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Incumbent Sally Hudson faces Philip Hamilton in House of Delegates race

City Council, School Board, Commonwealth Attorney and Board of Supervisor seats are also up for election this year

<p>There are five seats on the City Council, and one member is <a href="https://www.charlottesville.gov/677/City-Council"><u>elected</u></a> mayor while another is elected vice mayor by the council.</p>

There are five seats on the City Council, and one member is elected mayor while another is elected vice mayor by the council.

While the race for Virginia’s next governor heats up, voters in Charlottesville and parts of Albemarle County also have the chance to vote for who will represent the 57th District in the Virginia House of Delegates in the Nov. 2 election. Charlottesville residents will also vote for new City Council, School Board, Commonwealth Attorney and Board of Supervisor seats. 

Incumbent Democratic Del. Sally Hudson will face Republican challenger Philip Hamilton in the delegates race. The 57th district encompasses about half of both Charlottesville City and Albemarle County, with 89,703 constituents.  

Hudson is a professor in the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and was first elected as a delegate in 2019, winning her election unopposed with 96.1 percent of the vote. After her victory, Hudson became the first female delegate to represent the 57th District, a seat that has been held by Democrats since it was created in 1983.

Hamilton is the first Republican to run for the seat since 2005 and says he is running to “fight against the status quo,” according to an interview with NBC 29. This is Hamilton’s first time running for public office.

Hamilton’s legislative priorities include limiting government interference into operations of schools and businesses, enhancing law enforcement regulations of activities involving animal abuse — such as dogfighting and breeder abuse — and enacting term limits for elected positions like the House of Delegates, school board and mayor.

Hudson’s priorities for the coming term are education — including universal pre-k and increasing teacher salaries — the legalization of marijuana, meeting the challenges of climate change, improving access to quality healthcare and solving Charlottesville’s housing shortage, according to the incumbent delgeate’s campaign website, .

As a delegate, Hudson has sponsored several bills, including HB1537, which allows localities to remove, relocate, contextualize or cover war monuments. The passing of the bill permitted the removal of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville. Following years of advocacy, the city removed the statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson last summer. 

Hudson has also sponsored HB1507, which would have allowed for the possession of small amounts of marijuana for personal use, and HB1906, which would have prohibited campaign contributions from corporations in state elections, though both bills failed to pass.

Another platform point Hudson is committed to implementing ranked-choice voting, a method of voting in which voters rank candidates in order of preference regardless of party affiliation. After votes are cast, they are tallied and the candidate with the least votes is eliminated. The eliminated candidate’s votes are then reallocated to the voter’s second choice until one candidate has a majority of the vote. 

Hudson introduced a bill in January 2020 that allowed localities to use ranked-choice voting in elections held in Town Council and Board of Supervisors elections.

In the 2020 presidential election, both the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County voted for President Joe Biden, who won the localities by 85.5 percent and 65.68 percent, respectively. The racial makeup of the district is 69.2 percent white, 18.1 percent Black, 8.2 percent Asian with all other groups below one percent.

Eyes are also on the Charlottesville City Council race, which holds elections during odd-numbered years. There are five seats on the council, and one member is elected mayor while another is elected vice mayor by the council. Current Mayor Nikuyah Walker and council member Heather Hill’s terms are ending, while vice mayor Sena Magill, Michael Payne and Lloyd Snook will remain in office.  

City Council has been embroiled in controversy for the past few months. Without informing the rest of the council, city manager Chip Boyles fired Charlottesville Police Chief RaShall Brackney following a survey of police officers that revealed a lack of internal leadership in the department. Angered by his decision, Walker accused Boyles of being pressured by a police association into firing Brackney. 

Boyles resigned from his position only eight months after being hired, adding his name to a long list of city managers who have left before their terms were over. Boyles is the fifth Charlottesville city manager since 2018. Tarron Richardson, the city’s last permanent city manager, resigned after 16 months in office. 

Boyles’ resignation is effective Friday, but the search for a new city manager will not begin until the two new council members are sworn in this January. 

Walker, the city’s first Black mayor, withdrew from the race Sept. 8, citing racism within the city government among the reasons for her not seeking a second term. Similarly, Hill said the “toxic culture” within City Council was the biggest reason she did not choose to run for reelection. 

The two vacant City Council seats are contested by Democrats Juandiego Wade and Brian Pinkston and Independent Yas Washington. Wade received his Masters degree in Urban and Environmental Planning from the University. 

Wade aims to address grievances surrounding the city’s criminal justice system, which would involve enhancing de-escalation training for police officers, addressing the impacts of climate change, continuing efforts to fund affordable housing options and making access to public education a priority, according to his campaign website

Wade noted in an email to The Cavalier Daily why it is so important for college students to become involved in tackling these issues. 

“The effects of climate change will impact them in future, and currently, so we need college students to help advocate for policies to address it,” Wade said. “Addressing issues of affordable housing will open up opportunities for them to purchase [a] first home, and so getting involved now is very important.” 

For Pinkston, climate change is the “most visibly relevant issue” that college students face. He also noted the importance of improving equity and racial justice and how college students should care about affordable housing because they need opportunities to get “on the ladder” to rent an affordable living space and eventually own a home. 

“Climate, justice and housing all start off as local issues,” Pinkston said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “It's where change can be made in the most concrete and practical ways.”

Pinkston also seeks to improve civic management, advocate for local businesses to increase economic vitality and prioritize community partnerships.  

Washington’s campaign takes stances on urban development, eco-management, public safety and equitable education. Washington plans to enhance standards of living through commercial and housing development, monitor human impacts on the environment to prevent climate change, construct inclusive classrooms and implement policies that reduce the cost of keeping low-level offenders in prison as they await trial. 

Also on the ballot are nominations for the Charlottesville and Albemarle County School Boards, Commonwealth Attorney and Board of Supervisor positions. Charlottesville School Board members set school policies, approve the academic calendar, approve budgets, hire the Charlottesville City Schools superintendent and determine school boundaries. The Albemarle County School Board carries out similar duties but is in charge of Albemarle County Public Schools.

The Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney is responsible for prosecuting criminal cases and assisting victims of crime. The Board of Supervisors consists of six members, one from each magisterial district in the county, and is responsible for overseeing county policies and government. 

Wade, Leah Puryear and Lisa Larson-Torres are the incumbent Charlottesville City School Board members, with both Puryear and Larson-Torres rerunning for election. Puryear is the director of the University’s Upward Bound program, which supports high school students interested in attending university and is running for her fifth term. Larson-Torres, who is currently the chair of the School Board, is seeking a second term. 

Realtor and former teacher Emily Dooley, local parent Christa Bennett and Albemarle County educator Dom Morse are also competing to fill up the three seats. 

In the Albemarle County School Board, incumbents Kate Acuff, Katrina Callsen, Graham Paige will be rerunning as representatives from the Jack Jouett District, Rio District and Samuel Miller District, respectively. Paige will be challenged in the Samuel Miller District by Randy Zackrisson, who entered as a write-in candidate. 

The Albemarle County Board of Supervisors race is also uncontested, and all candidates are Democrats. Ned Gallaway and Diantha McKeel are the incumbent members for the Rio District and the Jack Jouett District, respectively, while Jim Andrews is running for the Samuel Miller District. 

Incumbent Charlottesville Commonwealth Attorney Joe Platania is also rerunning for the position uncontested. 

Residents of the 57th District will be able to vote for these candidates and in other Virginia elections Nov. 2. To find your polling location, visit the Virginia Department of Elections website.

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