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2 first-timers challenge in Ward 4

June 11, 2000|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. - In Martinsburg's Ward 4, two first-time candidates are challenging incumbent Councilman Oden L. Barrett in Tuesday's election.

Barrett, 65, a former city police officer, has been on the council for six years. He has owned and operated R&O Market in Martinsburg for 18 years.

"I enjoy helping people," he said of his decision to run again.

Barrett said two of his top initiatives have been cleanup projects: at the Tuscarora Creek, in hopes of creating a park, and at the North Queen Street underpass, where stopped-up debris once caused flooding. "Cars and emergency vehicles would get stuck under it," he said.

Barrett said the recent annexation of 740 acres into the city will be good for the people living there, since they'll get better paving, lighting and other services. Also, the city will boost its tax revenue.

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He said he is in favor of a Raleigh Street extension to help traffic problems and wants to see some vacant downtown buildings occupied, including, possibly, a new restaurant.

Elizabeth Anne Keefe, 44, owns and operates Potomac Transcription Services, which does news and legal transcriptions.

She and her husband are renovating an old building in hopes of opening the Raleigh Street Inn.

Keefe said she is running for council because of her experience in government and in fiscal matters.

She was a federal grant auditor for Prince William County in Virginia, and she worked in accounting for George Washington University, Georgetown University and a nonprofit organization.

She said she is familiar with construction and building codes.

"I feel very confident," Keefe said. "I have some ideas. I'm not easily intimidated. I'm new, which is a plus, so I'm not involved in any cliques."

Keefe's platform includes code enforcement, crime prevention, infrastructure improvement and preservation of the B&O Roundhouse.

As the mother of two adopted boys, she said she is also interested in "human issues" that are often overlooked.

Roger Lewis, 63, is retired after 40 years in the retail and wholesale footwear business. His work took him across the country and the world. He has lived in Maryland, Houston, New York City and London, England, among other places.

He came back to Martinsburg, his native city, full time about four years ago, and lives on the same block on which he grew up.

Lewis said he looks at service on the City Council as a public service, rather than political office.

To prepare for his run for council, Lewis said, he has attended almost every City Council meeting over the last three years, as well as Planning Commission meetings.

He also sent out a survey and found that most citizens in his ward are more worried about upkeep of properties and drugs in the ward than about citywide issues.

Lewis said he wants to help oversee the development of the annexed land and traffic problems, continue the street-paving program and research other cities' successful downtown revivals.

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