The Jefferson Area Tea Party invited all eight of the Charlottesville City Council candidates to attend a candidate forum at the Hibachi Grill in Charlottesville on August 26. I attended the forum to see how engaged the local Tea Party group might be in supporting candidates in the upcoming election while enjoying the Chinese Dinner Buffet. Four of the five Independent candidates attended - Bob Fenwick, Brandon Collins, Paul Long and Scott Bandy. Each candidate presented a five minute opening statement about their candidacy and participated in a question and answer session for about one hour.
Tea Party members in attendance listened intently to each candidate and asked a broad range of questions of the candidates. But, will the Tea Party as a group or its members actively support any of the candidates in the council election? If the Tea Party wants to be an influence in local government it seems to me that they should should back one or more of the candidates in the field.
As a political observer, it appears to me that candidates opposing the overly expensive Water Supply Plan would be consistent with the fiscal conservatism of the Tea Party principles. I am interested to see if support for those candidates will emerge. Is it possible that Tea Party voters will support Dede Smith from the Democratic Party and Bob Fenwick and possibly another of the independent candidates who support dredging of the Rivanna Reservior first and repair (and possible expansion) of the existing Ragged Mountain Dam as necessary Water Plan option.
None of the Democratic Council Nominees were present at the forum, but I hope the Tea Party members will consider how their positions may or may not resonate with the Tea Party principles.
With no clear Tea Party affiliated candidate in the race many voters may simply opt not to vote. But voting is the best way to influence who the members of the new council will be.
I will be watching to see if the Tea Party chooses to participate in the city council campaign in any significant way. This looks like the "think globally - act locally" concept applies.