McKeever first in City Council pool

The local election season is under way, and candidate declarations are coming fast and furious. First out of the gate for City Council, which has three seats up for grabs, is 34-year-old Democratic lawyer/ business owner/mom Jennifer McKeever.

In announcing her candidacy today, McKeever credits state Senator Emily Couric with steering her toward public service and law school, and she promises to make transit and affordable housing top priorities in her campaign.

"It is shameful that this world class city, the number one place to live in America, is a place where people who grow up here can't afford to live here, so they leave," says McKeever.

She graduated from Western Albemarle and attended Piedmont Virginia Community College. "Then I was accepted at the University of Virginia, a possibility so remote at the time I graduated [from high school] as to be laughable," she says.

McKeever attended law school at American University, and moved back to Charlottesville two years ago with her husband and two small boys to a house in the Locust Grove neighborhood.

At a time when City Council is looking at a 12 percent budget increase and spiraling real estate assessments, McKeever stresses her experience as a business owner– she's a partner in Hilton McKeever LLC– who determines business priorities, sets a budget, and frequently cuts the budget.

McKeever's local public service includes co-chairing the Recreation precinct, working on the Community Development Block Grant Task Force, and holding a seat on the Parks and Recreation Board.

The City Council terms of Mayor David Brown, Vice Mayor Kendra Hamilton, and Kevin Lynch are up this year. Hamilton has already said she won't seek a second term. Expect upcoming announcements from Brown, who first was elected in 2004, and Lynch, who finishes two four-year terms on Council this year.