Buddy Weber and Mike Farruggio

For the first time in 13 years, the Charlottesville Republican Party will run multiple candidates for City Council.

Retiring Police Sergeant Michael Farruggio and Party Chair Charles “Buddy” Weber will campaign as a team vying to become the first Republicans elected since 2002, when Rob Schilling won election.

“As of tomorrow, I will have spent one half of my entire life here in Charlottesville, living and working in and for the city,” Farruggio said. “I have worked your streets serving as a police officer for 25 years and I have served my community in many ways.”

“During my time in Charlottesville, I have grown increasingly frustrated with a city council that pontificates with faux authority on issues that do not matter, but dithers endlessly on issues that do,” Weber said.

Three Republicans ran for Council in 2000, but lost to three Democrats.

In 2002, Schilling came in second with 2,176 votes, narrowly defeating Democrat Alexandria P. Searls who received 2,049 votes. Democrat Blake Caravati came in first with 2,512 votes.

Schilling did not win election to a second term in 2006.

Earlier this month, Charlottesville Republicans held their first Reagan Dinner in a decade, and event that was headlined by national GOP officials James Burnley and Karl Rove.

“It was a great event and revitalized enthusiasm for Republicans here in the City of Charlottesville,” Weber said.

In addition to volunteering for his church, Farruggio served one term on the city’s planning commission from 2005 to 2009. He’s also a graduate of the Sorensen Institute’s Political Leadership Program.

Each candidate targeted one issue during their joint announcement Thursday at Central Place on the downtown mall.

Farruggio expressed concern about the recently-enacted stormwater utility fee, which  he referred to as “the rain tax.”

“The city calls it the water resources protection program, and it sounds better when you call it that,” Farruggio said. “But is it better that the city has neglected our stormwater and sewage for decades?”

Instead, Farruggio said the city should use money from the city’s existing utility fees to cover the cost of repairing stormwater infrastructure.

Farruggio said he and many homeowners will be able to pay the fee, but churches and non-profits will have to pay large sums.

“My wife Jan and I will only pay about $43.20 a year,” Farruggio said. “However, the Salvation Army will be paying $2,000 on one of their properties, and just one church on Park Street will pay nearly $8,000 a year.”

Weber, a native of Baltimore, first came to Charlottesville in 1964 to attend the University of Virginia. He spent a career in the U.S. Navy as a fighter pilot, and moved back in 1993 to become a professor of naval science at UVA. Following retirement, he obtained a law degree from UVA School of Law, and has been a defense attorney ever since.

“During this career of service to my country, I was blessed with many challenging assignments directly applicable to my duties as a City Councilor,” Weber said. “I have found myself up close and personal with young men and women in our community in serious trouble.”

Weber chose the state of the city’s public housing units as his issue.

“I was not surprised by the poor grades given to the Charlottesville Redevelopment and Housing Authority by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development,” Weber said, referring to a February report that assessed management conditions of the agency. “Chronic mismanagement has been the norm since the establishment of the CRHA in 1954.”

Weber said he and Farruggio will work hard to garner support from independents and Democrats.

Five candidates are vying for the Democratic Party’s two nominations for Council. They are incumbent Kristen Szakos, Albemarle High School teacher Wes Bellamy, former independent candidate Bob Fenwick, Buford Middle School teacher Melvin Grady and University of Virginia graduate student Adam Lees.

All five are on the ballot in the June 11 primary.

The general election is on November 5.

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