The five candidates for two competitive seats on the Albemarle Board of Supervisors kicked off their general election campaign on Wednesday with a forum sponsored by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia and held at the Senior Center.
“The Senior Center is very proud of the partnership here with the Senior Statesmen of Virginia,” said Peter Thompson, executive director of the nonprofit center.
Supervisor Ann Mallek did not participate in the forum because she has no opponent for the White Hall Magisterial District seat.
The three candidates hoping to succeed Republican Ken Boyd as the Rivanna District supervisor race went first with opening statements.
“I’m at a time in my life when I want to give back,” said Democrat Norman Dill, who has lived in the community for over 30 years. “I’ve had several businesses such as Rebecca’s Natural Food and Harlowe Powell Auctions which I co-owned for about ten years.”
Dill said he wanted to help encourage local entrepreneurs by helping to redirect private investment in ideas generated by the University of Virginia. He also wants to help preserve the Rivanna River watershed.
“I’m an independent in the truest sense of the word,” said Lawrence Gaughan, who ran as a Democrat in the 2014 5th District Congressional election. “There are no Democratic or Republican solutions to problems such as how to fund our schools.”
Gaughan also claimed he had yard signs vandalized over the weekend but said he would not be deterred.
Republican Richard Lloyd said he would work to protect the “drop-dead gorgeous” environment.
“These are important conversations and this is when we get in front and talk about the issues,” said Lloyd. “This is the way we distill what is the right path to take. This is the way we have the community involved in the process.”
The forum then moved on to opening statements for the two candidates in the Scottsville District to fill the seat being vacated by. Democrat Jane Dittmar who opted to not seek a second term.
“If I’m elected on November 3, I will have the unique honor of automatically becoming the most senior member of the Board of Supervisors,” said Richard Randolph, age 68, who is currently represents the Scottsville District on the Albemarle Planning Commission.
“The senior presence in my life has always been there to provide me with guidance, perspective, unconditional love and emotional support,” Randolph added.
“I’m a very down to Earth, common-sense guy,” said Republican Earl Smith. “Rick Randolph and I have met once and we both agreed this is not a race about Democrats and Republicans. It’s about what we can do to make Albemarle better. We both agreed to help each other even after the election.”
Candidates were asked if they thought construction of the Rio Road grade-separated interchange would be completed by the first University of Virginia football game of 2016.
They were also asked how what areas of cooperation could occur between Albemarle and Charlottesville. The final question was whether the county should consider relocating its courts system away from Court Square to another portion of the county.
Charlottesville Tomorrow will hold a candidate forum for the Rivanna District on September 10 and a forum for the Scottsville District on September 21. The general election is on November 3.
TIMELINE FOR PODCAST
• 01:05 – Opening statement from Norman Dill
• 05:15 – Opening statement from Lawrence Gaughan
• 08:05 – Opening statement from Richard Lloyd
• 11:06 – Opening statement from Richard Randolph
• 14:15 – Opening statement from Earl Smith
• 17:30 – Question 1: “Do you think the grade-separated interchange at Rio Road will be completed by September 2016 as planned? Do you think it is a wise use of taxpayer money?
• 26:45 – Question 2: “Because the city and the county have budget crunches every so often, they talk about combining budget functions. Are there any departments of the governments of the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County that you think are worthy of study for possible new cooperation?”
• 36:15- Question 3: “There have been rumblings for years about the need for either a new location for the Albemarle Circuit Court or a new dynamic where there would be adequate parking. Some have discussed moving the courts to the county.”