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Irish Festival puts spotlight on Republican candidates.

The luck of the Irish descended upon the Waterfront Park last weekend as the City of Alexandria held the annual Irish Festival. The festivities included Irish crafts, dancing and refreshments. The Alexandria Republican City Committee and the Alexandria Democratic Committee both set up tables to promote candidates who will be on the ballot in November.

But one future candidate stood out in the crowd. Pat Troy, who was master of ceremonies for the festival, announced that he would be a Republican candidate for the City Council.

"The building in our city has got to stop," he said. "It's too much, and it's got to stop. We need more open space. And our city employees need to be able to afford to live in Alexandria. Something's got to be done about affordable housing."

Troy ran in the last election cycle as an independent candidate. In the past few years, he has become more involved in city politics.

"I know my city now, and I know the issues now," he said. "The members of the City Council are not listening to the people. As a member of the City Council, I will listen to the people."

Several Republican candidates showed up to campaign at the festival, including House of Delegates candidates Chris Gregerson and Matt Mueda, attorney general candidate Bob McDonnell and sheriff candidate Bill Cleveland.

Although Mayor Bill Euille, Vice Mayor Del Pepper and City Councilman Rob Krupicka showed up, no Democratic candidates who will be on the ballot this year appeared at the festival.

"We invited all of the candidates," said Troy. "I can't be held responsible if the Democrats didn't show up."

Although none of the Democratic candidates showed up, some members of the Democratic Party were upset about Troy's announcement.

"In my opinion, it was unseemly for the chair of a festival that is supposed to be an apolitical city event celebrating the Irish heritage of many of our citizens to use the event to announce his candidacy," said Democratic Committee Chairwoman Susan Kellom. "I have never heard the chair of a festival use the bully pulpit provided for his own political gain, and I think it was a misuse of a city function."