Election Day is almost here and I hope you are planning to come out and vote on Tuesday!
In addition to Creigh Deeds, Jody Wagner and Steve Shannon, all of whom need our strong support, I am sharing the ballot on Nov. 3 with my friends Kristin Szakos (for City Council) and James Brown (for City Sheriff). As we enter the last few days of this campaign, I wanted to share with you why I feel so strongly that Kristin and James are our best choices on Tuesday. (And no, it's not just because they're Democrats.)
First and foremost, Kristin Szakos understands that Charlottesville has many challenges before it and she is committed to working through those challenges in a thoughtful, diligent, creative and collaborative manner. Kristin is the ONLY other candidate in this year's Council campaign who's come forward with positive, constructive ideas for addressing the achievement gap and reducing the dropout rate in our schools, for making Charlottesville a more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly community, for strengthening the voice of neighborhoods in City decision-making, for bringing the community together around new and better approaches to reducing poverty, for encouraging citizen participation, for making City Council more accountable to our residents, etc. Kristin is the ONLY other candidate on Tuesday's ballot who's said she'll support the establishment of a dedicated fund for affordable housing in the City budget; if she wins, she'll be the critical 3rd vote we've needed to finally pass this important measure. And, along with independent candidate Paul Long, Kristin is the ONLY other candidate who has come forward with specific ideas for making our public transportation system more efficient and user-friendly so that we can reduce congestion on our roads and improve our environment. I may not agree with Kristin on 100% of the issues, nor should I, but I have full confidence that she will tell the truth and keep focused on what's best for all of Charlottesville and not just narrow special interests.
Anyone who knows Kristin, as I have for some years, is not surprised by the positive, issues-oriented, community-based campaign she has run this year. Kristin is an accomplished author, journalist, community activist, PTO President, non-profit professional, foster parent and mother. She mobilized thousands of volunteers from across Central Virginia last year to help get Barack Obama elected President, and has been an energetic leader in the effort to mobilize citizen support for meaningful health care reform in Congress. In other words, she knows how to bring people together and she knows how to get things done. That's exactly the kind of leader we need on City Council.
For these reasons and more, please come out and vote for Kristin Szakos for City Council on Tuesday. And while you're at it, please vote for me too. :-)
As for James Brown -- James has impressed me mightily during his campaign for Sheriff. He won a convincing victory in the May primary election, but didn't let it go to his head. Instead, he set out to meet with as many people as possible (both he and Kristin have knocked on hundreds of doors the last few months) and let them know his vision for the Sheriff's office. James grew up in Charlottesville and has ably served our community for over 15 years in the criminal justice field, as a police officer, pretrial investigator and probation officer. I know he will do great honor to the Office of Sheriff. He has specific ideas for building on Cornelia Johnson's outstanding legacy as our current Sheriff and intends to use his position as an elected official to influence kids in a positive direction. He also plans to "green" the Sheriff's office by phasing in hybrid vehicles, to reduce fuel usage and save taxpayers' money. Last but certainly not least, James is a genuinely good and decent and compassionate human being, which should count for something in politics. His campaign slogan says it all: "With respect, communication and diversity we can all progress."
*** Do you have 5 minutes you can spare in the next couple of days? Please forward this message (or better, one of your own) to any friends, neighbors, co-workers or family members who live in Charlottesville, and encourage them to get out and vote on Tuesday. If you're on Facebook, Twitter, etc., you can do the same there. Feel free to point folks to our website, www.YourCharlottesville.org, for more info.
*** Do you have 1 hour you can spare on Tuesday? We need folks to hand out sample ballots at the polls and/or make reminder calls to favorable voters. Please contact Jim Nix at firstname.lastname@example.org or (434) 987-3321 to sign up.
Thanks for all the support you've given me over the years, and for any help you can give over the next few days. And if you're free on Tuesday evening, we'll be gathering with volunteers from all the Democratic campaigns at Siips on the Downtown Mall from 7pm onward to await the election results, and hopefully celebrate victory -- come join us!
Kristin, James and I with Congressman Tom Perriello