WHEELING - Wheeling voters have the opportunity to meet the 27 candidates for city office when the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce hosts a candidate forum this spring.
The event is slated to take place from 7-9 p.m. April 26 at West Virginia Northern Community College.
"We wanted to get this information out early to make sure candidates and organizations know we are moving forward with plans for a (candidate forum)," said Terry Sterling, president of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce. "Our goal is to provide information to our membership and the public about candidates for public office. We feel it is important for the public to make informed decisions, and that it is our role to provide information."
Photo by Joselyn King
Terry Sterling, left, president of the Wheeling Area Chamber of Commerce, and Lisa M. Mullin, vice president of operations, examine the list of candidates for the May 8 election for city officials in Wheeling. The chamber will host a candidate forum April 26.
Names still could be added to the candidate list as mailed candidacy forms arrive at the Wheeling City Clerk's Office, and these will be accepted in the coming days as long as they have a postmark prior to the Jan. 28 deadline.
As of Monday evening, there were 27 candidates on the city's May 8 ballot.
There are two candidates for mayor, as East Wheeling property owner Jerome Poynton is challenging Mayor Andy McKenzie.
In the 1st Ward Councilwoman Gloria Delbrugge faces opposition from John Bishop, while eight candidates are seeking the 2nd Ward council seat - Charles Ballouz, James Burress, Alex Coogan, Tony Domenick, Ken Imer, Desmond Lekanudos, Steven McKenzie and Aaron T. Wilkinson.
Councilman Robert "Herk" Henry faces four opponents in the 3rd Ward and is being challenged by Christopher Dean, Duane Ellis, Chris Hamm and Ted Edwin Maxwell.
Those filing for the 4th Ward seat are Keith Bell, Randy Berisford, Mark Garrett, Marjorie Klemm and David C. Miller. And in the 5th Ward, Councilman Don Atkinson is being challenged by Lloyd Adams, Robert Boord and Perry Napier.
Councilman Gene Fahey in the 6th Ward is running unopposed.
"It's great so many candidates have decided to run," Sterling said. "There's a genuine interest in moving the city forward. I'm sure candidates have many views and feel it is important for them to run to move their agenda forward, and the city forward."
But he admitted the large number of candidates does present challenges as he and chamber officials plan the event, and the evening's format has yet to be finalized.
"We're not sure yet of the exact format, but we want to give everybody in the city the opportunity to meet the candidates," Sterling noted. "We want them to learn about the candidates, their concerns and what their plans are if they are elected or re-elected ...
"We have to design a format that is fair and equitable," he continued. "I will be meeting with our executive committee and our government affairs committee to finalize the details."
He foresees giving each candidate perhaps two minutes to introduce themselves and answer one set question.
After this, there would be a meet and greet session for the candidates and voters.