years to Victoria, two sons, both serving in the US Army at Ft. Knox.
Paul Long – Independent Long, who works in the transportation department at the University of Virginia, is a frequent advocate for the homeless and better public transit. He chose to run as an independent because the Democratic Party in Charlottesville is “too conservative.” His campaign will focus on drug decriminalization, expansion of Charlottesville Area Transit bus service and more funding for homeless shelters. Long opposes the Meadow Creek Parkway, saying the money allocated for the road could be better spent elsewhere. “I believe that that money should be spent and made available to Charlottesville Area Transit so that new bus routes could be established.”
Andrew D. Williams – Independent I was raised in the inner-city of Detroit, the cosmopolitan environs of Los Angeles and the staid suburbs of Charlotte, NC. My exposure to these Cities enabled my ability to identify with many people from different cultures and backgrounds. I learned at a very young age to listen, more than I speak and lead when the need arrives. One core belief I live by is the idea that we must find time to serve not only the next generation of people, but also the previous. I have a sincere desire to serve the residents of my home, Charlottesville. Age: 24