In the Wilmington City Council races in the Nov. 7 general election, candidates are: 1st Ward, Jonathan McKay (unopposed); 2nd Ward, Michael Allbright vs. Loren Stuckert II; 3rd Ward, Kristi Fickert (unopposed); 4th Ward, Matt Purkey (unopposed); and At-Large (four candidates for three seats) — Carter Cockman, William Liermann, Kelsey Swindler and Tyler Williams.
The News Journal asked candidates in the contested races these questions:
1. What is your: name; age; and occupation?
2. How have you been involved with Wilmington in official/unofficial capacities up until now (board member, volunteer, other)?
3. Why do you want to be a Wilmington City Council member?
4. What goals would you have if elected?
5. What is/are the biggest challenges facing the city?
6. Do you wish to add something to your responses?
• I am 21 years old and currently a 3rd year Chemical Engineering student at the University of Cincinnati and work as an Engineering Applications Technician for DuBois Chemicals as well as a part time front desk agent at the Hampton Inn & Suites in Wilmington Ohio.
• I grew up in Wilmington, playing baseball in the park league. In high school I was blessed to be able to go through Leadership Clinton Youth Collaborative and through that project was able to assist in raising money for Little Hearts Big Smiles to go towards building their playground. I was also involved in countless community projects and outreach programs in Wilmington and the surrounding area through my local church.
• I want to be a member of Wilmington City Council because I believe I can make a difference in our city. I know I can use my critical thinking, problem solving, and customer service skills to benefit our city and all the people who live here. I believe I can find effective and efficient solutions to problems that affect the daily lives of my fellow citizens, as well as further improve on already successful functions of our city government.
• What goals would you have if elected? When elected to City Council it is my goal to go to bat for the citizens of our city. It is my goal to be a councilman who talks with and is open to his citizens and truly represents them and their interests. I plan to work with our safety services to ensure they have the manpower and resources to keep our city safe. I want to work to see the bike patrol restarted in our town, as well as work to improve traffic flow through our city. Another goal I have is to see the temporary increased tax remains a temporary tax and the city does not become dependent on it, and then extend the tax, or make it permanent.
• Perhaps the biggest problem facing our city is in both our Police Department as well as Fire department are seeing an increased number of calls without an increase in staff. Every year they make an increased number of calls however they are not able to add new officers. The Fire Department also is in need of replacing one of its squads, as well as in the next 10 years one of their fire trucks. I plan to work with them to obtain the new squad and to set up a plan to ensure they will be prepared to make the purchase. I also will work to improve traffic flow through our city. I will accomplish this by having all of the city’s traffic lights recalibrated and the broken sensors repaired. I also will ensure the streets repair is completed and set a plan in place to make certain our streets never again become in such disrepair. Finally I want to see the temporary tax increase is indeed temporary and the city does not become dependent on the increased tax.
• 30, School Counselor at Wilmington High School.
• Since high school, I have volunteered with a variety of organizations. Some of these include Project TRUST, the Wilmington Area Tennis Association, Energize Clinton County, Main Street Wilmington, and the Wilmington Schools Foundation. After college, I served with Americorps*VISTA through Wilmington College, working on environmental initiatives and college access projects. I have served in a board capacity on Project TRUST and the Wilmington Area Tennis Association. Additionally, I was the co-chair of the Campaign for Wilmington’s Future.
• I view Wilmington as a place with incredible promise, but I believe that we must invest in better infrastructure and a better quality of life to realize that potential. Wilmington has always been home for me. I was born and raised here, and I have lived in other cities (Columbus and Tucson, Arizona), but Wilmington is always the place I wanted to return to. I want to be a member of City Council because I believe I have a vision for the future of Wilmington and the dedication to work with members of council and the community to see that vision. Over the last few years, several members of council have put forth no policies or ideas to lead to a better Wilmington. Instead, many only put forth negativity about initiatives and general complaints about waste in the budget. We need members of council who are dedicated to ideas and policies that will improve our town, not just to serve as naysayers.
• Alongside business owners and residents, updating city infrastructure; Increase pedestrian safety and walkability by implementing key points in the Wilmington Comprehensive Plan from 2015, such as improving crosswalks, sidewalks, and pedestrian lighting; Continue the efforts of the Wilmington Zoning Task Force to update our patchwork, antiquated zoning laws; Invite city residents into more conversations about neighborhood improvement and safety
• Wilmington has several challenges facing it right now, from the drug epidemic to employment. However, one of the big challenges from the standpoint of local government is a lack of initiative in investing in the community. We must be leaders in the efforts towards building a better quality of life and attracting new residents and businesses. To progress as a city, council must work in collaboration with civic organizations, educational institutions, and residents to build a better Wilmington for all.
• Wilmington is home for me. My wife and I have bought a house here, and this is where we will raise our family. My dedication for this town will never waiver, and I am committed in working towards a brighter future for Wilmington. I want to represent my neighbors and fellow residents of Wilmington as a collaborator in continuing to build a town we can all be proud to call home.
WILLIAM ‘BILL’ LIERMANN
• 59; Service Manager, Jerry Haag Motors in Hillsboro
• Previous City Council Member (1985-1993) 8 years; Previous School Board Member 12 years total; Board Member of Leadership Clinton; Previous Board Member Clinton County Agricultural Society.
• My belief is that we should always be giving back and serve my community, improve our quality of life in Wilmington. Try to bring in more employers, more jobs
• (Goals) Proper utilization of our tax dollars; Providing our essential services to our residents; Providing adequate staffing for our safety forces (police & fire departments); Repairing our streets.
