The first Election Day in Virginia after the 2016 Presidential Election was an undoubtable victory for the Democratic party across state and local legislatures nationwide. But Charlottesville residents need look no further than our own city council to see the change firsthand.
Independent candidate Nikuyah Walker and Democrat Heather Hill are the City Council’s two new members-elect. With all 10 precincts reporting, Walker came out on top with 29 percent of the votes while Hill received a little more than 28 percent of the vote to take the second open seat on council. In total, Walker won 7,906 votes and Hill received 7,752.
Nikuyah Walker’s victory is the first time an Independent candidate has won a spot on the Charlottesville’s City Council since 1960. Her campaign was focused on affordable housing, local government transparency and addressing racial inequality in the Charlottesville community, especially amidst the recent national spotlight. She is currently employed by the Charlottesville Parks and Recreation Department and earned a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science in 2004 from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her campaign as of October 26th, according to data from the Virginia Public Access Project.
Heather Hill has served as the president of the North Downtown Resident’s Association and as a member of the Belmont Bridge Steering Committee. Hill focused her narrative around similar themes of transparency and accountability in local government, economic progress and community equity, but also safety and infrastructure. Hill’s campaign raised a total of $37,838 as of October 26th, VPAP.
“I’ve been talking about this positive shift that we need to have in Charlottesville, and I think that this is it,” said Walker in an interview with local press. “So that’s it – I love y’all, I love y’all…I just appreciate the trust and do not forget that it’s a team…not just Nikuyah.”
“I am certainly ready to take on being a leader in this community, I think it’s a time for us to come together and I am ready to take on that challenge,” said Hill.
The Democrat’s victory was bittersweet as Heather Hill won the second spot for city council but Amy Laufer, the other Democratic candidate, fell short at third place. She came in a narrow 55 votes behind Hill.