Mayor Nikuyah Walker, ca. 2018
City's official photo
Charlottesville City City Council
|Term Start||January 1, 2018|
|Term End||December 31, 2021|
|Preceded by||Bob Fenwick (D)|
President of the
Charlottesville City Council (2018-2019)
|Electoral District||Elected by and from council|
|Term Start||January 2, 2018|
|Term End||December 31, 2019|
|Preceded by||Mike Signer (D)|
|Succeeded by||Nikuyah Walker (I)|
President of the
Charlottesville City Council (2020-2021)
|Electoral District||Elected by and from council|
|Term Start||January 2, 2020|
|Term End||December 31, 2021|
|Preceded by||Nikuyah Walker (I)|
|Date of birth||January 17, 1980|
|Place of birth||City of Charlottesville|
|Alma mater||Charlottesville High School (class of 1998)
Virginia Commonwealth University (class of 2004)
|Profession||City of Charlottesville, Parks and Recreation - Rec Aide|
Nikuyah Walker (born 1980) is a social justice advocate and currently serving as the mayor of the City of Charlottesville. An independent, Walker’s current term expires on December 31, 2021. She became the city's first female African-American mayor on January 2, 2018 after being elected president of the Charlottesville City Council. The mayor's responsibilities are primarily to preside at council meetings, and act as head of the city for ceremonial purposes.
- 1 Early life and education
- 2 Career
- 3 Political career
- 4 2021 election
- 5 2017 election
- 6 Charlottesville City Council
- 7 Charlottesville City Council (2018-2019)
- 8 Charlottesville City Council (2020-2021)
- 9 Social networks postings
- 10 References
- 11 External Links
Early life and education
Nikuyah Rashelle Walker was born in Charlottesville and attended City of Charlottesville Public Schools. Members of her extended family live in Nelson County. Walker graduated from Charlottesville High School in 1998 and went on to earn a B.A. in Political Science from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2004.
Walker has worked in several non-profits in Charlottesville-as a Substance Abuse Clinician, an HIV Prevention Educator, and a Community Organizer. She is currently employed by the City of Charlottesville in the Charlottesville Department of Parks and Recreation.
Running as an Independent candidate, Walker won one of two open seats on the Charlottesville City Council in the 2017 election, placing first in a six-way race. Walker's campaign received a windfall of $10,000, the largest individual donation in that year’s race. She is the first black woman to be mayor in a city where African-Americans are one-fifth of the population.
During a Facebook Live event on February 20, 2020, Walker announced she would seek a second term on the city council.  However, she stayed silent about her plans for 2021 until saying on May 21, 2021 that she would run again.  
Campaign finance reports
The next campaign filing deadline before the Nov. 2, 2021 election is April 15, 2021. Beginning with the reporting period that started July 1, 2018, all candidates must now file their campaign finance reports electronically with the Virginia Department of Elections. Walker did not turn in a report as she had no campaign activity.
At the municipal election held on November 7, 2017, Nikuyah Walker ran for one of the two open seats on the council as an independent. She won 29.13% of the votes, followed by democrats Heather Hill with 28.57% and Amy Laufer’s 28.36%.  Walker and Hill replaced incumbent Bob Fenwick, who was defeated by Laufer and Hill in the June Democratic primary, and Kristin Szakos, a Democrat who chose not to run for re-election after two terms in office.
Walker set the record number of votes received by any one candidate in city history. According to former Democratic Mayor Dave Norris, who supported Walker’s campaign and encouraged people to vote only for her, it is the first time an independent has been elected to the council since 1948. (Bullet voting, also know as single-shot, is a voting tactic, usually in multiple-winner elections, where a voter is entitled to vote for more than one candidate, but instead votes for only one candidate.)
|Nikuyah Walker (I)||7,906||29.13|
|Heather Hill (D)||7,752||28.57|
|Amy Laufer (D)||7,697||28.36|
|Kenneth Jackson (I)||2,186||8.06|
|Paul Long (I)||804||2.96|
|John Edward Hall (I)||597||2.20|
Voters could cast two votes, one for each of the two seats available, hence the percentages do not total 100%.
