Retired officer wins 6th Ward council position
STEUBENVILLE – Retired city police officer Robert Villamagna easily won Tuesday’s Democrat primary election for the 6th Ward city council seat, besting Robert Chapman and Daniel Thorne in a three-way race of political newcomers.
The seat came open when incumbent 6th Ward Councilman David Lalich announced earlier this year he would not seek re-election.
No Republican filed for the ward seat, and no independent candidate filed before the deadline, which means Villamagna will be unopposed in November’s general election.
“I am very happy and very elated and very appreciative of my family and friends who helped win this election,” Villamagna said Tuesday night.
He garnered 422 votes, while Chapman received 187 votes and Thorne finished with 21 votes, according to unofficial results from the Jefferson County Board of Elections.
“I can’t wait to get involved in helping to turn our city around. I will continue attending City Council meetings for the rest of the year because I want to hit the ground running in January,” Villamagna said.
Villamagna campaigned on several issues, including changing the city’s appearance.
“I spent a day riding a Steel Valley Regional Transit Authority bus and this town is filthy. What I saw on some streets of LaBelle and Pleasant Heights was appalling. I would see someone sweeping the sidewalk in front of their house and a pile of trash in front of the house next door. And the high amount of traffic in those neighborhoods is a lot different from when I was a kid growing up in Steubenville,” he said in a pre-election interview.
“I believe our town must be taken back from the drug dealers. No outside company is going to come to Steubenville with the current trouble. We need a strong police department and a police presence. We may have to look at cuts elsewhere in order to allocate more money to the police department,” Villamagna said.
“Our roads are deplorable. Lovers Lane and John Scott Highway are a disgrace. Those roads should not have been allowed to get to the current state. Everyone has been talking but the time for talk is past. It is time for action. I can’t change the city by myself. It will take a team effort of all of the council members and the city residents. I want to do the right thing for our city. A lot of people may not like my decisions and a lot of people will like them. It is time for some tough decisions and I plan on making the right decisions. I have no personal agenda. But I understand this city,” stated Villamagna.
“I also feel we should hold council meetings in the different wards of the city. Hold a meeting on LaBelle and walk out after the meeting at 9 p.m. and know how the people who live in that neighborhood feel. We need a true zero tolerance approach to the criminal elements in our city. We need to let those criminals know they won’t be tolerated,” commented Villamagna.
“My only pledge to the residents is I will look everyone in the eye and won’t make promises I can’t keep. I will do my best,” Villamagna said.
“I thought we all ran very clean campaigns. I commend Bob Chapman and Danny Thorne for their campaigns, and I encourage them to stay involved in the city,” stated Villamagna.