Charlottesville city council candidates square off in first in-person debate

Charlottesville city council candidates square off in first in-person debate
Charlottesville city council candidates square off in first in-person debate. (Source: WVIR)

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The race to fill two seats on Charlottesville City Council is on. For the very first time, the candidates met in-person to debate a slew of current issues leading up to the election.

Four candidates came to the table at ILoveCville Studios Tuesday afternoon to give a first glimpse at their platforms and how they hope to contribute to council and the city as a whole.

The debate focused on many topics, including affordable housing issues, education, policing, the role of councilors, zoning development, and fiscal health.

“Our community needs us right now in a bad way,” Democratic candidate Carl Brown said. “We don’t have time to mess around and look into that what we think is best, we need to do what’s right for our community and bring a balance to our community.”

Born and raised in Charlottesville, Brown says he wants to stop wasting time caught up in the politics of the city and spark more action.

Independent Yas Washington says she wants to focus on building a more equitable Charlottesville.

“That can be done by continuing to be able to fund programs that provide equity to disadvantaged individuals,” Washington said. “As we work to continue to reach devise, definitely taking the initiative to do so by ensuring that we’re continuing to make sure that they don’t fall by the wayside or that they’re not forgotten about.”

Project manager and Democratic candidate Brian Pinkston says part of that means police reform and more emphasis on the Civilian Review Board.

“I’m for reimagining the police, re-envisioning the police,” Pinkston said. “I think, as much as possible, we need to move funds targeted at policing to community service board and Region Ten and things like that.”

Democratic candidate and long-time Charlottesville City School Board member Juandiego Wade wants to bring his education expertise to council, as well as his experience in urban planning.

“I understand that we have a lot of work to do,” Wade said. “We’re still in the mode of rebuilding from 2017 and then we have to rebuild from COVID-19, but I think that we can do it. I’ve seen it numerous times on the school board.”

Mayor Nikuyah Walker was not at the debate, although she said early last year she intended to seek out a second term.

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