By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
Residents of Washington?s Ward 1 will head to the polls on Tuesday to select a new representative for the Washington City Council.
Three candidates, Dave Mueller, Danielle Pettit-Majewski and Mark Kendall are all vying for the Ward 1 seat, which was vacated by Kerry Janececk. Tuesday?s winner will hold the position for the remainer of the term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2019. Polls open at noon Tuesday, July 10.
Mueller appears to be a newcomer in city politics, while Pettit-Majewski is the Washington County Public Health director and Kendall, a 30 year certified public accountant, is a four-year council veteran.
A questionnaire was recently sent out to each of the three candidates by the Chamber; their answers are below. Mueller did not return a questionnaire and could not be reached for comment Friday morning.
Although each candidate is running for their own reasons, a sense of duty and belief in bettering the community was felt in each of their answers. Kendall said he sees the council members function as working together to set the tone for the city and to lead by example of what is correct and acceptable behavior. He also believes the city employees should be held to this standard.
As a county employee, Pettit-Majewski said she sees the impact every day that local politics has on the community. ?I see the community through the lens of health, which allows me to be aware of the disparities in transportation, food security, housing, and access to care. I think that awareness should absolutely impact the decisions we make about our community policy.?
In speaking about the challenges facing the city in the future, Kendall said the greatest challenge will be to provide economic opportunities for economic retention. ?For example, new recreational facilities will not only give a reason to a younger family to move their family to the Washington community, that same facility will give a younger family already living in this community a reason to stay within this community,? he said.
Pettit-Majewski said attracting and retaining community members would be the city?s greatest challenge. ?I think the challenge we face is whether we have the political will to implement the changes that will allow our community to continue to progress in a way that will attract and retain community members.?
Pettit-Majewski said being in the Corridor makes Washington well poised to attract more young families, like hers, to the community
Both candidates aknowledge the city is on the right track in several avenues. Pettit-Majewski said she is pleased to see the city partner with other communities to implement a housing study, commenting that safe and affordable housing is key to long-term health of the population and to economic development. She said government doesn?t move quickly and stressed that planning ahead, instead of reacting to a crisis, allows the city to be more effective with tax money. She commented she hopes to see the city continue its sewer system updates.
?I feel my experience would lend a different perspective to decision making at the local,? Pettit-Majewski said. ?I truly want to see Washington thrive, and I welcome the opportunity to help make that happen and represent Ward 1.?
Kendall believes the city is doing the right thing with its new water filtration system and sewage processing projects, calling both projects ?needs instead of wants.? He said the city needs to be taking steps to plan for their eventual replacement and in the meantime plan for their daily operations to keep expenditures at a minimum.
Kendall said he would be able to bring his professional skill as a CPA to work for the council as well as his skill as a good listener and even better questioner to help make informed decisions.
?I have a vision for the community that incorporates the old and the new, enhancing the vitalityof the community to attract and keep families, businesses and employees,? Kendall said. ?I envision Washington to be a financially stable, growing community in the southern corridor, with opportunities for health and recreation, retail and leisure, and quality living.?
The results of the election will be posted on the Washington Evening Journal website when they become available.