By Sean Tubbs
Friday, September 11, 2009
With less than two months to go before the City Council election, the Charlottesville Republican Party has unveiled a platform on which the party’s chairman says it can rebuild.
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“This is about the revival of real political choice for the citizens of Charlottesville,” said Charles “Buddy” Weber, Chairman of the Charlottesville Republican Party. However, no Republican candidates came forward before the June 2009 deadline to get on the November ballot.
The platform is the result of many months of discussion among members of Charlottesville’s Republican Committee. Weber said it only focuses on issues of local concern, and avoids issues such as abortion and national security. But the platform also avoids commenting on prominent infrastructure issues such as the
or the community water supply plan.
“Reasonable people regardless of their affiliation or political philosophy can disagree about the needs and the costs and the benefits of these programs,” Weber said during a press conference held outside City Hall.
Weber said the platform’s title, “Empowering People… Constraining Government,” is meant to highlight the differences between his party and the Democratic Party on the issues of education, public housing, property rights, and tax policy.
“Positions taken on these issues reflect distinct philosophical differences between Republicans and Democrats over the proper roles and functions of government,” Weber said. “With this platform, we proudly plant the flag of the Republican Party in Democratic Charlottesville.”
Weber said he hoped the platform would help recruit new candidates to give Charlottesville voters more choices during future elections. However, one plank of the new platform is to have non-partisan elections for City Council, an approach that would seem to limit party building and involvement if candidates are encouraged to run as independents.
Specific policy positions called for in the platform:
When asked if the Republican Party would endorse any of the three independents in the City Council race, Weber said that would depend on if any of them endorsed the Republican Party platform.
The last Republican to be elected to City Council was Rob Schilling who received 2,176 votes in
. That year he was the only Republican on the ballot. Schilling was unable to hold on to his seat in
, and lost by a wide margin to Democrats
Prior to Schilling, the last Republican to serve on City Council was
. He was defeated in 1990 by less than a hundred votes to Democrat
. Republicans last ran a full slate of candidates in the 1990, 1992, 1994 and 2000 elections
Two Republicans sat on the Charlottesville Planning Commission until their terms expired last month.
decided not to seek a second term, and
served the maximum two terms on the Commission. The service of both was recognized at the Commission’s September 9, 2009 meeting.
“That will be the last time someone from my party gets a round of applause in this room for a while,” said Lewis, who helped contribute to the platform. In an interview with Charlottesville Tomorrow, she explained that the timing just wasn’t right to field a candidate this year.
“Obviously, we would have preferred a candidate to advance the platform, but this isn’t the year for it,” Lewis said.