Prior to the election, Walker appeared before Council on multiple occasions to bring awareness to inequality in Charlottesville.  Walker announced her candidacy on March 14, 2017.  Walker said she ran at the request of late former City Councilor Holly Edwards. She said she ran to address racial disparities and low-income housing in Charlottesville, as well as create more transparency in the way government agencies are funded by the government. 
Campaign and platform
Walker’s campaign was defined by the issues of affordable housing, local government transparency and addressing racial inequality in the Charlottesville community.
- Listen to concerns and act to fix problems.
- Improve the coordination of traffic lights.
- Concerned that subsidized units at Friendship Court will disappear as the Piedmont Housing Alliance redevelops that property. 
- Councilors have to be respectful of elected officials in other localities. “The county partnership is going to be essential in making sure we fix the issues with housing,” Walker said. “Charlottesville will not be able to fix that issue alone because we do not have the land.”
Quote from campaign announcement
|“Unmask the illusion” |
|"This is a unique time in history and it presents an unprecedented opportunity for Charlottesville to move beyond the illusion of being a progressive, utopian village and roll up its sleeves to restructure and create a community where all citizens are able to thrive. Charlottesville has for too long, hidden behind its physical beauty and lofty intentions. Too many of us have remained unwilling to discuss the duality of this city. While the place is aesthetically charming to the outside observer, it clearly lacks that same appeal on an internal level. Charlottesville is a resource rich community, yet those resources have failed to close wealth, education and health gaps. In an area where the University of Virginia is a blink away and philanthropists --from the Dave Matthews band to local groups and individuals, make generous contributions with hopes that their donations will fuel ongoing positive change, we continue to live in a city that tells a vastly different story depending on the narrators' race and economic status. During years of working in social services and as a social justice advocate, I have witnessed the well-intentioned, genuine efforts of our city's philanthropists become nothing more than a business of maintaining middle and upper middle incomes. Charlottesville's narrative is currently mired in duplicity and muddled in “alternative facts.” Yet, the city is full of capable people with the passion required and the level of commitment necessary to unmask the illusion and change our narrative."|
Candidate Walkers and her supporters called a November 4, 2018 story in the Daily Progress “a hit piece.” The story described an anonymous source in City Hall questioning Walker's ability to “work collaboratively with city officials” and describled her emails to officials as “aggressive” and “often confrontational.”
Top campaign donors
Based on Virginia Department of Elections data from campaign finance reports.
- $10,000 (Sonjia S Smith)
- $1,560 (Dede Smith)
- $500 (Jeff Fogel)
- $500 (Gertrude Ivory)
- $500 (Mary Montgomery)
- Contributions Received Since 2017: $26,586 Walker currently has a balance of $90.40 remaining in her campaign account, according to her last finance disclosure filed on January 3, 2021.
Charlottesville City Council
Walker was sworn into office on December 29, 2017 and took office on January 1, 2018, replacing incumbent Bob Fenwick who lost in the Democratic Primary on June 12, 2017. Walker is the first independent councilor elected to the office of Charlottesville City Council since the 1940’s, when James Barr (IR) was elected in the 1948 election.
Salaries & Compensations
Salary as mayor: (not including fringe benefits) is $20,000, the maximum range allowed under state guidelines. Charlottesville has one of the highest average salaries for council members in Virginia. State code sets salary limits for members of city councils based on population, ranging from $11,000 to $30,000. laws of the Commonwealth.
Political Goals/Priority Issues
Walker’s stated primary goal as a councilor is to help create a city that deserves its World Class designation.
