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Huntington mayor shares philosophy of life in Chamber speech

SOUTH POINT — The common bonds that those who live in the Tri-State hold were among the topics Huntington, W.Va. Mayor Kim Wolfe talked about in his address at the Greater Lawrence Chamber of Commerce’s 4th Friday luncheon.

The mayor cited that area residents share a devotion to family and country.

“We are basically a religious stock and stubborn,” he said. “You can’t tell us we can’t do something. Put those attitudes together, it puts us in a unique position.”

He sees the Tri-State functioning in a reciprocal manner.

“Good things are happening in Lawrence County and that will affect us and vice versa,” Wolfe said.

A former Cabell County sheriff, Wolfe took over the office of Huntington mayor in 2009.

“Our vision in Huntington is safer, cleaner and more responsible government,” he told the audience at South Point High School. “The biggest challenge (when he took office) was the police and fire pensions. We were on the verge of receivership and bankruptcy. That was the big elephant on our backs.”

Currently Huntington, like many other metropolitan areas, is facing an inequity between revenue and expenditure. One remedy has been shutting down city hall on Fridays as a cost-saving measure. This is expected to bring about a 10 percent cut in workers’ pay or an annual savings of $425,000.

However, the city employee union filed a lawsuit recently claiming that violated the union’s collective bargaining agreement.

“But I refuse to be negative,” Wolfe said. “We have a challenge.”

And meeting challenges in a positive fashion is what Wolfe says is his philosophy of life.

“Leadership is service to others,” he said. “The most important thing in life is doing service to others.”