By Sean Tubbs

Charlottesville Tomorrow

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

At a caucus held underneath a picnic shelter in McIntire Park, the Albemarle County Republican Party chose

Duane Snow

to be their candidate for the

Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

from the Samuel Miller District.

Rodney Thomas

was unopposed for the Republican nomination in the Rio District.

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Snow’s opponent, Philip Melita, ceded the race after a first count of the ballots showed an overwhelming majority for Snow. While 74 people from the Samuel Miller District registered to vote, the caucus agreed to suspend the rules to allow ballots to be counted by people who had to leave before it came to vote.

Rodney Thomas (R) accepts the Rio District nomination

Seventeen people were on hand from the Rio District to nominate Thomas. His nomination speech was given by former Albemarle County Sheriff

Terry Hawkins

. Hawkins said he’s known Thomas since they were teenagers, and that Thomas’ decades of public service has prepared him to serve on the Board of the Supervisors.

In his acceptance speech, Thomas pledged to reduce County spending in order to keep the County’s tax rate low, to implement “

zero-based budgeting

”, and to complete the Meadowcreek Parkway. Thomas also said he would ensure that the County’s urban water supply was safe.

“This means building a new dam as well as increasing the use of sensible conservation measures,” Thomas said. “It also means taking a hard look at dredging and how that fits into a new 50-year water supply plan.” Thomas also said he would protect the property rights of Albemarle County landowners.

Albemarle County Supervisor Ken Boyd (Rivanna) gave the nominating speech for fellow Republican Duane Snow

After Thomas accepted, it was time for the two candidates in the Samuel Miller District to come forth to give their nominating speeches. Philip Melita’s was given by Charles Rockacy , who said Melita’s leadership had helped out the neighborhood in which they both live. Duane Snow’s speech was given by Rivanna District Supervisor

Ken Boyd

(R). Boyd said Snow would help protect property rights in Albemarle County.

Melita, who has lived in Albemarle County since 1993, said he became a candidate after becoming concerned that the County’s government spending has increased at a faster rate than its population.

Snow echoed Thomas’ call for zero-based budget, and said his experience running a small business has prepared him to understand how to translate that approach to County government.

“You go in, look at the expenditures, see what you funded in the past, and [ask] are you getting your money’s worth,” Snow explained. “If you’re not getting your money’s worth, then why continue to spend money in that area?”

Duane Snow

Snow also said that he would cut down on what he said was the County’s reliance on conducting studies. He said that thirty years of study have not produced enough results when it comes to transportation and the water supply plan. Snow then called for a full study of dredging to determine whether it can help adjust the water supply plan adopted by the City Council and the Board of Supervisors in July 2006. On the subject of transportation, Snow said the City of Charlottesville has benefited tremendously from the construction of the Route 250 Bypass, despite opposition from nearby landowners at the time.

When it came time to vote, Albemarle County Republican Chairman

Christian Schoenwald

asked the caucus if they would be willing to suspend the rules to allow people who had to leave early to have their votes counted. The caucus agreed, and at least 12 additional ballots were cast.

The teller on the left holds a stack of votes for Philip Melita. The teller on the right holds a larger stack for Duane Snow

The tellers counted the votes and distributed the votes into two stacks. Charlottesville Tomorrow observed that Snow easily won a majority. Before the official counting was concluded, Melita approached Schoenwald and asked to address the caucus. He made a motion for the caucus to nominate Snow by acclimation, which was approved.

Snow will face two other candidates in the general election to replace outgoing Supervisor Sally Thomas (I) – Independent

John Lowry

and Democrat

Madison Cummings

. In the Rio District, Thomas will face incumbent

David Slutzky

(D). Unless an independent candidate emerges before June 9, 2009, Jack Jouett District Supervisor

Dennis Rooker

will be unopposed on the November ballot.

See Charlottesville Tomorrow’s

Election Watch page

for complete coverage of the County’s 2009 elections.


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