Co-op Club meet the candidates night Oct. 18

Published 10:13 am Thursday, October 13, 2011

Only four for citywide office agreed to come

The Ironton Women’s Cooperative Club will sponsor its election year Meet the Candidates Night at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 18 at Ohio University Southern.

But only four candidates for citywide office had agreed to attend the event as of Friday, the deadline for submitting a required RSVP.

Co-op club member Emma Roach said Mayor Rich Blankenship and challenger Bob Cleary said they will attend and turned in an RSVP by the deadline. Aaron Bollinger was the only one of four city council candidates who has agreed to appear. None of the three candidates for the city school board sent in their RSVP, either.

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“I am so disappointed,” Roach said. “We put a lot into this. If you are running for office, I would think you would at least want to meet the public that will be voting for you.”

Karl Wentz, who is also a candidate for mayor, said he plans to attend but didn’t know he needed to RSVP.

“I guess I missed that,” he said. “I plan to show up if they’ll let me in.”

City council candidate Phil Heald said Wednesday he had the invitation to the event lying on his desk but had gotten busy with numerous cases and had not sent in his reply. Fellow candidate Frank Murphy said he had planned to attend but had not RSVP’ed.

“I guess I’ll call Lou (Pyles, co-op club member) tomorrow,” he said.

Attorney Kevin Waldo, running for re-election to city council, was in court and not immediately available for comment.

None of the three candidates for school board indicated they would attend. Robert Pleasant Jr., said he would prefer for all three candidates to be there together and not all three could attend next week’s forum.

He said there will be opportunities in the future for the public to meet with him, incumbent Tim Johnson and newcomer Mark Fields.

He pointed out that there are three seats open on the school board and three candidates so he, Johnson and Fields are running unopposed.

Fields and Johnson were contacted for comment but were not immediately available.

Roach said Chamber of Commerce director Bob Smith will emcee the forum. She said people in the audience will be asked to submit the questions Smith will then ask the candidates. Each candidate will be given time to address the audience.

The event will be in the Mains Rotunda.