Three Democrats, one Republican and one Libertarian took the stage at the Senior Center on Wednesday at the first campaign forum of the 2015 general election.

“The step to actually take run for office is an amazing thing and we should never underestimate it,” said Peter Thompson, executive director of the Senior Center.

The Senior Statesmen of Virginia put on the campaign event every two years.

Candidates were asked to give their perspective on Charlottesville’s growth, the future of the Human Rights Commission and what they would do to help make the community more age-friendly.

But first, the event began with an opening statement from each of the candidates in alphabetical order.

“I am very focused on bringing this entire city and community as whole together,” said Democrat Wes Bellamy, a teacher at Albemarle High School and founder of the non profit Helping Young People Evolve. “I’m interested most in making sure that everyone in our local area becomes civically engaged.”

“The torch of liberty is recognized as a symbol by willing Libertarians to recognized and acknowledged as so, so much so that love for and principle of liberty is a challenge for a political party itself,” said Libertarian Scott Bandy. “There is an idiom that says sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Bandy is listed on the ballot as an independent but identifies as a Libertarian.

“I have been in Charlottesville for 32 years,” said Democrat Kathy Galvin, the only incumbent in the race. “As an architect, I do have to bring people together to collaborate to get anything done. I believe that is a skill that I have brought to Council.”

“Having been in web development for 18 years, I have a unique perspective on what transparency means,” said Republican Anson Parker. “The things that I’m really excited about are getting these web tools available and making it so people can analyze our budgets online. We need 100 percent transparency and I’m actually building it.”

“I love this community deeply,” said Michael Signer, an attorney, author and father of two twin boys. “The idea of my campaign is ‘One Charlottesville.’ That to me means that at every step of the way in making decisions on Council, I want to think about what the answer is for the common good.”

The candidates did not give a closing statement.

Charlottesville Tomorrow will hold a forum for the candidates on September 17. The Fry’s Spring Neighborhood Association will ask their questions on September 23 followed by a Sierra Club forum the next day.

The general election is on November 3.

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