MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Small business owner Travis Bishop is running against Ward 1 councilman Dennis Etherington in the June 12 municipal election in Martinsburg.
Bishop, 42, of 1025 W. King St., who owns Tannerman’s Trading Co., said his marketing and “people skills” and success with growing his business in tough economic times qualifies him to serve on City Council.
Etherington, 61, of 501 S. Georgia Ave., says his leadership experience as an assistant principal at Eagle School Intermediate qualifies him for the position he has held since 2008.
The winner between the Republican candidates will be elected to a four-year term. Council members are paid $2,400 annually.
When asked what is Martinsburg’s most pressing issue, Etherington cited the planned upgrade of the city’s wastewater treatment plant, which he noted is a $47.5 million project. Etherington said the state Legislature had taken action to assist the city, but Martinsburg’s share of the cost and what residents might be asked to pay as a result still isn’t known.
Bishop said growth in the city’s downtown area is the most pressing issue. The opening of the Raleigh Street Extension will eliminate the need for motorists to go through the downtown area, which could become a ghost town if steps to offset the impact are not taken in the next couple of years, he said. Bishop noted there were more than 20 empty storefronts in the “Main Street” area.
When asked why he was running for City Council, Etherington said he has enjoyed serving the community since first being appointed to an unexpired term little more than four years ago. Etherington said his interest in city affairs was “stirred” by the late Mayor Paul Martin, his father-in-law.
Bishop said he is not a politician and never wanted to run for public office, but he was asked to run for City Council as part of a team of candidates who each bring individual abilities to the table.