City Council Candidates Weigh In on Statues Debate
The men and women hoping to become Charlottesville's next councilors are weighing in on the controversy surrounding the Aug. 12 rally and the city's Confederate statues.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The men and women hoping to become Charlottesville's next councilors are weighing in, on the controversy surrounding the August 12 rally and the city's Confederate statues.
They have different stances but one strong message; trust and transparency needs to be fixed between City Council and the community.
“I can't afford to see Charlottesville destroyed,” Kenny Jackson said.
Jackson, an independent, says the controversy surrounding the Confederate statues needs to stop: "The statue needs to be left alone. It never should have been an issue in the first place," he said.
Not all of the independent candidates agree.
"There has been too much ugliness and hatred that have poured out of it," Nikuyah Walker said.
Walker said the statues need to go, and Charlottesville should reconcile its past.
"Transparency. We definitely have a lack of transparency as a whole and we're not very good at assessing ourselves,” Walker said.
Democratic candidate Heather Hill says if she were on City Council she would have voted "no" to removing the statues back in February. With what she knows now, her answer has changed.
"We still have to go through the legal steps to do it, to pursue this - which is unfortunate because it could take some time,” Hill said.
Hill wants Charlottesville to heal: "We have to come together on ways that we can bridge that gap between today and when ultimately those statues can go down," she said.
Candidates agree the trust between Charlottesville and City Council needs to mend.
"We don't all know. We don't know the full picture here and they are privy to information that we are not and I just hope they can rebuild trust within themselves," Democrat Amy Laufer said.
Laufer and the others hope Charlottesville can learn from all that has happened in 2017.
"We are a loving community. We're going to take care of each other and we will rebuild these relationships to move forward," Laufer said.
Independent candidate John Edward Hall released the following statement on Wednesday, August 30:
It is appropriate to remove all Confederate Civil War Statues when our state legislature amends the current law, so that we might honor in their places, contemporary heroes in all works and walks of industry and social living-- contemporary people who have been successful to bring us together as One People as opposed to polarizing us and driving us apart, One People who have been healed by the curative powers of love.
NBC29 reached out to the other two independent candidates - Paul Long and Cassie Clawson - who have yet to comment.
Two City Council seats are up for grabs in the election on Nov. 7.