WHEELING - The issues of jobs and downtown development were on the minds of residents attending a forum for candidates of Wheeling city offices Thursday night.
Twenty-six candidates are seeking to be mayor or council member in Wheeling, and 23 turned out for the event at West Virginia Northern Community College sponsored by the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce. Each had three minutes to introduce themselves to the public. In addition to the candidates, about 50 city residents attended.
Both candidates for mayor - incumbent Andy McKenzie and Jerome Poynton - addressed the crowd, as did the following candidates for council:
Photo by Joselyn King
Sherry Sligar, left, and husband Cliff Sligar, a former Wheeling council member and fire chief, take in a candidates forum Thursday.
- 1st Ward - incumbent Gloria Delbrugge and John Bishop.
- 2nd Ward- Charles Ballouz, Alex Coogan, Tony Domenick, Ken Imer, Desmond Lekunudos and Aaron T. Wilkinson.
- 3rd Ward - Christopher Dean, Duane Allen Ellis, Chris Hamm, and incumbent Robert "Herk" Henry. Candidates Bob Kleeh and Ted Maxwell were not present.
- 4th Ward - Keith Bell, Randy Berisford, Mark Garrett, Marjorie Klemm and David C. Miller.
- 5th Ward - Lloyd Adams, incumbent Don Atkinson and Robert Boord. Candidate Perry Napier was not present.
Second Ward Councilman Vernon Seals is not seeking re-election after 24 years on council, and he was among those present.
"Everybody has their platform, and I commend them for coming out and running for office," Seals said. "They have to understand how much time they have to put in. They also have to remember that while they represent their ward, they also represent their city as a whole."
Former Wheeling fire chief and city councilman Cliff Sligar also attended.
"The candidates are very good," Sligar said. "I hear a lot of good things - I wish they could implement them. The city is good. The services are excellent. They just need to try to get employment here."
Stacy Keller said she just moved to the city a year ago, and that she wasn't yet familiar with Wheeling City Council.
"I don't know about local politics yet - but I've always been involved with local government," she said. "I think it's important."
Danny Swan, 24, is an East Wheeling homeowner who listened to the forum with much interest.
"I might be young, but I'm still into it," he said. "It seems a lot of important issues are staring us in the face."
Marilyn Mendelson marked off the names of the candidates from her list as they spoke.
"I believe you should be an intelligent voter," she said. "You have to see and hear people."