Candidates Forum: Albemarle County Board of Supervisors

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

On October 14th, the Senior Statesmen of Virginia and the Charlottesville Senior Center cosponsored a candidates forum featuring the candidates for the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors: Jack Jouett District: incumbent Dennis Rooker (I); Rio District: incumbent David Slutzky (D), and challenger Rodney Thomas (R); Samuel Miller District: Madison Cummings (D), John Lowry (I), and Duane Snow (R). The candidates made brief statements of their positions on various issues following which the session was opened for questions from the attendees. SSV board member Jim Perkins moderated the event.

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Jack Jouett Magisterial District

Dennis Rooker

Dennis Rooker (Independent) is the incumbent supervisor representing the Jack Juett Magisterial District. Dennis Rooker has lived in Albemarle County for forty years and presently lives in Roslyn Ridge with his wife, Ann. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. Dennis has a B.A. in Economics and a Juris Doctor, both from UVA. He has been a practicing attorney and businessman in this area for 33 years and has owned and operated law, media, real estate and venture capital businesses.

Dennis has served on the Board of Supervisors for 7 years (2 years as chair), four years on the Planning Commission (2 years as chair), the area’s transportation board (MPO) for 7 years, and numerous other boards and committees over the past twenty years including the Planning and Coordination Council for Albemarle County, Albemarle County’s Audi Committee, South Fork Rivanna Reservoir Stewardship Task Force, Transfer of Development Rights Committee, Meadowcreek Parkway Design Advisory Committee, and the Charlottesville-Albemarle Transportation Funding Committee.

Rio Magisterial District

David Slutzky

David Slutzky (Democrat) is the incumbent supervisor representing the Rio Magisterial District. David’s passion for Albemarle County is readily apparent from his significant community involvement. As a member of the Board of Supervisors for the last three and a half years, he has immersed himself in the complex issues facing Albemarle and has applied his expertise on subjects from transportation solutions to spearheading new initiatives to protect the rural areas of the County. David is also the Chairman of the Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), serving as such for the past three years. Because of his experience and commitment to finding smart, realistic solutions, he has earned the respect of Albemarle residents from across the political spectrum. His record shows a commitment to doing what is right for the County, not what is politically easiest or most popular.

David has decades of experience in both the public service sector and as the manager of a small business. He and Melissa founded the environmental and economic policy firm, E2Inc., that has grown to employ over forty professionals here in Charlottesville. As a recognized expert on environmental policy issues, David served in the White House as a Senior Policy Advisor, where he led the International Task Force of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. David deeply believes in environmental sustainability and has incorporated this into his private life: he is a proud owner of an electric truck. Additionally, he is a part-time Urban and Environmental Planning Professor at the University of Virginia. He cherishes his role as an educator in the community and enjoys building relationships with his students.

David received his bachelors’ degree from the University of Chicago and his environmental law degree from the Chicago-Kent College of Law. Then he and his wife Melissa were ready to raise their family, they made their home in Albemarle, where they have lived for the past few decades. David and Melissa have three grown children: Briana, Rebecca, and Isaac. David also recently became a grandfather to an adorable little baby boy-Briana and her husband’s son, Phinneas.

Rodney Thomas

Rodney Thomas (Republican) is a candidate for supervisor for the Rio Magisterial District. A lifelong resident of Albemarle County, Rodney is well aware of the issues facing the Rio community. Rodney began working locally for The Daily Progress. When the Vietnam conflict escalated he was drafted into the United States Army and served one tour before being honorably discharged. Upon his return home Rodney continued his career in the print industry and by 1979 Rodney was able to purchase Charlottesville Press, Inc., a family owned print shop which he still operates today.

As a small business owner in Albemarle County for 30 years, Rodney understands the issues facing the local business community. Yet he is also aware of the important role local organizations play. Serving as an active board member of the Boys and Girls Club, YMCA, Crime Stoppers, and Charlottesville Host Lion’s Club, Rodney has worked to improve the quality of life in Albemarle. Rodney brought this same mission of service to the Albemarle County Planning Commission in 1998, where he served the Rio District until 2006.

Rodney and his wife Nancy moved to Carrsbrook 36 years ago and still live there today. Their two children, Rod and Ashley, now have families of their own and the eight grandchildren enjoy spending time with Rodney and Nancy whenever they can.

Samuel Miller Magisterial District

Madison Cummings

Madison Cummings (Democrat) is a candidate for supervisor for the Samuel Miller Magisterial District. Madison Cummings has lived in Central Virginia for the last 39 years, 31 of those years in North Garden. He served as a staff and senior pharmacist at UVA Hospital from 1970 until he retired in 2004. His wife Pat taught in Albemarle County schools for 37 years. All three of their children were educated in Albemarle County schools and two of their children continue to live in Albemarle County.

Madison has served Albemarle County in many capacities during those years. Early on when his children were young, Madison was involved in building playgrounds at Red Hill Elementary, coaching soccer and baseball, and serving as president of Red Hill PTO (1988-89) and as a member of the Blue Ribbon Commission for Albemarle County Education in the 21st Century (1990-91). In 1994, he was appointed by Sally Thomas to the Albemarle County School Board and was elected for a second term in 1997. He has been a member of Albemarle County School’s Health Advisory Committee for 4 years.

From 2002 to 2008 Madison was a member of the Charlotttesville Albemarle Commission on Children and Families. He has been a member of the Cove Garden Ruritan for 25 years; has served on the African-American Teaching Fellows Board and participates in the Community University Research and Service Partnership.

Madison has been a member of the Democratic Party Steering Committee as Chair for the Samuel Miller District the last 5 years. He continues to advocate for bipartisan cooperation as when he served on the Albemarle County School Board.

John Lowry

John Lowry (Independent) is a candidate for supervisor for the Samuel Miller Magisterial District. John moved to the area in 1970. He graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1969. John met his wife, Nancy Feil, of Charlottesville at W&M. They have three children and four grandchildren.

Currently retired, his last employment was with Old Dominion Capital Management as an Investment Counselor. Prior to that he worked for Wachovia Securities and its predecessors from 1976- 2007. He was among those who opened the office of Wheat First Securities on the downtown Mall in May1976. In the summer of 1976 he played in the 14th Virginia Fife and Drum Corps for the Queen of England and the President of the U S at Monticello. He taught investments at Piedmont Virginia Community College for ten years. John co-founded the adult SOCA League and founded the Stock and Board club for fellow professionals. While serving on the joint Airport Board the new terminal was built. He has been chair of the Board of the Oratorio Society and the Charlottesville & University Symphony. He is the current chair of the Albemarle Economic Development Authority. He is a recent graduate of the Sorenson Institute for political candidates.

Duane Snow

Duane Snow (Republican) is a candidate for supervisor for the Samuel Miller Magisterial District. Duane was born and raised in Charlottesville and has been married to Rena Snow for 42 years. They have five children, all of whom attended Albemarle County Schools. He and Rena are the proud grandparents of 12 grandchildren.

Duane was the CEO and president of Snow’s Garden Center for 35 years. He was a former instructor at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Gardening and Landscaping classes.

He served on the Albemarle County Architectural Review Board and 10 years with the Virginia State Agricultural Council. Duane is the past president of the Charlottesville Rotary Club and is a Paul Harris Fellow.

Duane hosted for 35 years the longest running radio gardening show in the nation. He previously served on the board of the American Heart Association and the Boy Scouts of America Committee. He is a committed church and community leader.