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Candidates will battle for city council

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first part of a two-part series on the candidates for the Ironton City Council.

Friday, October 22, 1999

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the first part of a two-part series on the candidates for the Ironton City Council. Part two will appear in Monday’s edition of The Tribune. Candidates have been presented in no particular order. This is another installment of The Ironton Tribune’s continuing series of candidate/race profiles in preparation for Election Day.

Four candidates will vie for three seats on the Ironton City Council when city voters enter the voting booth Nov. 2.

Refurbishing – and, more importantly, reopening - the Woodland Cemetery Bridge is high on incumbent councilwoman Mary Lee Kennedy’s list of projects for the new millennium.

"My main objective is going to be getting the cemetery bridge completed, but there are many more things I want to do," Mrs. Kennedy said. "I would like to get some business in the Cabletron building, for one thing."

Mrs. Kennedy said she believes an industrial recruiter is exactly what the city needs to get back on track.

"I’m really hoping that getting an industrial recruiter will be a big asset for us as a city," she said. "We will live within our budget. We have a finance committee, a mayor and a finance director who all work very hard on keeping us within our budget, and I think whatever they suggest is something we should seriously look at."

Taxes, however, are not in the city’s future if Mrs. Kennedy can make her vote count at council meetings.

"I’m going to continue to vote against new taxes," she said. "I’m concerned with the working citizens of Ironton, and new taxes are not what they need."

With the recruiter and the new projects and funds available to the city, Mrs. Kennedy said she has high hopes for a bright future for the City of Ironton.

"I really am hopeful for us as a community," she said. "I think we have a lot of people who are interested in pushing ahead now, and they all seem to be working together. It just keeps getting better, and I think 2000 looks pretty bright from here."

Council chairman Jesse Roberts is ready to face the polls again and said he hopes that when the votes are tallied, he will continue to be able to work with council and the residents for the betterment of Ironton.

"I will continue to work hard in a team effort with those that I serve with on council, the mayor’s office and the residents to take Ironton into the new millennium," he said. "The last time I ran for office, I promised to do my best, and I’ve tried to hold to that. Not everyone always agrees with me, but I have always done my best and will continue to do so if reelected."

And, the best way to begin a new century is with a new era of job creation for the city, Roberts added.

"Anything we can do to aid in development, industrial recruitment or annexation, is an effort I will strive for," Roberts said. "The foremost priority is obviously taking care of the citizens of Ironton, but the most pressing issue is bringing job development and an increased tax base into the City of Ironton."

Teamwork is another important facet of city government, one that Roberts said is a key to moving the city forward.

"If we want to go into the new millennium, we’ve got to be prepared to say we are going to live today and work for tomorrow – not live today and worry about what happened yesterday," he said.

If reelected, Roberts said he hopes to help focus council’s energy in a more positive direction.

"Of all the issues facing council right now, accentuating and enhancing the positive rather than wasting time, energy and effort searching for the negative is exactly what we need to do," he said. "No new business is going to be interested in speaking with a recruiter, if we develop that position, if certain council members continue to be concerned with what has happened in the past rather than focusing on the future."

The highest priority, however, is to plan for an economically prosperous future while taking care of lingering budget issues, he said.

"The first and foremost priority is obviously taking care of the citizens of Ironton, but the pressing issue is bringing job development and an increased tax base into the city," Roberts said."I think we’ve made efforts to plan and prepare every year for the next year, and we’ve always had increased revenues until this past year. And while we’ve not always agreed, council has worked very hard with the finance committee and with the valuable help of the mayor, to propose cuts and changes that will help us as much as possible for the shortfalls in the year 2000."

As a council member, Roberts said he will continue to monitor the expenditures and continue to plan and be reactive while working for Ironton’s future.