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Hahn has earned a second term

Steubenville residents will face an interesting choice when they vote for council at large in the Nov. 5 election.

Republican incumbent Kimberly Hahn is being challenged by nonparty candidate Michael Johnson and Democrat Michael Walenciej for the seat.

Each is campaigning on a platform that places emphasis on improving the quality of life in the community, each has a grasp of the issues that are facing local residents and each has a detailed vision for the city’s future. Hahn, however, brings four years of experience to the table and deserves to be re-elected.

The candidates agree that the city’s future success rests with making it a better place to live, work and play. Increasing the quality of life, each says, will help ease the city’s budget problems by attracting more residents to town, which, in turn, will lead to increased tax revenue. All favor the city’s continued involvement with the Jefferson County Port Authority.

Hahn, who speaks about faith and family and is the author of five books and contributor to several others, favors continued improvement of the city’s parks system through the use of existing money, obtaining grants and turning to volunteer help when city workers are not able to complete projects because they are stretched too thin. She points to improvements made at the Belleview Park swimming pool, including the renovation of the baby pool, as leading to increases in attendance. Renovation work being done at Beatty Park, she adds, will help to make the South End facility an attractive place to visit, improvements that will allow a major event to be staged there next fall.

Hahn favors improvements at the city marina and utilizing the recreation opportunities provided by the Ohio River. She points to the Meet Me at the Marina events held during the past year, including a free fishing day and the first Paddlefest and Battle of the Bands, as well as a jazz brunch and a candlelight dance.

Johnson, the director of corporate income tax audits with the Massachusetts Department of Revenue, is willing to take a different approach, saying City Council should provide the money needed to maintain the recreation system using paid employees instead of relying on volunteers. He believes there are too many obstacles to be overcome at the marina, including lack of parking, railroad tracks that are located too close to the facility and overall poor access.

The city’s former 2nd Ward councilman said that it should be kept clean because it is located at one of the city’s major entrances.

Walenciej, an EMT and music instructor who describes himself as a community organizer, favors development of an endowment system for funding the city’s park system and in improving access to the area’s trail system. He also supports expansion of free WiFi throughout the city and utilizing grants for improvements at the parks as well as tearing down dilapidated structures.

Each of the candidates offers a clear vision about the direction they want the city to move in. All are to be commended for being willing to stand up for what they believe in by facing the voters and for that they have earned the respect of everyone in the city.

Hahn, however, has shown continued growth in the position and a willingness to work with other members of council and the community, and should be re-elected as Steubenville’s councilwoman at large.

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