STRUTHERS, Ohio (WKBN) – Four candidates are running for mayor in Struthers.
Non-party candidate, Richard Sheeler declined to an interview, but the other three candidates talked to WKBN about why they are running for the position.
“It’s something I have wanted to do since I was in high school,” said candidate Danny Thomas.
Thomas is the endorsed Democratic candidate and a former Struthers city councilman and council president.
Thomas, who was born in Youngstown, has worked as a political consultant for the last several election cycles for the Ohio Democratic Party, We Are Ohio and America Votes. For four years, he served as administrative assistant to former Mayor Dan Mamula.
In February, Thomas addressed concerns about a previous conviction for using a telephone to distribute drugs in the late 1980s. He has since received a pardon from then-President Bill Clinton, and he said he has atoned for his mistakes.
“The people of Struthers have recognized that. They voted me into office three times, and they have put me in the positions of trust in several organizations since then. So I am here to work for the people of the city of Struthers,” Thomas said in the February interview.
Thomas has previously said his top three priorities, if elected, would be to work with Astro Shapes and CASTLO to help them aggressively market their properties to spur economic development and bring jobs to the city, strengthen neighborhoods by enforcing housing and rental codes and taking down blighted properties, and bring transparency to city government.
Thomas said his goal is also to get new faces into city departments.
“I want to change the hiring practices, take nepotism out of it,” he said. “I want to make sure that everybody has all the property codes are administered as fairly and as equally across the board.”
Richard DeLuca, running as a non-party candidate, said he has a new vision for the city. He currently works as a wastewater and environmental consultant.
DeLuca said he would like to spur more commercial development downtown.
“Our commercial businesses downtown area used to have, we have two good restaurants down there, Don Vita’s and Selah’s, but that’s about it, and you need to have more than that to have a town… and people go through that downtown, so those commercial buildings need to be addressed.”
DeLuca has lived in Struthers for 23 years with his family, and he managed his family’s restaurant until he was hired in 1977 as a janitor under the Man Power Program, according to DeLuca’s election website. When the program ended, he was hired as a skilled laborer in the City of Campbell’s wastewater plant.
DeLuca later worked as the wastewater manager of Struthers, retiring from the city in 2010 as the storm water pollution control manager. He was elected as the COPE Local Union president in 1986.
His website said that his work experience and union presidency have given him the skills needed for the job. He said his commitment to the city is evident.
“… my desire comes from knowing the City of Struthers. It is where my children and grandchildren live and where I reside as a business owner. Our City is a sleeping giant that has been land locked by the terrible administrative decision of the past,” DeLuca’s website says.
Incumbent Mayor Terry Stocker did not run in the primary in May for health reasons, but after he was cleared medically, he said he was encouraged to run as a write-in candidate. His name will not be on the ballot, so voters would have to write his name on the ballot.
Stocker said he wants to continue the progress the city has made during his seven and half years as mayor.
“I have a five-year, four-year plan ahead of us to continue to go after the substandard homes, the slum and blighted areas to protect the property values of the community,” he said.
During Stocker’s time as mayor, he, or his designee, has served on various regional boards, including the Eastgate Council of Governments, Mahoning Valley Economic Development Corporation, CASTLO, Community Improvement Corporation, Youngstown Area Community Action Council and the Mahoning County Tax Incentive Review Board.
Stocker has worked to demolish blight in the city, revitalize the downtown area and bring business into the area. More recently, he worked with Aqua Ohio during the decision to move its division headquarters to the CASTLO Industrial Park.
To see a complete list of what will be on your ballot, visit the links below:
· Mahoning Co: <http://www.voterfind.com/mahoningoh/ballotlist.aspx>
· Trumbull Co: <http://tcvote.com/index.php/elections/current-results>
· Columbiana Co: <http://www.voterfind.com/columbianaoh/vtrlookup.aspx>
· Mercer Co: <https://www.mcc.co.mercer.pa.us/election/Ballots/default.cfm>
· Lawrence Co: <http://co.lawrence.pa.us/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/2015-UMOVA-Candidates-List-Sheet1.pdf>