“I bring a proven record of service to this community and I have experience and expertise to help out and create solutions for this community,” Huja said at a news conference Friday.
Huja, 69, said he has achieved many of his goals during his first three years on council. He cited increased investment in bicycle infrastructure; changes to the noise ordinance to improve quality of life in the Belmont neighborhood; and the creation of the city’s tree commission.
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“I have a bright vision for Charlottesville,” Huja said. He added that he wants to further improve the transit system, continue investment in affordable housing projects and work to build stronger neighborhoods.
“I will also propose deferral of property taxes for low- and fixed-income families until the sale of their property so they can continue to afford to live in their home,” Huja said.
Huja is the president of Community Planning Associates, a company he formed after retiring from city government after more than three decades of service. He served as the city’s director of strategic planning from 1998 to 2004.
Earlier this year, Huja was one of three councilors who voted to build a new earthen dam at the Ragged Mountain Reservoir, rather than repair and enlarge a dam that was built in 1908.
“I think it’s a great decision because we need water for our community and we need to plan ahead and think of the future and not just think of the next five years,” Huja said.
While making his announcement, Huja was flanked by more than two dozen supporters, including several former and current city councilors.
, a former member of the Planning Commission, served as an intern while Huja was the city’s planning director.
“I think he’s a responsible leader and knows about good, responsible government,” Mitchell said. “I admire that.”
, a local architect and current member of the Planning Commission, also identified himself as one of Huja’s supporters.
“He was a professor of mine at the University of Virginia,” Keesecker said. “I learned a lot about planning from him.”
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In 2007, Democrats held a mass meeting
to nominate candidates and Huja received the most votes of the five candidates running. The party altered the format in 2009 to an unassembled caucus, also known as a “firehouse primary.”
“Only about 400 people participated [in 2007],” said James Nix, the co-chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Party. “This time it is more democratic and we’re hoping for a big turnout.”
More than 1,600 people cast ballots in the
2009 firehouse primary
, according to Nix.
Nix said that he expects at least six candidates to compete to be one of the party’s three nominees. The primary will be held Aug. 20 at Burley Middle School.
The competition is healthy and I look forward to that,” Huja said. “I will work hard and knock on every door in town if I can.”
Huja is the second declared candidate in the race.
Independent Scott Bandy
filed his paperwork earlier this week.