WASHINGTON COUNTY, Ohio (WTAP) - Belpre residents head to the polls a week from today to pick out a mayor and one glance at a city street in Belpre shows the city is about to see a competitive mayoral race. But, what made them want to run?
“People have been after me for the last eight years to run for mayor of Belpre. So after a lot of consideration, and a lot of deep thought about it, I knew I could do the duties of the job and make a difference for the community,” said Judith Drake, the Republican candidate.
Drake currently serves on Belpre City Council and she wants to enforce city ordinances she feels aren’t currently being enforced. She also wants to get more people involved in the political process.
“I want to show good leadership, organization and I also want to put things back on track, the way they need to be. Because if you have a structured management that is well organized and planned, then you can reach the goals, desires and needs of the community,” said Drake.
Independent candidate Romel “Boo” Henderson wants to make a difference in Belpre.
“You know, you always need growth and growth means I got to bring businesses here, in order to bring businesses here, I got to entice them. Why they want to bring their business here, why should they move families from a different location to here?” said Henderson.
Henderson believes fixing up the city park will entice businesses to bring families to Belpre. He also says he has learned a lot about being a mayor from working for the City of Parkersburg for 32 years.
“Each four years, you know, you get new candidates, so most of the time I got a new mayor, OK, so as you get a new mayor you tend to learn. Because I was in a supervisor position and I was closer to the mayor where I could experience stuff they were doing and what they were going through and what they were talking about,” said Henderson.
Current mayor and Democrat, Mike Lorentz, is wrapping up his twelfth year in office, but he is running for re-election. He hopes to attract some young families to Belpre.
“I can’t go back in history and find a time where we have had more jobs added to this city than we have in the last ten years,” said Lorentz.
Lorentz wants to continue economic growth in Belpre with the help of the economic development group.
“We’re all working together, collectively. Like a group or a team. It’s not two separate entities any more. And we get these businesses coming to town and that’s where the growth will be. Like I said, we got to have younger families moving in here, and that’s exciting. You know, every time someone tells me they’re looking at a building or a piece of property, I’m ready to go,” said Lorentz.
A common goal for each candidate is to improve Belpre’s infrastructure, though each candidate is different and it is up to the voter to decide who becomes mayor.