September 10, 2020: Good and Webb have virtual debate; Albemarle prepares for early voting

  
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Today’s Patreon-inspired shout-out is from a supporter who wants to say one more time…  

“Vote. That's it. Just vote. Vote early. Take your friends to vote early. Vote in person. Vote early! Did I already mention that?” And we have a news item on this today!

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Nearly one thousand people registered yesterday for the first and possibly last campaign forum featuring the two candidates for Virginia’s 5th Congressional District. The event was put on by the Senior Statesmen of Virginia, and was held virtually on a Zoom call. The audio is available on the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.

Dr. Cameron Webb is an attorney and physician who works for the University of Virginia Health System and served on the White House Health Care team in both the Obama and Trump administrations. Webb said in his opening statement that his decision to go into politics stems from his wish to heal the community.

“Being a doctor, being a physician, it means that we’re leaning into the issues that make our patients sick, and often times those issues that make them sick, they’re issues related to education, and housing, or food insecurity, challenges with earning a decent wage or having a good paying job, those are the factors that really drive the outcomes in my patients.” Webb said. 

Bob Good has worked in the finance industry, served as an athletic director at Liberty University and has served on the Board of Supervisors in Campbell County outside Lynchburg. In his opening statement, he said he understood what it was like to live in poverty.

“I know what it was like to get free lunch at school, to be in the lunch line with the free lunch voucher if you will and to know what that feels like as a young kid,” Good said. “I know what it’s like to get sent by your mother to walk a mile down the street to the grocery store because we didn’t have a car and to buy groceries with food stamps... I had to work for everything all of my life as long as I can remember and as we struggled for the essentials and we certainly didn’t have any of the extras, so I learned to work at a young age and I think that’s one of the most important things for a young person to do, is to learn to work and to learn the value of things, that has shaped me all of my life.” 

Webb had limited his opening statement to his own biography, but Good opted to go on the attack.

“My opponent is aligned with the radical socialist left that has become much of the Democrat party,” Good said. “If he were elected he would do everything in his power to stop President Trump’s agenda or God forbid enact the Biden/Harris agenda if President Trump was not reelected.” 

In response, Webb cited a string of endorsements.

“I’m proud that I am endorsed by the entire span of the Democratic party,” Webb said. Moderates, centrists and also progressives that shows my ability to build consensus. The reason why I have members of the current Trump administration still acknowledge all that I contributed and how I think that I am a pretty awesome guy.”

 The audio is available on the Charlottesville Podcasting Network.

Early voting in Virginia begins next Friday and the Albemarle Board of Supervisors got an update this week on what the process will be like. The General Assembly passed a law in 2019 allowing anyone to vote absentee in advance without an excuse. The law was amended this year to open up the window to 45 days before the election. Localities must offer the ability for people to vote at the registrar’s office. Lance Stewart, the director of facilities and environmental services in Albemarle, said the county is working to make early voting safe. 

“We have state mandates to follow in relation to protection of citizens and others from COVID-19,” Stewart said. “We have our own local ordinance and there are a slew of best practice recommendations from the state and the CDC that we are going to try to observe.”

Early voting in Albemarle will be at the county office building on 5th Street Extended. Earlier this year, the county had considered moving the registrar’s office to a more central location on U.S. 29, but the plan was reconsidered soon after the pandemic began.  Stewart said the county is encouraging people to vote by mail in order to limit crowds. 

“We don’t know the exact volume that we might get from this early voting opportunity,” Stewart said. “Predictions were that they might be significant with as many as 60 percent of people who vote.”  

Steps taken include dedicating parking spaces for voting, creating a way for people to move through the office building without passing each other, and expanded hours closer to Election Day. 

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The Virginia Department of Health reports another 1,236 cases of COVID-19 today, and another 11 deaths. The seven-day average of positive tests is at 7.6 percent today. There are another 28 new cases in the Thomas Jefferson Health District with half from Charlottesville. The seven-day average for TJHD has dropped to 5.8 percent

The University of Virginia reported another 26 cases on September 8, with 24 of those students. That brings the total to 257 positive cases since August 17, with 214 of those students. Five percent of quarantine beds are in use, as are one percent of the isolation beds set aside. 

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Tonight is the night of the Charlottesville Business Innovation Council’s Gala, happening around virtual tables in a virtual gathering space. CBIC helps promote and advocate the technology community in the area, and tonight the annual awards will finally be handed out at the gala.

Craig Honick, the incoming chair of CBIC, explains why they decided to hold the event electronically rather than postpone until safer times. 

“We just felt this really important part of our function is to celebrate local businesses that are stand-outs and we didn’t want that to get interrupted,” Honick said. “We had done the voting in preparation for the May gala and then instead of canceling it we decided to move it to the fall.”

Honick said tonight’s event offers a chance for people to get involved with the tech community by watching the awards being handed out. Usually there are about 400 attendees, but the audience tonight could be larger. 

“The event is free,” Honick said. “There’s an opportunity to make a donation to the organization if you’d like to support but anyone can attend. They just have to register.”  (learn more and register