Tim Watts is in his first campaign for public office. "I'm running because of the condition of our city - the drugs and the crime, which I believe most people agree go hand in hand. Also, the condition of our city parks, the all-around wasteful spending, and the people who have run this city into the ground for 20 years. No one has any accountability."
Watts said he has been a stay-at-home dad for most of the last 19 years and has spent the last two years caring for family members full time. He is an Army veteran and worked for the phone company in the early 1990s.
Scott Russell owns Scott's Home Repairs. This is his first campaign. "I was asked 25 years ago to run," he said. "I was a lot younger. Now I'm a lot wiser. Owning my own business helped me gain a lot of knowledge."
Russell said he's running "because of the kids - nobody seems to want to do anything for the kids." He wants to establish a mentoring program whereby seniors will work with the community's youth.
"The main thing we have to have in this town is unity," Russell added. "That's what I've said since day one."
St. Albans Council
The Peoples Party did not field any candidates for council. But there are several contests in the Citizens Party's primary.
Four candidates are running for three council-at-large seats. Incumbents John Boles and Jerry Cogar are seeking re-election, but long-time councilwoman Helen Warren isn't running for another term.
Matt Kelly, who made an unsuccessful bid for the state House of Delegates on the Republican ticket earlier this year, said he's running with a goal of "bringing families back to St. Albans.
"I feel like many people are moving because there's nothing being offered the kids," he said. Kelly wants to develop a skate park in Ordnance Park. Also, "I would like a secondary police detachment at Ordnance Park to monitor that area at all times so the kids feel they can play safe and have fun."
In addition, "I'd like to see the Hansford Senior Center have some improvements and more activities, more wellness opportunities."
Candidate John Caudill did not return a phone call.
Jason Philabaum and Lee Roberts are vying to represent Ward 3.
Philabaum, 28, moved to St. Albans five years ago. "I love it here," he said. "I want to represent my neighbors. I've been talking to my neighbors. They want to see more city ordinances enforced so far as maintaining your yard, pulling back trash cans. People like where they live. They want to see it kept up."
Roberts, who was appointed to council in February, said that because the Peoples Party didn't field any candidates for council, "I think we should do away with the primary and just have a general election. I also want to reduce the city's wards from nine to six, to save money. And I'd like to go from three to two council-at-large seats."
A retired Union Carbide Corp. employee and the owner of Tornado Products Co., Roberts added, "My opponent is a very fine young man. I'm thrilled a young man like that wants to get involved in city government because it seems like apathy has become more prevalent.
"To see young people get involved in city government pleases me. I would not want to discourage this young man, no matter what happens in the election. I think he has a good head on his shoulders and I applaud his efforts."
In Ward 9, Garry Pennington and Shelly Ellis are seeking the seat being vacated by Stephen Donelson.
Pennington said, "I've done volunteer work all of my life. I'm retiring June 1, and I wanted to continue working to improve the city, help the youth and hopefully help the senior citizens."
Pennington has been an independent insurance agent for 20 years. He recently sold Group Insurance Services.
Ellis did not return a call seeking comment.
Eva Mayes, whose name appears on the ballot, sought to withdraw but ballots already were printed, said City Recorder Veronica Westfall.
Running unopposed for re-election to council are: Ward 1, Robert Keiffer; Ward 3, Ron Colby; Ward 4, Cheryl Thomas; Ward 5, Dan Cain; Ward 7, Desper Lemon; and Ward 8, Kevin Pennington.
Loretta Griffith is running unopposed for re-election to represent Ward 6. Patricia Withrow, whose name appears on the ballot, sought to withdraw but ballots already were printed, Westfall said.