There are four races for the town of Claypool’s election on Tuesday, with three of the eight candidates responding to a recent questionnaire.
One candidate - Libertarian Paul Mullins for the North District council seat - dropped out of the race, but his name will still appear on the ballot, he said, because he decided to drop out too late to have his name removed. He was running against Republican Benny R. Stage Jr., incumbent, who did not submit his answers to the questionnaire.
Also not responding with answers by the deadline were Republican Miranda N. Stage and Libertarian Pat Warner for the town clerk-treasurer race; and Republican Nate Morton for the Center District.
Morton is facing Democrat Elizabeth Heiman for the Center District. She did return her answers but did not supply a photo.
Both candidates for the South District council seat - Republican Eugene “Gene” Warner and Democrat Dave Morgan - responded to the three questions posed to them.
The questions asked, and the candidates’ responses, were:
1. If elected, what would be your top priority for the town of Claypool over the next four years?
Dave Morgan: My top priority for the town of Claypool would be what I call residential respect. Claypool residents should be respected and represented. For too long there has been what seems like a down-hill approach to governing in Claypool. Agenda and personal gains seem to have taken over in place of representational governance. I have listened to the people and I understand where they are coming from.
Gene Warner: Continue working with engineers and other board members on receiving grants to obtain money to take care of our wastewater project to satisfy IDEM requirements to be in compliance. We would then be able to move forward on the new housing addition. We have been working on this, but can’t move forward until our wastewater plan is completed.
Liz Heiman: Seek opportunity for growth to attract current and future residents to Claypool. Work on transportation for people to get to work and play.
2. What skills, experiences or other attributes make you the best candidate for the position?
Dave Morgan: My parents raised me to respect everyone. Some people argue that is a weakness but that's OK. I still respect that opinion, I just don't agree with it. And that's what make me right for the job. I may not agree with you, but I will respect you and try to find the best solution for that matter.
Gene Warner: I’ve lived in the town of Claypool for 72 years. I was the superintendent of the town for 28 years and retired in 2019. I have attended almost all board meetings. I was the town marshal for 20 years. I am currently a town council member and have been for the last three years. I was a volunteer fireman for the town for 39 years, serving as assistant chief and chief. I have my master’s in fire and arson investigation. The department serves Claypool and Clay Township.
My opinion is I am the most qualified as a present board member to be re-elected.
Liz Heiman: My elected experience in this community helps me to see priorities as they relate to the needs of our town.
3. What is one area where you think the town of Claypool could improve on and, if elected, how would you work to make that improvement happen?
Dave Morgan: Long-term vision is what needs improved the most. Since I have lived in Claypool, our board has been reactionary. And that's all they had to do. It never seemed like there was a goal or vision to achieve. Starting with the budget is a great example. Here's what we have to pay, here's what we have to pay it with, is how it's currently being looked at. I look ahead and want to find any and all grants/monies available to help plan a better future for Claypool. That's where I want to make the difference. Claypool is an amazing community with great people that feel like they aren't being heard. I say I hear you and that's why I'm running.
Gene Warner: An area that needs worked on is to clean up areas of the town that have run-down houses. We need to TIF the whole town so the TIF Board and members can buy these houses and build new ones after the wastewater problem is solved.
In the near future, we would like to repave all streets and install new curbs and sidewalks. New stormwater is needed on these areas. Continue to work on getting new businesses to come to town.
Liz Heiman: I would like to see us come together for neighborhood improvement, more community engagement. Get the young people involved in their town.