Candidates in three of the contested wards in the April 27 City Council election won’t appear on the ballot.
This year’s City Council election poses a particular challenge for voters: Because many of the hopefuls are late-entry, write-in candidates whose names won’t be printed on the ballot, voters really need to know the names of their candidates of choice before they vote.
With the inclusion of four official write-in candidates, 13 candidates are running for Council this cycle. Two current Council members run unopposed in their wards, and the remaining five wards are contested. Remember, Council members represent the city at large, so everyone can vote for a candidate from each ward.
Also on the ballot this year is a referendum on changing the term of office for Council members from concurrent two-year terms to staggered four-year terms.
You can register to vote through April 6, and early voting runs from April 14 through 24.
A lifelong resident of Monongalia County, Patrick Hathaway has lived in Morgantown since 2015 and works in WVU’s Office of the Registrar. He has served as president of the First Ward Neighborhood Association since 2017 and, in that role, makes it a point to invite representatives of the city’s various departments to present at neighborhood association meetings. He’s also served on the Board of Parks and Recreation since 2017. He wants to serve on City Council because he wants to make Morgantown a better place to live and to encourage residents to be more vocal about what they want to see in town. On Council, he says he’d continue to pursue his involvement in parks and recreation, and he’d also like to see the city improve sidewalks more actively.
Seth Collins (write-in candidate)
Morgantown native Seth Collins is a student at WVU, expecting to graduate in May with a degree in Recreation, Parks, and Tourism Resources. He feels strongly about improving downtown for entrepreneurs, property owners, and residents and visitors. The issues he is most interested in are the repurposing of the former Ramada Inn for social services, downtown revitalization, promotion of waterfront recreation and leisure opportunities, and creating initiatives to keep young people in Morgantown. Collins writes music and plays piano and guitar and sings in two bands in town. He will be a Trail Town intern with the Friends of Cheat this summer and will continue his education in the fall in WVU’s Master of Public Administration program with an emphasis in local governance and community development.
Currently in his fourth two-year term on Council, retired graphic designer Bill Kawecki served as mayor 2017–19. Kawecki serves on the Historic Landmarks Commission, the Housing Advisory Commission, and the Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Commission. He runs unopposed.
Paul Liller (write-in candidate)
Did not send responses to our questions; learn about Liller at @paullillerforcitycouncil.
Ixya Vega (write-in candidate)
Ixya Vega has lived in Morgantown since she came to WVU as an undergrad in 2016. Passionate about community work and grassroots organizing to create change, Vega has worked on statewide and national issues and currently works as the field organizer for Planned Parenthood Votes! South Atlantic in West Virginia. She wants to serve on City Council to represent and advocate for young people and people of color. On Council, she says she would support outdoor recreation and parks, activities that highlight Morgantown’s small businesses, and community projects that make Morgantown even more beautiful and diverse. She wants the city’s decisionmaking to be accessible to Morgantown residents of every race, gender, religion, and class.
Madison, Wisconsin, native Selin raised her family in Morgantown. A mediator by profession, Selin serves on the Health and Wellness Commission, Campus Neighborhoods Revitalization Corporation, the Morgantown Monongalia Metropolitan Planning Organization, the Airport Advisory Commission, and the Board of Parks and Recreation Commissioners. She runs unopposed.
Tony Setley moved to Morgantown in 2017. He’s a Lutheran pastor and Army National Guard chaplain and he coaches middle school football. Setley has a bachelor’s degree in political science with a focus on local and state government and, before moving to Morgantown, he served on a governmental board overseeing mental health and recovery in Ohio. If elected to Council, he wants to address a breakdown in city administrative processes he sees in recent city authorization of construction on private property. He would also work to improve trash pick-up. Setley believes the people, parks, and amenities Morgantown has to offer make it a great place to work, live, and play and wants to make sure what is broken is fixed and what is good gets even better.
West Virginia native Danielle Trumble has lived in Morgantown for 17 years. She is a homeschooling mother and runs a baking business. Trumble loves to hike and bike. She worked hard to re-energize the Woodburn Association of Neighbors and is in her third term as its president; she also serves as president of a nonprofit benefiting mothers and their children. At the city level, Trumble serves on the Main Street Morgantown Events and Promotions Committee, the Board of Parks and Recreation, the Health & Wellness Commission, and the Traffic Commission. She feels like a seat on Council would allow her to build on her work for the city and its people. Her campaign is focused on four main issues: business / downtown, neighborhoods, parks / greenspace, and improved collaboration with other entities.
Marly Ynigues has lived in West Virginia for eight years and served on City Council in Elkins from 2017 to 2019. In her two years in Morgantown, she’s become a member of the Mountain Line Transit Authority and the Woodburn School Redevelopment Commission. She supports local jobs for small businesses, artists, and artisans as well as the creation of community spaces, including a senior recreation park that would include wellness equipment and green space. Ynigues says she is a newlywed, and Morgantown is where she and her husband have chosen to build their life together. If elected, she pledges to respond to constituents’ concerns within 48 hours.
Currently serving his first term on Council, Dave Harshbarger has been a wellness professional for over 30 years, most of that at WVU, where he helps people and organizations make strategies for increasing safety, health, and well-being. He worked for city and county clean indoor air regulations in the previous decade and has long served on the board of the Mon River Trails Conservancy. Harshbarger ran for Council to lend his expertise to policymaking—looking at policy initiatives through the lens of improving community health and well-being. He has a strong interest in pedestrian and cycling issues, including sidewalks.
Jay Redmond (write-in candidate)
Previously a member of City Council from 2015 to 2017, lifelong Morgantown resident Jay Redmond attended college and law school at WVU. Among his work-life accomplishments, he has operated five successful small businesses and has developed and directed small- and large-scale special events in Morgantown and the region. Redmond believes Council’s overwhelming focus should be on the improvement of services to residents: better police protection, fire protection, streets, trash services, recreational opportunities, and economic development. He and his wife raised two daughters; he’s delivered meals for Meals on Wheels for almost a decade; and he’s a Court Appointed Special Advocate for abused and neglected children in Monongalia County as well as a caretaker for his 94-year-old mother and 97-year-old uncle.
Brian Butcher has lived in Morgantown for 10 years and currently works as assistant manager at the Xfinity store. As a musician and a father of two sons, Butcher is particularly interested in the arts and in making Morgantown a great place to raise a family. He was homeless for a period when he lived in Huntington, and his top issues are homelessness, the high price of housing in Morgantown, and increasing the stock of affordable housing. He’s also interested in effective access to treatment for drug addiction, inclusion and equality of all minorities, cheap means of conveyance for everyone, and accountability for all elected officials and law enforcement. He wants to serve on Council to give back to the community and to leave the city better for his two sons.
Did not send responses to our questions; learn about Mayle at @mayleforcitycouncil.