By William J. Des Rochers, Fluvanna Field Officer
Surprising many, the Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors reversed a previous decision and opted to create a five member Board of Supervisors in response to redistricting requirements. Previously, the Board opted to advertise a seven member Board, an increase of one from the current six.
Supervisor Joe Chesser (Rivanna) surprised fellow Board members when he announced at the June 15th meeting he had changed his mind and now favored five seats, not seven. Joining Chesser to advertise a five member Board were Supervisors Booker (Fork Union), Gooch (Palmyra), and Kenney (Columbia). Supervisors Weaver (Cunningham) and Fairchild (Rivanna) voted against.
The change will have significant political implications for Fluvanna politics. Supervisor Chris Fairchild lost his seat in the redistricting. Perhaps the second most conservative member of the Board – after Weaver – his departure will make it easier for the Board’s more liberal members to implement their policy objectives.
This assumes of course that the two most liberal members (Booker and Gooch) are reelected in November. Board Chairman Gooch benefits significantly from the reduction to five. Under the seven-seat scenario, his Palmyra district would have been truncated into the northwest corner of the county.
Reportedly, much of the Gooch support in his first campaign came from the southern part of the district, an area he now will retain. Additionally, there are persistent reports that two conservatives may oppose Gooch in the November election, raising the possibility of a split vote among conservatives.
Supervisors will vote on the final redistricting plan at their July 6th meeting and then forward it to the federal Justice Department for approval.
William Des Rochers serves as Free Enterprise Forum’s Fluvanna County Field Officer. The Free Enterprise Forum is a privately funded public policy organization covering Albemarle, Greene, Fluvanna, Louisa and Nelson county as well as the City of Charlottesville. If you find this update helpful, please consider financially supporting these efforts. More information about the organization and how to donate can be found at www.freeenterpriseforum.org