BPW hosts Meet the Candidates Night

| October 20, 2015

COSHOCTON – The Coshocton Business and Professional Women and Coshocton County Farm Bureau once again sponsored Meet the Candidates Night at the Coshocton County Career Center on Thursday evening, Oct. 16 beginning at 6:30 p.m. with refreshments and meet and greet. Candidates’ forum started at 7 p.m. and was broadcast live on WTNS Radio. Ken Smailes from the local radio station served as moderator. Keeping time for each candidate was Liz Herrell of BPW.

“I truly believe it is our civic duty to support our Coshocton County candidates,” said Emily McBurney of BPW.

As of that night, 635 absentee ballots had been requested by county and city residents, according to Stephanie Slifko, director of the Coshocton County Board of Elections. She also announced that last year, 35 issues in Ohio were decided by one vote.

“So if you are wondering if your vote matters, it does,” she said.

Smailes then introduced incumbent mayor of Coshocton, Steve Mercer, and write-in candidate, Rick Williamson. Each had two minutes for opening statements and two minutes for their closing statements with questions from Smailes after their opening remarks.

“We are leading the city in a new horizon and looking to sustain the city and I look forward to being a part of that,” said Mercer, who has been mayor of Coshocton since 2008.

Williamson’s opening remarks alluded to what he believes is needed change in the community.

“I feel we need some change, and if someone doesn’t step up, we will be going in the same direction we don’t want to go,” said Williamson. “There are some great things in Coshocton, but I think we can have more.”

Smailes asked what Coshocton would look like in four years if elected, which was directed to both candidates. Williamson answered he’d like to see better jobs, better infrastructure, and better accountability from elected leaders. Mercer remarked on neighborhood improvement and downtown revitalization.

After one question directed at each candidate, Smailes asked an end question for both candidates: Convince the public you have leadership skills.

“I have a positive attitude about life,” said Mercer. “Let’s not rise to the same thing we were before, but rise to something different.”

“I want to stay in Coshocton for the rest of my life and I want other people to feel the same way,” said Williamson. “I want to make it the hometown I grew up in. Make people feel comfortable here and make it their home. We’ve got to make it that attractive town again where people want to live and people from here want to stay.”

The first ward seat is also available on Coshocton City Council in which Bob Fetters and Steve Williams are both running. Fetters has been on City Council for eight years.

“I’m going to continue to address legislation for the good of Coshocton citizens,” said Fetters.

Williams talked about his experience in business and how he would use it to serve the city.

“I bring to the community a great deal of experience and I’d like to keep that experience here,” he said.

Smailes then introduced Steven Bordenkircher and Timothy Tubbs II who are both running for Mayor of West Lafayette. Mayor Jack Patterson announced his resignation during the West Lafayette Homecoming Festival last July.

“I have a true love for the village,” said Bordenkircher during his opening statements. “I moved to the village when it was a vibrant community and there are a lot of empty buildings on Main Street and I want to change that.”

Tubbs believes in better communication throughout the village as a whole.

“We need to encourage better communication between the citizens of the community, the utility workers, the emergency systems, and even the school systems,” he said.

Both candidates agreed that there needs to be a lot of change in the village. When asked what is the biggest challenge facing West Lafayette today, Tubbs said there are a lot of empty businesses on Main Street, he would like to see a recreation center for kids, and there are properties in town that need updated. Bordenkircher answered he would like to see Main Street more developed so that small businesses would be encouraged to move there.

Bordenkircher believes that he has great business and village council experience to bring to the position of mayor, and Tubbs said that he is a people person and would be able to sit down with anyone and listen if they had a concern or suggestion.

In their closing comments, both agreed that the village of West Lafayette needs revitalization.

“If you don’t like the way things are run, do something to change it,” said Tubbs. “I’ve lived here for almost 25 years and I’m tired of seeing it going down.”

“We have to get people excited,” said Bordenkircher. “We have to get people more creative to make this place a more vibrant place to live. We need to have people step forward and become a part of the community.”

The eight candidates vying for the position of Ridgewood School Board of Education took the stage and spoke about why they would be the right person for the position. A total of three will be elected. Those running include: Dennis Bahmer, Vic Cardenzana, Alan Folkert, Helen Leindecker, Catherine McCrea, Rodney Merce, and John Riebesell.

The eight candidates talked about their experience in education and what they would do for the Ridgewood School District if elected.

Bahmer: “I will promote the equality of curricular and extra-curricular activities for all students, the safety of the students, and the maintenance of school buildings.”

Cardenzana: “Our students need to communicate with global nations and we need to know how they feel and implement more foreign languages in the school district.”

Folkert: “My number one priority is the children of the Ridgewood School District. I believe that the school board should not run the school, but should be a link between the community and the school. The Ridgewood students and staff are clearly among the finest.”

Leindecker: “I’m thankful to be a part of the educational process for the kids. We need to support the students, the staff, and the parents. We have a great group of citizens in West Lafayette.”

McCrea: “I never thought I’d be in education. When I graduated high school, I was done. But what a rewarding thing it is to see those kids just light up when they learn something. When they’re being praised, and when they receive a pat on the back.”

Merce: “We have a great school district, and a wonderful sports program and music program. We spend tax payers’ money and we need to make sure we spend it wisely.”

Riebesell: “Absolutely nothing is more important than the safety and security of our students and staff. If you don’t have safety in schools, you don’t have learning.”

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About the Author ()

I have been employed at the Coshocton County Beacon since September 2009 as a news reporter and assistant graphic artist. I am a 2004 graduate of Newcomerstown High School and a 2008 graduate of Capital University with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing. I am married to John Scott and live in Newcomerstown. We have two beautiful daughters, Amelia Grace Scott and Leanna Rose Scott.

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