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Forum Introduces Staunton City Council Candidates - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Forum Introduces Staunton City Council Candidates

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STAUNTON, Va (WVIR) -

Three Staunton City Council positions are about to be up for grabs but a total of eight are vying for the coveted seats. From restaurant owners to TV producers, the candidates come from a range of professional backgrounds.

Wednesday night, the Staunton Senior Center hosted a City Council candidates’ forum, where the candidates covered a variety of topics, such as why they decided to run.

Walter Obenschain, a retired parole officer, said, “With all that we've been blessed my family and myself over the years that this is one way that I can serve you and pay it forward.”

Candidates also touched on the subject of providing top quality education.

“That will make sure that we have stability down the road and also make some excitement and a little vision in those youth that come up today,” said retired businessman Kenneth Venable.

Giving students an up-to-date space for learning is a priority for some candidates.

“I would like to see the renovation, or the new construction of a technologically sound and green Lee High School,” said school teacher Shelley Bryant.

Candidates talked about attracting and retaining those same young people.

“See a way that we can lift up our potential workforce, so that we can woo in businesses,” said TV producer Virginia Kivlighan.

Web developer Sean Harvey said, “There's been a proposal for the greenway on the shelf since 2005. I would like to see that pushed through. A number of young people also ask us for simple things like a dog park.”

“All of those things come with a cost and the way we're going to meet that cost has got to be an accelerated economic growth,” said retired businessman John Hartless.

Candidates had ideas for how to grow the economy.

“We envision a mixed-use development where it would not just be retail, but there's opportunity for biotech, industry,” said incumbent councilor and CPA Carolyn Dull.

One thing is for sure: all the candidates celebrate the charm of the Queen City.

“I think the city has been going in the right direction and we've had good leadership over the years and I'd like to see it continue,” said restaurant owner R. Terry Holmes.

Another forum takes place next Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. in the American Shakespeare Center.

Election Day is May 6.

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