Late Wednesday night, Harrisonburg’s Planning Commission voted to recommend the updated version of the city’s Comprehensive Plan to the City Council. The Commission’s unanimous vote signaled the penultimate stage in a process that has been nearly two and a half years in the making.
The five city council candidates tried Wednesday evening to appeal to bloc of potential voters that often eludes them—especially in midterm election years. But even the students who showed up to the Traveling Town Hall stop at JMU’s Grace Street Apartments weren’t exactly sure, at least at first, how the city council affects them.
Phillip Wong, a junior psychology major, was one of the few students to ask any questions of the council candidates: Democrats Chris Jones and Sal Romero Jr. and independents Carolyn Frank, Frank McMillan and Paloma Saucedo. The five are vying for two spots on the council.
Facing more than 40 JMU students in Eagle Hall’s common room Wednesday evening, Republican U.S. Senate candidate Corey Stewart offered a brief pitch, then opened it up for students to throw it right back at him.
“No softballs,” he said.
Kelly Ryan, a freshman political science major, obliged. She asked Stewart about his call for blocking federal funding to Planned Parenthood.
Since single-stream trash and recycling service abruptly stopped last spring, Harrisonburg officials have examined how to best spend taxpayer dollars for waste collection and recycling. For now, Patel said, an employee-managed recycling collection center is the best option, and there is no plan to bring curbside pick-up back to the city anytime soon.
Instead, the city is trying to figure out how to expand voluntary collection options.
You hear about the local food movement and buy fresh buy local, but can you put a figure on the local food economy in our area? Nearly all of the restaurants in downtown Harrisonburg source locally grown food for ingredients on their menus. Harrisonburg City Schools have a $100,000 budget for locally purchased foods for school meals that come from within 100 miles of the city. Andrea Early, executive director of school nutrition for Harrisonburg’s schools, says that serving local foods helps kids make that connection between the food and who grows it. She hopes that by educating kids about healthy eating they will make healthier choices as adults.
Saturday’s city council immigrant forum revealed a philosophical gap between the five candidates – not necessarily over political ideology – but more broadly in how they view the relationship between government and citizens. The candidates, who are vying for two seats in the Nov. 6 election, also differed over the council’s ability to actually affect certain issues, including access to health care and federal immigration policy.
In traveling town hall, candidates seek to appeal to JMU students – an untapped well of mid-term voters
Instead of only hoping JMU students show up to vote in the Nov. 6 Election, many of the candidates in the biggest races affecting Harrisonburg will bring their campaigns to JMU students on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
Candidates or representatives from Virginia’s U.S. Senate race, the open 6th Congressional District contest and those running for the two spots on Harrisonburg city council will embark on an old fashion barnstorming tour by bus – bus-storming? – to three JMU residence hall areas. It’s being billed as a Traveling Town Hall complete with free pizza and the candidates’ best talking points. Each candidate will have between five and seven minutes to address the audience of first-time or relatively new voters.