On January 3, 2018, at the first regular meeting of the council after the 2017 election, Walker and Heather Hill, the newest members of the legislative body, were chosen by the five member council to lead the council as president (mayor) and vice president (vice mayor), respectively. Walker was appointed to the following Boards and Commissions: Charlottesville Area Transit (CAT) Advisory Board; Jefferson Area Community Criminal Justice Board; Mobilization for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP); Piedmont Workforce Network (PWN) Council; Planning and Coordination Council (PACC); School Capital Projects; Social Services Advisory Board.
On January 3, 2020, at the first regular meeting of the council after the 2019 election, Walker and Sena Magill (one of three new members of the legislative body), were chosen by the five member council to lead the council as president (mayor) and vice president (vice mayor), respectively.
Social networks postings
- March 24, 2021 - International and national media outlets publish articles about a Facebook post by Mayor Walker that compares the city to a rapist. Walker’s Facebook poem aimed sharp criticism at what she says are the community’s racist elements, writing: “Charlottesville: The beautiful-ugly it is. It rapes you, comforts you in its [graphic word] stained sheet and tells you to keep its secrets.”  
- Web. Walker selected as Charlottesville’s next Mayor after public discussion, Charlottesville Tomorrow, Wednesday, January 3, 2018, at 11:45 AM, retrieved March 28, 2021.
- Web. September 8, 2021: Walker withdraws from election the morning after pressing Council on Brackney termination, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions, September 8, 2021, retrieved September 9, 2021.
- Web. Walker withdraws from re-election campaign following contentious City Council meeting, Ginny Bixby, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, September 9, 2021, retrieved September 9, 2021.
- Web. Walker nets $10K donation, largest in City Council race, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, Oct 17, 2017, retrieved Mar 17, 2021.
- Web. Charlottesville Debates Civility In The Wake Of White Supremacist Rally : NPR, March 20, 20195:05 AM ET, retrieved February 28, 2021.
- Web. Walker announces second run for City Council, Nolan Stout, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, February 21, 2020, retrieved February 25, 2020. Print. February 22, 2020 page A3.
- Web. Nikuyah Walker will seek reelection to Charlottesville City Council, Charlotte Rene Woods, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 21, 2021, retrieved May 24, 2021.
- Web. May 22, 2021: Mayor Walker will seek second term; Three Democrats appear at Martha Jefferson forum, Sean Tubbs, Charlottesville Community Engagement, Town Crier Productions, May 22, 2021, retrieved May 24, 2021.
- Web. First Independent since 1948 win election to Charlottesville City Council, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, November 7, 2017, retrieved November 8, 2017.
- Web. Independent Walker takes most votes in Council election, breaks up Democratic ticket, The Daily Progress staff, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, Nov 7, 2017 Updated Nov 7, 2017, retrieved May 7, 2021.
- Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, January 4, 2016.
- Web. Walker seeks independent bid for Charlottesville City Council, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 14, 2017, retrieved March 17, 2017.
- Web. The unmasker: Nikuyah Walker makes independent bid for City Council, Lisa Provence, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, March 22, 2017, retrieved March 22, 2017.
- Web. Emails show Walker's aggressive approach, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, Nov 4, 2017, retrieved March 1, 2021.
- Web. In brief: ‘Hit piece,’ the unshrouder and more, C-VILLE Writers, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, 6:55 a.m. Nov. 8, 2017, retrieved March 1, 2021.
- Web. Top Donors to Nikuyah Walker, vpap.org, 2017, retrieved March 16, 2021.
- Web. Walker for Charlottesville City Council - Nikuyah, vpap.org, retrieved March 17, 2021.
- Web. Charlottesville mayor compares the city to a rapist, NBC29 Newsroom, March 24, 2021 at 9:25 PM EDT - Updated March 25 at 1:47 PM, retrieved March 29, 2021.
- Web. 'Charlottesville rapes you and covers you in sullied sheets': Mayor of town rocked by white nationalist rally in 2017 sparks outrage online with 'poem' that was censored by Facebook, DailyMail.com, PUBLISHED: 10:13 EDT, 25 March 2021 | UPDATED: 12:48 EDT, 25 March 2021, retrieved March 29, 2021.