A former city councilwoman, Doris Fannin, and incumbent councilman, Joel Potts, are asking their neighbors to return them to the Fifth Ward seat on New Martinsville City Council.
Fannin is a native of Wetzel County, a graduate of Reader High School, and a longtime resident of New Martinsville.
Her late husband, George, was a retired employee of the City of New Martinsville Electric Department. Together, they owned and operated a candle and craft shop for several years.
Fannin is proud to have been a partner in rearing three daughters: Jodi Fluharty, Lissie Howell, and Cami Williamson, all of whom are residents of and employed in New Martinsville.
She is also the extremely proud grandmother (Nanny) of four of the most important people she has ever met: R.J. Goode, Sami Fluharty, and Tyler and Trevor Williamson.
Fannin has been employed by Atlas Insulation for the past 37 years. She was hired as clerical in 1974 and appointed to manager of the local office in 1984-a position she still holds. She is also one of five trustees who are responsible for the management of all aspects of six companies which are under the Atlas umbrella. This position brings with it a huge responsibility, which she accepts both humbly and graciously. It also provides her with vast experience in both financial, as well as personnel, issues.
(Editor's Note: The Wetzel Chronicle mailed questions to all political candidates in races of local significance. Their responses are printed in the April 25 and May 2 editions of the Wetzel Chronicle in a simple question and answer format.)
Potts, of 408 Laurel Terrace, New Martinsville, has served the Fifth Ward in this position for the past four years.
He is the son of Joel A. Potts Jr. and the late Virginia Maxwell Potts and is a life-long resident of New Martinsville, having lived in the Fifth Ward for 52 years.
He graduated from Magnolia High School in 1976, attended West Liberty State College, and is currently taking classes at Buffalo Seminary in conjunction with Bethany College.
Potts is an employee of Jarvis-Williams Funeral Homes in New Martinsville and Paden City and of Williams Funeral Home in Pine Grove. He also works for the Christian Church in West Virginia as the coordinator for Men's Ministries and Special Projects.
A life-long member of the First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in New Martinsville, Potts currently serves the church as historian, elder, chancel choir member, and a member of the nominating committee.
As a member of council, he has served as chairman of the fire, police, and street committees and has served as a member of the electric, building, and finance committees. On the state level, he has served on the policy and resolution committee for the West Virginia Municipal League.
What would you do with a $10,000 gift to the city if it was completely up to you, and why would you use it in that manner?
Fannin: I would give this money to our volunteer fire department for additional equipment. Volunteer, being the most important word in the above sentence-this group of highly trained, unpaid personnel make a huge contribution to every member of our community and surrounding areas. Just by being here, not only do they save us all several dollars on our fire insurance premiums, but they stand ready to assist all of us, and do so without compensation! This department is truly an asset to our community and fully deserves any money available. I can think of no other city entity which directly affects all citizens of New Martinsville in a more positive way.
Potts: I would donate the $10,000 to the Chamber of Commerce to help with the installation of a rail spur at the industrial park, which is located on the east end of Foundry Street. The total cost of this project is about $900,000. If we can build this rail spur, industry will locate there, which in turn means more good paying jobs for local workers and an increased tax base for the city. With an increased tax base, the city can provide more services.
Do you have a plan for progress in New Martinsville? Give some specific steps to achieve that goal.
Fannin: I would open up more recreational areas within the city, such as an RV park on Howard Jeffers Drive. I know the Electric Department has attempted to develop this area for several years. I would assist in applying for grants and acquiring assistance from other city departments. Once initial costs to establish this park were recouped from rentals, this would be an additional revenue source for the city.
Potts: I want to work closer with the city building inspector to encourage business owners and residential property owners to improve the appearance of their property. If the appearance of our city improves, more people may want to locate here, which in turn gives us a larger tax base to work with so that we would have the money to do more projects.
Name one city issue you would like to see addressed and how specifically you would work to rectify it.
Fannin: Several years ago the City Charter and City Ordinances were reviewed and amended. I feel they need to be reviewed again to better reflect our current needs and to best serve our citizens. As councilwoman, I would be most willing to serve as chair for the committee, which I feel should be comprised of interested citizens and council.
Potts: I feel the number one issue facing the city is the drug traffic that is coming in to our city. Our police have been able to make some progress in this area, but much more needs to be done. I will work to help secure grants for the additional training of the officers on this matter and a grant that would give us additional money to fund the hiring of additional officers to help combat this issue.