Opportunity? Republicans find two candidates
Minority-party Republicans in Charlottesville always have a hard time scraping up candidates to run for City Council, and this year was no exception. Only hours before the February 9 convention, they found a second candidate to join already committed Kenneth Jackson in challenging the perennially powerful Dems.
"It was difficult," says local party chair Bob Hodous. It took some persuasion for him and City Councilor Rob Schilling to talk Ann Reinicke (rhymes with Meineke muffler), into running.
"Yesterday," says Reinicke the day after the convention, "I was prepared to tell them no. But two desperate men– how could I say no?"
Reinicke, 50, works for human resources at UVA, her second career after 18 years as a nurse at the UVA Medical Center.
She's a newcomer both to politics and to the city limits, and one of her concerns about running was "not being the politically savvy person they needed."
But one thing she noticed when she moved from Albemarle County into the Democrat-dominated city was at the polls. "The first time I voted, I had no choices," she says. "That's one of my driving factors."
Jackson, 37, is a Charlottesville native who's been unable to get City Council to appoint him to the School Board in two tries.
"It's time for a change, and change starts at the head of the snake," says the fiscally conservative Jackson. "It takes a lot of time to run, and I do have the time to invest."
Jackson, a restaurant manager for 16 years who is currently on disability, works as a cook at the Schnitzelhouse.
At the Democratic convention, the Meadowcreek Parkway was the big issue. Will that play out in the general election?
"Meadowcreek is a big issue because the Democrats won't let it go," says Hodous. "It's one aspect of how they treat infrastructure. There are some neighborhoods in Belmont that don't have sidewalks, while they're putting bricks around Court Square."
Reinicke says she was disheartened by the Dems' decision to ditch two-term incumbent Meredith Richards. "Meredith had a very reasonable voice. I can't say I agree with all her votes, but I respected her willingness to listen," she says.
Still, some think Richards' ouster could be a plus for the Republicans. "I hope so," says Reinicke.
The election is May 4.
PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO
PHOTO BY JEN FARIELLO