Nikuyah Walker

From Cvillepedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Nikuyah Walker (I)
2018-Nikuyah Walker.jpeg
City's official photo, 2018

Electoral District At-large (elected)
Term Start January 1, 2018
Term End December 31, 2021
Preceded by Bob Fenwick (D)
Succeeded by Juandiego R. Wade (D)

Electoral District City Council (elected)
Term Start January 2, 2020
Term End December 31, 2021
Preceded by Nikuyah Walker (I)
Succeeded by Lloyd Snook (D)

Electoral District City Council (elected)
Term Start January 2, 2018
Term End December 31, 2019
Preceded by Mike Signer (D)
Succeeded by Nikuyah Walker (I)

Biographical Information

Date of birth January 17, 1980
Age 44
Place of birth City of Charlottesville
Children 3
Residence Belmont neighborhood
Alma mater Charlottesville High School (1998)
Virginia Commonwealth University B.A. in Political Science (2004)
Profession Civil servant (Parks and Recreation - Rec Aide)
Campaign $ VPAP
Contributions $ VPAP

Nikuyah R. Walker (born 1980) is a city employee, a social justice advocate and former two-term appointed president (mayor) of the Charlottesville City Council (2018 – 2021). Since 1922, the city council has chosen one of their own to serve as president of the council and ceremonial mayor for two years.

Elected to the five-member Charlottesville City Council in the 2017 election, Walker set the record number of votes received by any one candidate in city history. Running as an Independent candidate in the general election, she became the first Black woman to be mayor of Charlottesville on January 2, 2018, after being elected president of the council by her council peers – all Democrats. Walker came to power five months after the Unite the Right rally that took place in Charlottesville from August 11–12, 2017.

After signalling she would seek re-election for a second term on the council, Walker dropped out of the race on September 8, 2021. [1] [2]

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.

Political career

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.[3] She is the first black woman to be mayor in a city where African-Americans are one-fifth of the population.[4]

2021 election

During a Facebook Live event on February 20, 2020, Walker announced she would seek a second term on the city council. [5] However, she stayed silent about her plans for 2021 until saying on May 21, 2021 that she would run again. [6] [7]

Candidates Votes %
Juandiego Wade (D) 11,730 42.51
Brian Pinkston (D) 10,161 36.82
Yasmine Washington (I) 3,482 12.62
Nikuyah Walker (I) 1,928 6.99
Write-In 292 1.06
Source: Virginia State Board of Elections[8]

Voters could cast two votes, one for each of the two seats available, hence the percentages do not total 100%. Walker withdrew from the race but was still listed on the ballot

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.

2017 election

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%. [9] 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.[10] (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.)

Candidates Votes %
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
Write-In 95 na

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. [11] Walker announced her candidacy on March 14, 2017. [12] 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. [13]

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.[14]

  • Listen to concerns and act to fix problems.[15]
  • Improve the coordination of traffic lights.[16]
  • Concerned that subsidized units at Friendship Court will disappear as the Piedmont Housing Alliance redevelops that property. [17]
  • 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.”[18]

Quote from campaign announcement

“Unmask the illusion” [19]
"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[20] “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.”[21]

Top campaign donors

Based on Virginia Department of Elections data from campaign finance reports.[22]

Contributions Received Since 2017: $26,586[23] Walker currently has a balance of $90.40 remaining in her campaign account, according to her last finance disclosure filed on January 3, 2021.[24]

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.

Charlottesville City Council (2018-2019)

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.

Charlottesville City Council (2020-2021)

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.

Payne v. City of Charlottesville

“The team in the City Attorney’s office did an amazing job; this court decision will positively impact so many lives,” said Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker. "I want to express gratitude to Zyahna Bryant, Dr. Wes Bellamy, and Kristin Szakos for igniting the sparks that started this local mini-revolution. We are forever indebted to the community for their steadfastness and perseverance over the past five years. For all of us, who were on the right side of history, Bravo!"[25]

Social networks postings and TV

  • January 15, 2018 - Walker spoke to "The View" about how the city is moving forward after the "Unite the Right" rally in August 2017.
  • August 9, 2018 - Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker discusses President Trump: The mayor, who took office in January, spoke with Face the Nation a year after deadly violence sparked by white supremacists in Charlottesville.
  • 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.” [26] [27]


  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Web. Walker nets $10K donation, largest in City Council race, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, Oct 17, 2017, retrieved Mar 17, 2021.
  4. Web. Charlottesville Debates Civility In The Wake Of White Supremacist Rally : NPR, March 20, 20195:05 AM ET, retrieved February 28, 2021.
  5. 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.
  6. Web. Nikuyah Walker will seek reelection to Charlottesville City Council, Charlotte Rene Woods, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, May 21, 2021, retrieved May 24, 2021.
  7. 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.
  8. Web. [ 2021 November General Results - Albemarle County], Virginia Department of Elections, November 17, 2021, retrieved November 17, 2021.
  9. Web. First Independent since 1948 win election to Charlottesville City Council, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, November 7, 2017, retrieved November 8, 2017.
  10. 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.
  11. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, January 4, 2016.
  12. Web. Walker seeks independent bid for Charlottesville City Council, Sean Tubbs, News Article, Charlottesville Tomorrow, March 14, 2017, retrieved March 17, 2017.
  13. 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.
  20. Web. Emails show Walker's aggressive approach, Chris Suarez, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, Nov 4, 2017, retrieved March 1, 2021.
  21. 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.
  22. Web. Top Donors to Nikuyah Walker,, 2017, retrieved March 16, 2021.
  23. Web. Walker for Charlottesville City Council - Nikuyah,, retrieved March 17, 2021.
  25. Web. Charlottesville Wins Favorable Ruling from Virginia Supreme Court on Statues, City of Charlottesville, retrieved January 31, 2023.
  26. 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.
  27. 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,, PUBLISHED: 10:13 EDT, 25 March 2021 | UPDATED: 12:48 EDT, 25 March 2021, retrieved March 29, 2021.

External Links

Official campaign website