Bethany Municipal Election Scheduled For Tuesday
BETHANY — The municipal elections in Bethany are scheduled for Tuesday at the Bethany Community Center from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Shirley Kemp is running against Thom Furbee for mayor of the town of Bethany.
Kemp said she has strong roots in the community that come with experience. She is a member and trustee of Castleman Run United Methodist Church and a coach and board member of Brooke County Special Olympics.
“I have also worked with the last three mayors, eight years as town treasurer and four years as a councilwoman,” noted Kemp. “I have worked at Bethany College for more than 50 years.”
Kemp’s current role at Bethany College is the director of advancement services with responsibilities for management of the alumni and development database, gift entry and reporting.
Kemp, 72, is running on a themed campaign of “Enhance and Protect.”
“It means that I will do my best to enhance the natural beauty of this wonderful town while protecting our heritage, our residents and what has been the ‘Bethany’ that residents and Bethany College alumni love,” said Kemp.
Kemp added that streets will be her top priority if elected.
“The state of West Virginia owns our streets but has done nothing but minor patching for 20 years or more,” noted Kemp. “The state has been given a list of those most traveled and most in need of repair. I will do my best to keep pushing for repaving.”
Additionally, Kemp is focused on security.
“Protecting the town also means working closely with the college,” Kemp said. “No one wants to think about an active shooter but it’s happening more and more on college campuses today. I will work with our town police and Bethany College security to make sure we are prepared. I will have a notification system for all residents in place.”
To continue to ensure Bethany remains fiscally responsible, Kemp said she will use her past knowledge as town treasurer to stay within budget.
“I would like to explore some outside funding for some special projects,” noted Kemp.
Furbee, 66, said running for mayor will give him the opportunity to give back to the community.
“Bethany has been good to me and my wife, Kathy,” said Furbee. “Having retired from Bethany College and having served as a council member, I feel I’m qualified to be mayor and have the time to devote to the job.”
Furbee has served three years on the Bethany Sanitation Commission and two terms on council.
“I was asked to serve on the sanitation board during the second phase of the multi-million dollar upgrade to the facility,” noted Furbee. “I got a taste of what it takes to run a small town. After serving on the board for a few years, I decided to run for town council, primarily because I noticed that the same people were running unopposed. I wanted to give our citizens a choice and I was elected. I served two terms on council, and during that time I was instrumental in passing a hotel occupancy tax that created new revenue.”
If elected as mayor, Furbee said his goals will continue to be bringing revenue into Bethany.
“I plan to work to fix our roads, to promote the town to the wider northern West Virginia area and beyond,” noted Furbee. “I’ll look for ways of generating additional revenue. I plan to work with the college and the park association any way I can to build on our relationships to increase visitor traffic. I plan to lobby our representatives in the county, Charleston and Washington to secure funds and other means of support to improve our infrastructure and community services.”
Having retired from Bethany College on May 11, Furbee said he will give the town the attention it deserves.
“The citizens of Bethany deserve a full-time mayor,” said Furbee. “The college and the town are inextricably linked; however, the interests of the town are not always perfectly aligned with the interests of the college. If elected, my only obligation will be to the town, and I won’t allow interlopers to use Bethany to promote agendas not in the town’s best interest.”
Furbee said his top focuses will be to make sure police and fire departments have the resources they need to serve the community, secure funding to improve roads, to promote tourism, to identify ways of creating revenue and to work with other community leaders to prepare for the economic development that gas and oil production and the coming bridge to Ohio will undoubtedly bring to the panhandle.
“Bethany can and will have a prominent place in the future of Brooke County and northern West Virginia,” said Furbee. “I would like the opportunity to help make Bethany a positive force in that future while being mindful of the fragile nature of our local economy.”
In addition to Kemp and Furbee, Bethany will have six candidates running for the five council-at-large seats available.
Ed Dully, Jan Forsty, Helen Moren, Sydma Hatzopoulos, Lindsey Gilbert Tredway and Patrick Sutherland will be running.