Mike Releases Statement on Primary Victory

We did it! In the Democratic primary on Tuesday night for Charlottesville’s City Council, I received 1,855 votes for one of three Democratic slots for the general election this November. That was the second-highest vote total and the result of personally reaching out to over 2,000 voters through countless hours knocking on doors and making phone calls. But the victory also depended on the work of an extraordinary team that came together around our message of “One Charlottesville.” I have many people to thank.

I first thank the other candidates. I’m looking forward to working alongside my fellow nominees Kathy Galvin and Wes Bellamy, and I honor the service and dedication of Dede Smith and Lena Seville.

I’m grateful to my amazing wife, Emily Blout, for her incredible vision and support throughout the whole campaign.

I want to thank Maggie Thornton, my extraordinary campaign manager, who put together a smart and aggressive campaign plan and stuck to it; former Mayor Tom Vandever, the chair of the campaign, for his wisdom and savvy in guiding a campaign from scratch; former Vice Mayor Kay Slaughter and former School Board Chair Juandiego Wade, the campaign's vice-chairs, for their loyalty and leadership in crucial areas from the environment to education; Susan Payne, our communications director, for her skill in crafting and sharing our message; Heather Danforth Hill, our field director, for incredible work in keeping us at the doors and on the phones; David Jonas, our policy director, for helping craft and guide substantive and innovative policy ideas; Ashleigh Crocker, our treasurer, for helping us put together a well-financed campaign with the largest number of Charlottesville donors; Todd Free, our webmaster, for a phenomenal, vibrant website; Lionèl Dripps and the Pivot Group, who designed smart and effective direct mail; Forrest and Zaynah Pando of Pando Creative for a great TV ad; and key volunteers Wendy Brown for her guidance on business issues; Charlie Gilliam for his deft touch with voters, and Richard Imlay for cheerfully spending hundreds of hours with me canvassing.

I also thank the over 100 donors who invested in me and the campaign; the dozens of friends (both new and old) who held neighborhood house parties for the campaign; and the hundreds of people who welcomed me into their homes during four months of being interrupted during their dinners or football games. As a new member of City Council, I’m going to work very hard to serve you and to work together on the ongoing project of One Charlottesville.

Kathy, Wes, and I will soon be putting together a coordinated campaign, but if you have suggestions for me, don’t ever hesitate to contact me at mike@mikesigner.com.

Thank you again!


Signer Touts Experience, Engagement Ahead of City Council Primary

The Daily Progress put up their profile of Mike today.

“My life here is very local,” he said. “I spend most of my time thinking about what happens here. I do it because I love living here in this community. My wife and I are trying everything we can to make it an even better place to live — that’s why I want to run for City Council.”

Read the entire piece here.

Mike to Release Education Plan

On Thursday, May 28 at 12:15 p.m., Mike will release his education plan on the Commerce Street steps of the Jefferson School. Check this space for particulars then. In the meantime, know that on Council, Mike will work with the School Board to:

➢ Get digital learning right through technology best practices

➢ Fight against “data myopia” by finding the right testing balance

➢ Help with teachers’ professional development

➢ Ensure we challenge students by reconsidering “tracks” and “levels”

➢ Emphasize early education

Mike Releases Solutions Instead of Studies Framework

According to NBC29, City Council has spent nearly $800,000 on studies in the past two years. On Friday, Mike released his framework to avoid this spending and use local talent. Mike outlined five principles that will guide his work at a Councilor when considering studies:

1. Avoid studies that might delay or substitute for a solution
2. Avoid studies if the advice can be generated by staff
3. Where possible, obtain volunteer local expert advice
4. Where possible, update prior studies rather than authorize new ones
5. All things being equal, choose pilot projects rather than studies

You can read the entire framework here. The framework also caught the eye of local media and was covered by the following outlets:

Charlottesville Newsplex


Mike to Announce Comprehensive Greener City Plan Monday

At 11:30 a.m. on Monday, May 18 at Riverview Park, Charlottesville City Council candidate Mike Signer (www.mikesigner.com) will release his strategy to protect and promote the environment in Charlottesville. 

Signer developed his plan through one of his campaign’s regular “Solutions Sessions” held with local stakeholders, including leaders in conservation law, river protection, the promotion of trees, and sustainable planning.  At the event, Signer will be introduced by former Charlottesville Mayor and longtime environmental leader Kay Slaughter.  He will make brief remarks, present the plan, and take questions. 

Signer’s first experience as a progressive activist was founding the environmental club at his public high school in Arlington, Virginia, after attending Al Gore’s Earth Day in 1989.  He has been an ardent environmentalist ever since then. 

Signer’s “Greener City” strategy will emphasize the planting of street trees, the Rivanna River, financing clean energy improvement, better design guidelines, increasing energy efficiency, and supporting bikes and walking.  Signer said, “Our beautiful natural environment is one of the pillars of Charlottesville, and an even healthier and more sustainable environment will benefit everyone—from our kids to our low-income residents to our senior citizens. On City Council, I will work with City staff and stakeholders on these steps to make Charlottesville an even greener city.”  

Please contact Maggie Thornton to RSVP and with any questions at maggie@mikesigner.com.

Mike Discusses Supporting Minority-Owned Businesses on West Main

As a part of the NAACP/Piedmont Association of Housing Resident Candidate Forum, Mike continued to discuss his vision for One Charlottesville that supports all residents.

Mike told the crowd about his City of Opportunity strategy, including bringing more private-sector jobs to those without college degrees through more targeted workforce development.  He also addressed concerns about developments like “the Flats” on West Main Street, saying, “I’ve heard from residents of Fifeville, Starr Hill and elsewhere that [West Main] is not a welcoming corridor.  We need more minority-owned businesses on West Main Street, we need it to reflect the surrounding neighborhoods and not just be a canyon of glittering boutiques where they don’t feel welcome.”

See more coverage below:

Charlottesville Newsplex

C'ville Tomorrow

The Daily Progress

NBC 29



Mike Releases "City of Opportunity" economic strategy

After an exciting week of innovation at Charlottesville's Tom Tom Founders' Festival, Mike released his plans to create more economic opportunity in the city. Mike's strategy emphasizes the importance of leadership and bridging silos within City government on economic development.

You can see the full plan on our jobs page. The major proposals include:

  1. Create more private-sector jobs for those without advanced degrees
  2. Expand workforce training in up and coming fields
  3. Expand support for working parents
  4. Signal that Charlottesville is “Open for Business”
  5. Strengthen the public and performing arts 
  6. Establish a new public-private incubator and accelerator
  7. Establish a “buyer’s club” to support purchasing from local companies.
  8. Exert care with City budgeting and restraint on new taxes