Updated at 9:09 p.m.
Two men active in progressive politics will announce on Tuesday their candidacies as Democrats for Charlottesville City Council.
Don Gathers and Michael Payne said in a joint news release that they will make their announcement at a campaign launch party at 5 p.m. at Kardinal Hall, 722 Preston Ave. They plan to run in the June 11 city Democratic primary election.
Three seats on the five-member panel are up for grabs in the November election. Democrats Kathy Galvin, Wes Bellamy and Mike Signer have not announced plans for re-election to four-year terms.
Gathers, 59, is a member of the city’s initial Police Civilian Review Board and has served on numerous city committees, including the Charlottesville Blue Ribbon Commission on Race, Memorials, and Public Spaces. A deacon at First Baptist Church, he is a member of the Charlottesville Clergy Collective and Congregate Charlottesville political action groups. He’s also a co-founder of Charlottesville Black Lives Matter.
“The toxicity that permeates our city cannot continue,” Gathers said in the release. “Charlottesville needs healing. We need leaders driven towards unification and inclusion. We need to figure out viable, reasonable solutions to our problems.”
Gathers is a Richmond native and front office manager at the Graduate Hotel on West Main Street.
Payne, 26, has represented Habitat Virginia on statewide affordable housing issues and volunteers with the Charlottesville Low-Income Housing Coalition. He has been involved with several Democratic campaigns, including Tom Perriello’s 2010 congressional run and several House of Delegates campaigns. He co-founded Indivisible Charlottesville, a progressive political action organization, and is a former co-chair of the Charlottesville Democratic Socialists of America.
Payne grew up in Albemarle County and graduated from Albemarle High School. He moved to the city after graduating from the College of William & Mary in 2015 with a degree in government.
Payne said he has the community relationships, skills and commitment to serve on the council.
“We are living through a pivotal moment in the history of our city,” Payne said in the release. “City Council needs bold leadership to create more affordable housing, confront racial injustice, and uplift working families. We can bring that leadership to City Council by uniting our local community around solutions to these and other problems facing Charlottesville.”
During public comment time at Monday’s council meeting, Payne advocated for the city’s Capital Improvement Program to include $80 million for affordable housing and $50 million for redevelopment of low-income homes.
Payne and Gathers have created a political action committee called Progressives for Cville that had $95.28 at the end of September, according to campaign finance reports.
No other candidates had announced their campaigns as of Monday.