Vaughn runs for mayor
Another person has declared his candidacy for Ironton mayor.
Bob Vaughn, a former city councilman and member of the Ironton Schools Board of Education, says his main focus is bringing jobs back to the city.
“We don’t have enough jobs here for this community,” he said, adding that’s why there are so many fees on the residents.
The 51-year-old said as a life-long resident of Ironton, he has seen the good and bad times of the city. He said he remembers when there where five movie houses in the city and there were places to buy clothes.
“The downfall started 40 years ago in this town,” he said. “We lost the cement plant, we lost Ironton Intermet, we lost Wolohan’s here recently, the hospital. We did gain back with Liebert’s but we need more eggs in our basket.”
Vaughn said that the city has to go after industries and businesses since they “aren’t going to knock on our door.”
He said the city has a lot to offer with access to the Ohio River, railroad lines, the highway system, the Huntington airport and some of the best workers in the region.
He said bigger metropolitan areas have been drawing workers away from the city for years.
“These people love Ironton, but there aren’t enough jobs to bring them back,” Vaughn said. He cites towns like Batavia and Chillicothe that have comeback after industries built there. He also cites a potential steel mill being built in Haverhill.
“People said we’re landlocked, not true,” he said. “We have the industrial park, there is the old Intermet site. We just have to get out there and do it.”
He said he was decided to run for mayor after he was talking with his wife, Linda, about leaving the area because of the decline.
“She asked why didn’t I do something about it,” he said. “I will do something about it, I haven’t promised one thing to anyone and I will work hard to bring industry back here.”
Vaughn said he would work with any entity to bring jobs in and retain the ones that are already here.
“Anybody that will help this city, I will work with,” he said.
He said when he was on the council he sent out 98 information packets to companies throughout the nation and got eight hits from interested companies.
Among the things he would like to do if elected mayor is to hire a professional headhunter to pursue industries and business opportunities.
He said any city needs tax money to provide service to its residents but things like the city’s water fees have become “absolutely absurd.”
“You see water bills start at $70 and go higher, we have to get rid of the fees,” he said. “But the only way to do that is to bring jobs back here. There is no other way.”
Vaughn was on the Ironton City Council from 1997 to 2000 and has been on the Ironton Board of Education for the past two years.
There are two other candidates who have officially declared for mayor, Ironton city councilman Bob Cleary and Ironton city councilman Rich Blankenship.