Pine Grove Meets Its Council and Mayor Candidates
Pine Grove held a “Meet the Candidates” forum on Saturday, May 6 to introduce the upcoming candidates for city council and mayor.
City council candidates were given five minutes each to explain their platform and why they feel they would be a good representative for city council, as well as what they feel they could provide for the city.
The following were the candidates’ responses:
* Eva Adams said that she has lived in Pine Grove for almost 79 years and that she has been on city council for awhile.
* Cindy Roberts was unable to make it due to a work conflict, so she was represented by her husband. She wanted to commend the current council and mayor for getting the city employees to work. She also stressed that city council has final say over the mayor, not the other way around.
* Christopher Brent Vanderhoff feels that the roads are in bad shape and need to be replaced. He mentioned that he has contacts that can help replace the sewage pumps and that he would like to see some backup pumps kept in case of emergency.
* Casey Pingley is a young man who feels that there is some disorganization within the city of Pine Grove. He wants to hire good, hard working employees for the city and pay them properly as an incentive to work harder. He also wants to fix the water leaks throughout the city.
* Cindy Figler stated that she has been in Pine Grove most of her life and is a former school teacher. Figler has a bachelor’s degree in Business and did extra hours in Accounting and Grant Writing. She is currently on city council, and they have been able to help with some of the city issues such as waste removal. They are currently working on the sewer problem to come up with a resolution. She also stated that the sheriff’s department will be making a presence in town. A deputy will have an office in the Byrd Center as a means to have better access to Pine Grove.
* Richard Price stated that he would like to apply for a grant for a town cop. He feels that the Park Committee has done a wonderful job getting the park in better shape than it has been in a while. He also feels that the town needs better equipment to work with. He would like to form a grant writing committee to get more money for the city. Price feels that city workers need to be held responsible for their actions and mentioned implementing a drug testing policy for city employees. He also feels that there is too much overtime being taken advantage of. Therefore, Price wants to use a work agenda as a means to track the the work being completed on a daily basis. He would also like to see a summer youth program put into action to help alleviate some of the summer work done by city employees.
* Robin Wadsworth is a Valley High School alumnus who feels that there needs to be more community activities. She also feels that the park is in bad shape and Rampfest will be moved due to it. Wadsworth was informed that the park is owned by the city and the Park Committee is a group of concerned citizens that got together to make improvements to the park. Wadsworth would like to see a city council that can work well together, as well as city employees that can work well together. She would like to work with the Health Department about the sewage issue in town.
The Mayoral candidates then took the floor to voice their platform for why they were running for mayor.
* Larry Huggins stated that he feels he could be a big contribution to the town. He is a Vietnam Vet and a current member of the NRA. He will work hard with town council, and the citizens to do what needs to be done to get the town back in shape. He stated that the streets and alleys are in bad shape. He wants to seek more grants to upgrade the sewer system. He would like to help the town to raise money to be able to hold festivities again such as live music and bingo, anything to help the town. He feels that it will take a group effort, and that everyone must work together, to get the town back into shape.
* Barbara King announced her candidacy for mayor and stated that she has been a resident of Pine Grove for 20 years and is a former county commissioner. She felt that it was good to hear that everyone is upset about the same issues that upset her. She has been on town council for two years now and feels that major improvements can be made but it will take time. She has helped with the building of the employee handbook which has implemented several rules that will help govern city employees. She feels that they have gotten some things done, but there is still much more to do. She stated that town council runs the town, not the mayor. She feels that the mayor is a liaison and should be making phone calls and turning ideas into actions. King stated that she has several connections in Charleston and that the mayor needs to be involved and should be a good representative for the town.
* Johnny Haught mentioned that he has worked for the town for several times. He feels that change needs to take place in the city, beginning with the sewage problem, which he feels has been going on for too long. He would like to see more young people involved in the community. He feels that it is the mayor’s responsibility to be out there checking to make sure things are being done correctly and on time. He agreed that a work agenda could work but most importantly people need to be held accountable for their work.
The ballot reads as follows:
Mayor Candidates: 1. Larry Huggins. 2. Barbara King. 3. Johnny Haught
Recorder Candidate: Rhonda Kay Spencer
Town Council Candidates: 1. Eva Adams 2. Cindy Roberts 3. Christopher Brent Vanderhoff 4. John Hurst 5. Casey Pingly 6. Stacey Judge 7. Cindy Figler. 8.Richard Price 9. Robin Wadsworth.