Four seek Ward 5 seat on Martinsburg City Council

June 20, 2012|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD |

Four candidates are vying for the open Ward 5 seat on the Martinsburg City Council in the June 12 municipal election.

Glenville Twigg, a former city councilman; Jason Baker, who owns a contracting business; Keven Walker, a National Park Service ranger; and Terrance Crim, a boiler operator at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center near Martinsburg are vying to replace Betty Gunnoe, who opted not to run for re-election.

Twigg, 66, of 209 Karla Court cited his 14 years on the city council beginning in 1988 when asked what qualifies him for the position. He noted his work to establish the city’s code-enforcement committee, street repaving efforts and the annual citywide “Take Pride in Your Community” event.

Baker, 29, of 809 N. High St. said his qualifications include his lifelong involvement in city politics. He also noted that he understands the importance of keeping a balanced budget and being fiscally responsible as a business owner.

Walker, 36, of 308 Legion St. said his qualifications include having a great deal of experience in community organizing. He also noted his experience in managing a budget and employees as a small-business owner.

Crim, 49, of 1506 Yorktown St. said he would be responsive to Ward 5 residents, whom he asserted have not been represented adequately “for years.”

Crim, who is not registered with a political party, said a focus needs to be placed on growth in the city, which needs to be revitalized.

“I want to cut excess spending and reduce the taxation and new incentives for businesses to come to Martinsburg,” Crim said.

Walker, a Democrat, said the most pressing issue facing the city is the economy.

Walker said he doesn’t think the city has done enough to put itself in a position to move forward, and isn’t doing enough to protect its resources and reinvesting in infrastructure.

“We’ve got major road issues,” Walker said.

He also said the city’s arts and entertainment offerings need to be expanded.

Baker, a Democrat, said the city needs to continue to expand its tax base to reduce the burden on taxpayers, and noted there are opportunities to do that not only in downtown Martinsburg, but on the west side of Interstate 81.

Baker said the city also needs to have neighborhoods cleaned up, noting safety concerns.

Twigg, a Republican, said he doesn’t think there is any issue that is “really” pressing, but feels the city needs to place more priority on street repaving and figure out “once and for all” what should be done with the downtown area.

When asked why he was running for the council, Walker said he has lived in Martinsburg for eight years and his family loves the city.

“I think I’ve got skills to lend a hand,” Walker said. “I can bring people together to work on these challenges.”

Crim said he wants to create new incentives for businesses to come to Martinsburg and stress to property owners that they need to be more accountable for the condition of their properties.

Baker said he wants to make a difference in the city, and vowed to be a council member who is “accessible and honorable,” and who would bring fresh ideas to the table.

Twigg said he is running because he enjoys getting things done for the city.

“I really enjoy working for the community,” Twigg said.

Council members are paid $2,400 per year and serve four-year terms.

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