8 want 3 council seats

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 25, 2015

With three seats open on Ironton City Council, current members Aaron Bollinger and Kevin Waldo hope to reclaim their positions, but a total of eight candidates have hopes of being elected.

Although the seat of Philip Heald is up, Heald is not running again this year.

New candidates in the running include Ralph “Butch” Huff, Chuck O’Leary, Charley Haney, Larry Wilson, Brian Deer and current Ironton Mayor Rich Blankenship.

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Bollinger, a detective sergeant with the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office and member of the prosecutors office’s drug task force, said he wants to remain on council because of all that has been accomplished in his tenure.

“Because I’ve been here the last four years, I believe we’ve been able to make numerous positive changes with new ways of thinking,” Bollinger said. “Initially I wasn’t planning on running for a second term, but I don’t want to see the city go backwards. I want to see us continually moving forward.”

Waldo, an assistant Lawrence County prosecuting attorney, also believes he should retain his seat.

“I feel like I’ve done the best I could with the budget available in the last eight years that I’ve been on council,” Waldo said. “It’s awful hard to do a lot of things people want to do with the budget that we have, but I try to do the best I can with the budget we have available.”

New city council hopefuls feel new voices would do the city good.

“I’m a new voice for Ironton and I have some really nice ideas to bring Ironton in a new direction,” Larry Wilson, case manager at Mahajan Therapeutics in Wheelersburg, said. “I think there needs to be more cooperation between the mayor and city council, and I can bring that. We have no choice but to start going in a new direction, or we’ll be left behind.”

This is Wilson’s first time running for city council.

“I just retired at the end of September, so I’ll be able to devote whatever time is required for the job,” Ralph “Butch” Huff, former manager at Fannin Mercedes Benz, said. “There is going to be a new mayor and I think it’s important for folks on council to be able to disagree without being disagreeable.”

Huff has previously served on Ironton City Council and said other council members know that he can work well together.

Also retiree Charley Haney said he would be able to devote the time needed for the position.

“I have plenty of time to put forth effort in the position,” Haney said. “I worked with people in the beverage business for years and have good people skills. I’m going to be here the rest of my life and I think I can get in and make a difference.”

Haney is retired from Spriggs Distributing in the supervision department.

Assistant director of the Briggs Lawrence County Library and manager of the Ironton branch Chuck O’Leary would like to bring more small businesses to the city.

“I hate when people say we need more jobs. We do, but no one is doing anything about it,” O’Leary said. “I’d like to start a committee of volunteers to develop smaller businesses to create jobs.”

O’Leary said he would like to have something like The Point in Ironton.

“The committee would take some of the pressure off the mayor,” O’Leary said. “I would like to leave some kind of legacy for my son and other children of Ironton.”

O’Leary has previously served on council as well as the vice mayor.

Blankenship said he wants a council seat to stay a part of the city.

“I still have a passion to keep working for the city and keep moving the city forward. During the past eight years as mayor, I feel like we’ve made tremendous strides and I want to see those efforts continue,” Blankenship said. “I would be beneficial to council because I know all of the financials and the day-to-day operations of the city. During the last eight years, we’ve seen a lot of progress under my administration and I have the knowledge and contacts to keep it going.”

A call to Deer was not returned by press time.