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Two aiming to unseat Ward 4 councilman in Martinsburg

June 07, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com
  • Snowden
Snowden

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — Incumbent Ward 4 Councilman Roger Lewis is defending the seat he’s held for 12 years against two challengers in Tuesday’s city elections.

Stephen Snowden of 312 W. Burke St. and Nick Nelson of 325 Carroll St. are after Lewis’ position.

Nelson’s campaign profile is not being included here because repeated attempts to contact him have been unsuccessful.

Lewis, 75, of 518 W. Burke St., a Democrat, is retired. He said he grew up in the 500 block of West Burke Street, left the city for decades to pursue a career in the footwear industry and returned to Martinsburg in 1997.

“My years on the council, my business experience and my commitment to my hometown qualifies me for the council,” Lewis said.

He said he’s running because he wants to continue to serve the city and the Fourth Ward.

“Ward 4 encompasses the neighborhoods in the heart of Martinsburg, including most of downtown,” he said.

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Lewis is a downtown property owner.

The most important issue, he said, is the council’s effort to maintain the quality of life for citizens and businesses. Lewis feels the best way to accomplish that is to have “an active and visible councilman who knows the citizens and is there for them. I’m downtown every day.”

Snowden, 57, is self-employed in the rental property business in Martinsburg. He is new to politics and listed no party affiliation on his filing application.

He believes that running a downtown business for 38 years qualifies him for a council seat.

“I’m well aware of what the city needs,” he said.

He listed Martinsburg’s most pressing problem as the lack of business, as evidenced by the city’s empty storefronts.

“We have to work to bring businesses back to downtown,” he said.

Negatives like downtown denizens such as homeless people, prostitutes and panhandlers give the city a bad image, he said.

Snowden said he’s running because the city council needs new blood and new ideas.

The Martinsburg City Council includes the mayor; five members, each of whom represent one of the city’s five wards; and two members who serve at large.

All seven council members and the mayor serve four-year terms, and all their seats are on Tuesday’s ballot.

The mayor earns $6,000 a year and council members make $2,400.

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