Charlottesville Republicans have nominated computer programmer Anson Parker as their sole candidate for the Charlottesville City Council.
Parker, 37, is a Fifeville resident who has been employed as a web application developer at the University of Virginia for the past four years. Parker grew up in Lexington and has lived in Charlottesville for 19 years.
Parker said improving transparency in local government was the top priority of his campaign.
“Right now, I think one of the concerns is we don’t really know how the money is flowing out of the system,” Parker said. “Fiscal conservatism is best done through transparency because it gives everyone a chance to look at where the money is being spent.”
Parker wants to make every city financial transaction and all business conducted by the City Council visible online for residents, and he thinks the city staff needs someone championing that vision.
“The great thing about City Hall is that it’s a bunch of people who are trying to do good work, so if you go to them and say, ‘I want to make your job easier,’ they are pretty open to that,” Parker said. “I am somebody who is willing to do the nuts-and-bolts work of automating systems.”
Twenty-two city Republicans gathered Saturday at Charlottesville Circuit Court to nominate Parker for one of the three council seats on the ballot in the Nov. 3 general election. Charlottesville Democrats are holding a primary June 9 to select three nominees from among five of their party’s candidates.
“I am just really happy that we finally found someone who is young, absolutely energetic, has some great ideas and who says transparency is the most important thing — and it is — to us,” said Barbara Null, chairwoman of the Charlottesville Republican Committee.
“It is so important to know where our money is going instead of worrying about trees and all of that stuff as we have a lot more problems than those, and I think he will bring that to light,” Null added. “I wish him luck, and we are behind him.”
Parker came to Charlottesville to attend UVa. He said he studied biochemistry for 3½ years but did not complete his degree. He worked initially in the neuropharmacology field and then as a web developer.
Later, Parker said, he spent seven years working in construction jobs, something that opened his eyes to government and the business community.
“I worked for Shelter Associates, Faulconer Construction and Gaston & Wyatt,” Parker said. “These years taught me about underground utilities, local development and the brass tacks behind urban construction, as well as a great appreciation for local businesses and resources.”
City Republican Bill Eadie said he thought Parker would bring alternative thinking to the work of the City Council and that the political party label wasn’t really that important.
“It seems like right now the city is only willing to receive ideas that are branded one way — progressive — as defined by liberal progressives,” Eadie said. “My concern is we have stopped listening to the whole panoply of ideas, we are only listening to one set of ideas. That’s not how our country was formed and we have lost some checks and balances.”
“He’s presenting a set of ideas that I think are held in common by a lot of people,” Eadie added. “When people ask him what party he’s from, I hope he focuses on his progressive ideas. [A campaign] should be more about who you are, what your values are and what your goals are. Then I think you stand a better chance of actually impacting the community.”
Over the past several months, Parker has been building a website at www.cvillecouncil.us which he describes as a tool for “crowdsourcing political decisions.” He also plans to release a smartphone application that he wants to use to get young people more involved in the issues before the City Council.
“It’s an opportunity for the Republican Party to get their message into younger minds and I think that’s something we should all be excited about,” Anson said.