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3 Seats, 8 Candidates: Race for City Council Heats Up

May 29, 2011

A seat on Charlottesville city council is in high demand.

"It is a lot of work. To do a good job, you have to be prepared," said councilor David Brown, who is stepping down at the end of his term next year.

Brown's seat is one of three up for grabs in a crowded contest that, so far, has attracted eight candidates who could have big jobs ahead of them.

"A lot of stuff comes our way, a lot of issues, and it's very important to do the background information," Brown said.

As of May 29, the Democratic candidates include:

* Kathy Galvin, a member of the Charlottesville School Board
* James Halfaday, an activist who sits on a handful of city boards
* Satyendra Huja, current city councilor who is running for re-election
* Peter McIntosh, a retired attorney

Running on an independent ticket are:

* Scott Bandy, a Cherry Avenue resident
* Brandon Collins, secretary of the Socialist Party of Central Virginia
* Bob Fenwick, a community activist
* Andrew Williams, an insurance claims adjuster

All the candidates need to be ready, should they claim one of the three council seats, for issues that may not have been brought up yet.

"A lot of the issues that come up you can't really anticipate ahead of time they're going to be," Brown said.

When it comes to political party, Brown said it's both important and unimportant. While party affiliation can provide insight into why candidates may think the way they do, many issues in local government aren't always Republican or Democratic.

"A lot of these issues cross political labels," Brown said, citing the Meadow Creek Parkway and the 50-year water supply plan as examples.

In Brown's eyes, Charlottesville needs a visionary, someone quick on his or her feet.

"We're looking for someone who, when new issues come along, you're just going to have trust in them being the leadership of the city," Brown said.

The Democratic primary is scheduled for Aug. 20. Councilors Brown and Holly Edwards have announced they will not seek a re-election. The terms for Mayor Dave Norris and councilor Kristin Szakos expire in 2014.

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