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Five candidates seek three Wintersville council seats in Nov. 2 election

WINTERSVILLE — Voters in the Nov. 2 general election will decide which of five candidates will fill three at large Wintersville Council seats.

They are: Brad Degenkolb of 134 Karen Place, Carmen DeStefano of 110 Woodland Park, Jason Mattern of 173 Meadow Road, Bob Merriman of 433 Eisenhower Road and Randy Spence of 173 Rex Ave.

Degenkolb was appointed to fill Robert Martin’s council seat when he was appointed mayor following the resignation of Bob Gale earlier this year.

DeStefano is a challenger to him and incumbents Mattern, Merriman and Spence.

Prior to his appointment in May, Degenkolb served on council from 2016 to 2019.

He has been a member of the volunteer committee behind First Wednesdays in Wintersville and is on the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

He has been employed since 2004 as director of sales and marketing for the Weirton-Steubenville Area Holiday Inn, through which he said he has learned to work with the public, small businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Degenkolb said if elected, he will ensure the village’s departments are equipped to make it safe, secure and welcoming; support the administration’s efforts to secure grants for infrastructural improvements; and be accessible and open to residents’ concerns or questions and strive to find solutions for them.

DeStefano earned an associate degree in business management from Eastern Gateway Community College is employed as a production equipment operator at AK Steel’s Mountain State Carbon plant and owner-operator of DeStefano Real Estate, a company that buys, sells and rents properties in Wintersville and Steubenville.

He said he’s learned through his work experience to communicate effectively and work with others as a team.

DeStefano said if elected, he will push for raises for the village’s first responders and other staff; support locally owned businesses and work to attract new ones; and make maintenance of and improvements to the village’s parks, walkways and facilities a priority.

Mattern is employed as an operations, quality and regulatory compliance manager at SAL Chemical in Weirton.

He said if he’s re-elected, infrastructural improvements and fiscal responsibility will remain his top priorities.

Mattern noted Fernwood, Luray, Winters and Grandview have been paved as scheduled and several others are to follow while water or sewer line replacements are under way or scheduled for several areas.

He said he’d also work with others for “a more effective pay and benefit package for our police force and village workers” while maintaining a stable general fund.

Mattern said he’ll continue to represent the village on the Jefferson County Regional Planning Commission and Seven Ranges Fire District.

Merriman has served on council for 14 years, chairing its finance committee each of them and serving as council president for eight.

The owner for 24 years of the Wintersville Trophy Shop and B&B Screen Printing, he is financial secretary for Knights of Columbus Council 472 and works with volunteers with the Josh Merriman Foundation to promote mental health awareness and suicide prevention.

He said if re-elected, he will work with police officials to retain and attract new officers; push for improvements to roads and other infrastructure using grants to keep taxes and fees down for residents; and as chairman of the recreation committee, work for such additions as a basketball court, splash pad and pavilion to the park behind the Village Building.

After serving 10 years in data center management for the U.S. Department of Defense, Spence has worked for 25 years for FedEx as an information technology risk and compliance business adviser, which has involved managing IT subcontractors for the company.

He said if re-elected, he will work to give the public “a deeper, in-depth understanding of where their taxpayer dollars are going” and “utilize my knowledge and governing skills to present a safe, clean and productive environment for the village.”

“My philosophy as a councilman is always to stay out of the gray areas on any topic presented. If you stay out of the gray areas, it is easier to maintain focus and keep moving forward,” he said.

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