• Biggest challenges we face: Coping with the heroin epidemic, countering and curtailing drug activity. As we grow we need to allocate more money for increasing staffing within our police and fire departments. Consider new fire station or improvements to our existing fire station; Enhance our quality of life, and work with all elected officials so our county can prosper.
• I take this position very seriously and strive to make sound decisions when it involves spending taxpayers money. My experience of more than 20 years, as a previous school board member and former councilman proves I have gained the trust of my constituents. I pledge to be a watchdog of taxpayers money and my integrity speaks for itself. I am approachable and willing to speak with residents about any concerns you may have. Your vote is greatly appreciated.
• 27, Wilmington City Council member (at-large) and Director of Marketing and Physician Recruitment
• I’ve served as an at-large member of Wilmington City Council for almost two years; have worked locally since graduating from college in 2012 and have served as a board member for Energize Clinton County, Clinton County Trails Coalition, and most recently HealthFirst for Clinton County. My family owns a three-generation family business (nearing its 100th anniversary!), and growing up with their example taught me a lot about hard work, civic engagement, and the incredible economic impact of small businesses.
• I’m proud of the work we’ve accomplished in my last two years on city council. By pulling Wilmington back from the brink of financial crisis and passing a fiscally responsible budget that prioritizes investments in streets and safety, we’ve created a blueprint for Wilmington’s revitalization. It’s up to us to embrace the next step — I hope to have the opportunity to continue working alongside community members on a shared vision for investing in Wilmington’s future.
• If elected, I’ll work on: Prioritizing neighborhood needs — these are varied, but top of mind for so many of Wilmington’s residents. We need to identify and resolve (through the land bank and other interventions) vacant properties that have attracted criminal activity, address traffic issues (busy intersections or unsafe railroad crossings), resolve poor street lighting, identify crosswalk needs, etc.; Embracing new tools — like Downtown Redevelopment Districts — to incentive private investment in our downtown; Implementing key recommendations in the recently completed Wilmington Comprehensive Plan; Continuing investments in aging public infrastructure and increased code enforcement to create a safer, more accessible community.
• The biggest challenge for Wilmington moving forward will be prioritizing investment so that it has the greatest possible impact for the greatest number of people — this means addressing drug activity, repairing streets and sidewalks, strengthening code enforcement, supporting safety services, and so much more. We need responsible and forward-thinking representatives who can work cohesively with community members and city administration. •
• I’m committed to building a community open to new businesses, ideas, and people. As your city council representative, I’ve prioritized fiscal responsibility, transparency, and bipartisanship. I believe in Wilmington, and I hope I have the opportunity to continue serving you.
2nd Ward candidates:
• 37, Assistant Dean of Students for Housing and Residence Life Wilmington College, until December 31st, 2017. Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, beginning January, 1st 2018.
• I have worked in Wilmington for 8 years, and have volunteered at Mural parties and for the Board of Elections. I have worked with the Wilmington Police and Fire Departments in my official capacity as Assistant Dean of Students for Housing and Residence Life. I have also spent the past 12 months attending nearly every City Council meeting and many of the various committee meetings to get educated on the procedures and processes of the City Council. Just recently I started going to the Zoning Task Force meetings too.
• I have served in leadership roles my entire life. I was a Student Council member and Vice President and Class President in High School. Class President in College and I have served my colleagues here at Wilmington College for two terms on Staff Council. I have made an effort to get to know people and see what problems and challenges they are facing, then I work very hard to find solutions to their problems. I have tried to make an impact in everything I have ever been involved with, and now I want to make an impact on the 2nd Ward and the city.
• (Goals) To add, enhance and improve the city sidewalks, lighting, and other safety features; To create Landlord and Tenant Associations to address code enforcement and enhance the living experience of all renting citizens within the city; To expand and tighten current code as it pertains to violent and dangerous and unwanted animals in the city; To make Wilmington a city to Drive To, Not Just Through.
• The opiate and other illicit drug epidemic that is sweeping the nation is impacting our city. It is making it difficult on our emergency services and directly affecting safety for the citizens on the city streets, sidewalks and parks. There are also some infrastructure challenges and improvements that need to be made. Everyone living in the city needs to work together and hopefully they will embrace our campaign motto: We Believe in Wilmington.
• I just wanted to thank Ann Reno, Democratic Party Chair for Clinton County, Neil Snarr my mentor and Treasurer, many current city officials for being so open to discuss how everything works, and especially many of the current City Council and Council President Randy Riley for being so supportive and patient as I ask so many questions. And especially my beautiful fiancée Isabelle Crickmore for her patience and support as I pursue public service. Whatever I get involved in I am passionate about, and this has been an amazing year and I can’t wait to serve the 2nd Ward of Wilmington.
LOREN L. STUCKERT II
• Stability Analyst with Advanced Testing Laboratory, Inc.
• I am currently serving on Wilmington City Council representing the 2nd Ward. I am chairman of the Wastewater Committee and serve as committee member on the parks and water committees. I am a board member of the Clinton County Visitors Bureau. I volunteer as a musician with Clinton County Live playing music in several of the downtown Wilmington restaurants and businesses.
• I want to serve in the community where my wife and I are raising our daughter and future children. I want to help improve Wilmington because it is a place I truly care for and value.
• My goal would be to work towards adequately meeting the needs for the police, fire, streets, and parks in a fiscally responsible way. I want to help the city continue to be the best it can possibly be for all of its citizens.
• With budget season approaching, the biggest challenge currently facing the city is being able to prioritize the budget issues to ensure that the core responsibilities are taken care of while also being fiscally responsible and spending money within the current revenue.