Brandon Bushnell has yet to make a formal announcement but as we chatted at Mill Mountain Coffee and Tea Friday his energy became evident. He prefers being called a “progressive” candidate. At age 22 Bushnell fits in with the politically active youth that shun the restrictive party label.
He says that the hot-button social issues are not the right priority that politicians should be focusing on. “They are issues to get folks elected and gain partisan superiority.” He believes it is a way to avoid addressing the issues of the common people. Economic and education issues should be a politician’s priorities. Bushnell’s overall philosophy may influence him as he addresses issues at the local level.
He transferred Virginia Western Community College credits towards completion of an online Bachelor of Science in Library and Information Science with the University of Maine at Augusta. His goal is to become a Medical Librarian.
Bushnell currently lives in the Wasena neighborhood of Roanoke City. He worked four years for the Roanoke Valley Library System. He was Head of Circulation at the Carilion Health Science Library System, and is now the Librarian at Miller-Motte Technical College in Roanoke.
A few more “just in case extra” signatures on his petitions and he’ll be ready to file. The deadline is not until March 6 for Independent candidates.
He says he takes his faith seriously. He is a worship associate at the Unitarian Universalist Church where he serves on board of directors and co-teaches one of the church’s religious education programs.
Bushnell says he likes to learn things and reads textbooks on anything that catches his interest.
He will be running a financially modest campaign without a party machine behind him. “I think it’s very unfortunate what I already know about the influx of money in this election. Philosophically that is something I don’t agree with,” he said.
Bushnell plans small fundraising events like house parties and dinner events. He has no expectations of receiving thousands of dollars like the candidates from South Roanoke with party connections.
He says it is “irresponsible to let the meals tax sunset. Council is touting the line that “a deal is a deal,” he said. “Lately they’ve been really ramping up their language saying the schools are fine with this little cushion.” Bushnell says that it is clear that the extra two-cent tax had no negative effect on business.
Financial presentations by Roanoke’s director of finance, Ann Shawver shows an increase in 1.7% in fiscal year 2011 regardless of the added two-cent tax. The tax was target for the city schools and will end in July. The Roanoke City School Board said they would use their $12 million nest egg for a 1% teacher pay raise and step increase.
Though there is a cushion Bushnell fears that state funding for education will again be cut. “In terms of competition in salary we are becoming less competitive with other school districts,” said Bushnell. Losing quality teachers translates to a lower quality education. “If we’re not careful about the quality of education that we have here it will translate to other problems we have in the city.”
His grandmother as a real estate agent equated the degradation of the quality of education with lower property values. “There is a relationship between the two,” he said. City revenue suffers along with city homeowners. “It’s a vicious cycle,” said Bushnell.
His campaign slogan will be “Uniting the Star City.”
Posted By Valerie Garner
Categories: Election 2012, Elections, Politics, Roanoke City Politics
Tags: Council_elections, Election 2012, Elections, Independent