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May 11, 2009

Albemarle Democrats nominate Madison Cummings for Samuel Miller District

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By Sean Tubbs
Charlottesville Tomorrow
Monday, May 11, 2009

20090511-cummings
Madison Cummings has been nominated as the Democratic candidate for Albemarle County’s Samuel Miller District. Cummings defeated Lucia Phinney at the County Party’s Caucus on Monday, May 11, 2009 with 69 votes to Phinney’s 48 votes. Cummings will face Independent John Lowry in the general election to replace outgoing Supervisor Sally Thomas.

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Supervisor David Slutzky received the party’s nomination in his quest to win a second term representing the Rio District. He will face Republican Rodney Thomas this fall. In his acceptance speech, Slutzky called upon the party to unify around whoever was selected to represent the Samuel Miller District.

“I’m going to sorely miss Sally, but I gotta tell you, I am ecstatic at the prospect of serving with either of the two candidates,” Slutzky said. “Whatever the outcome, I hope everyone in this room puts all of their enthusiasm and energy behind the victor so that we can go on and have a Democrat for the first time in a very long time represent the Samuel Miller District.” Thomas was first elected in 1993 as a write-in candidate and won re-election three times as an Independent.

One hundred and seventeen people from the Samuel Miller District attended the caucus in order to choose between Cummings and Phinney. In his introduction to Cummings, former School Board Chairman Gordon Walker said Cummings has demonstrated his ability to serve the district through his many years of experience in public service, including eight years on the School Board.

“This is particularly important when seeking productive partnerships with the City Council,” Walker said. In addition, Walker said Cummings’ service as chair and member of the Charlottesville/Albemarle Commission on Children and Families demonstrates his commitment to helping the less fortunate.

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Residents of the Samuel Miller District choose their nominee during the caucus

In his introductory speech before receiving the nomination, Cummings said he has provided over three decades of public service to the County which have prepared him to be a community leader. He then turned to issues that he’ll likely be called upon to address if elected.

“I favor the water plan as it’s presently constituted,” Cummings said. “I went to many of the meetings before the plan was voted upon by the Board of Supervisors… I think there are maybe some things we need to talk about with the City but with my experience in working with the City on various boards I will be able to help… the Board of Supervisors.”

Cummings also said the County faces many transportation challenges, and he called for the completion of the Meadowcreek Parkway. He also said he is committed to supporting County efforts to reduce pollutants that enter the watershed and eventually the Chesapeake Bay. He concluded his remarks by addressing Sally Thomas’ 16 years of service, and pledged to emulate what he claimed was her position on County growth.

“We need to continue to maintain reasonable but not rampant growth,” Cummings said.

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Lucia Phinney

Lucia Phinney, a faculty member of the School of the Architecture at the University of Virginia, used her nomination speech to call for the hiring of a County employee to boost efforts to sell locally-produced food, maintaining a volunteer fire and rescue service, and increased use of rainwater harvesting to reduce the reliance on the public water supply.

Shortly after Cummings was selected as the nominee, he asked Phinney to serve on his campaign committee. Phinney accepted, and said she would continue to work to advance issues she feels are important to the County.

Republican candidates have until 6:00 PM Tuesday, May 12, 2009, to pre-qualify for the Republican nomination.  County Republicans will have their caucus on May 26, 2009.  John Lowry is so far running as an independent.

See Charlottesville Tomorrow's Election Watch page for complete coverage of the County's 2009 elections.

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