Ketchum Catches 3rd Ward Seat
WHEELING — Community organizer Rosemary Ketchum won her bid for the open 3rd Ward seat during Tuesday’s election, according to Ohio County’s unofficial vote totals.
Ketchum said she is ready to get to work as a councilwoman.
“I’m incredibly excited and grateful. I know this was a close race,” she said Tuesday night. “I think it shows how much people care about the 3rd Ward. … I’m excited to fulfill the promises I made and work for the 3rd Ward and and the entire city of Wheeling.”
Ketchum, the first transgender person to win a council seat in Wheeling, said although she did not campaign on the fact that she is a transgender woman, she does believe it is important and that “it matters a lot.”
Ketchum is also the first transgender person ever elected in West Virginia, according LGBTQ Victory Fund, an organization based in Washington, D.C.
However, she said, her work as a councilwoman will focus on improving the city in general.
“I think people had a lot more going on than thinking about a transgender candidate,” she said of the voters.
Her first item to tackle will be to work on finding a better solution for vacant properties in the city. She also wants to make sure there is “trust and transparency” in City Council for the residents of Wheeling.
“I’m very excited to work with the other candidates who have been elected,” Ketchum added.
Ketchum faced off against three other competitors to win the seat. She garnered 287 votes, while Peggy Niebergall received 272 votes; Jerome “Jake” Henry got 137 votes; and Erik Marple received 35 votes.
Ketchum, a resident of 14th Street in East Wheeling, works as a mental health professional at NAMI Greater Wheeling. She is a community organizer with a history of working on issues including poverty, addiction and civil rights at local and statewide levels.