Democrat Heather Hill announced her candidacy for Charlottesville City Council at the central branch of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library Feb. 21. Two seats on City Council will be up for election in November. Council members Bob Fenwick and Kristin Szakos currently hold the seats, although Szakos has said she will not be seeking re-election. Fenwick has not yet made an announcement. Hill said her decision to run was based on her dedication to Charlottesville and experiences as an active citizen. “After much reflection, the time to step up is now,” Hill said in a release. “I want to apply my skills, my energy, my passion and my commitment to our local needs to create an environment where everyone can thrive.” Hill cited her role president of the North Downtown Residents Association and other volunteer work as valuable experiences for City Council. Hill said accountability and efficiency were key components of the improvements she hopes to make if elected. “Through my professional efforts and volunteer work in our community I have engaged with our city’s neighborhoods and built strong ties with families throughout our community,” Hill said in a release. In an email to The Cavalier Daily, Hill said she plans to engage with the University, particularly Student Council, to build stronger connections between the University and the greater Charlottesville area. She said she views the University community as significant stakeholders in the city. “I see the U.Va. Student Council as an important constituent in our community,” Hill said. “Its purpose is to ‘protect and improve the rights, opportunities and quality of life of every student’ which should be a shared purpose for our City’s leadership. I am committed to engaging Student Council and the broader U.Va. community to ensure it is.” Student Council has also expressed interest in city affairs, particularly in the area of affordable housing. An ad hoc committee was recently created by Student Council to study the impacts of the University’s student population on affordable housing in the city. Maeve Curtin, a third-year College student and the Student Council liaison to City Council, said it is important for council members to reach out to students and hear their concerns. “I believe there is incredible value in diversity of thought and opinion particularly in relatively small governing bodies,” Curtin said. “To that end, it is critical that above all else, councilors must be willing to seek input from those in our community and act on what they learn while engaging with citizens. I would hope that all councilors would be willing to engage in conversations with students as well.” Aside from engaging with the University, Hill also said her personal commitment to Charlottesville qualifies her for City Council. “I am a wife, a neighbor, an engaged community leader, an engineer and a business person,” Hill said in a release. “This broad collection of life experience will help me understand your perspective, even when it is different than mine.” The Democratic primary for City Council is June 13. Charlottesville School Board member Amy Laufer is also planning to compete in the primary. The general election will take place Nov. 7 and any newly elected members will take office January 2018.