TROY — Troy City Council has two residents seeking to fill vacancies in their respective wards for the 2022-2023 term.
Jeffrey Whidden is a write-in candidate for the first ward. That seat was recently vacated by former council member Zachary Allen who resigned Monday. No other opposition filed for the first ward seat.
Kristie Marshall filed to run for the second ward seat as a Republican in the May 4 Primary. Resident Loretta Phillips filed as a Democrat for the second ward seat, but her petition was rejected due to errors on the petition and lack of valid signatures.
The Second Ward seat is currently occupied by John Terwilliger. Terwilliger did not refile for another term to represent the Second Ward due to retirement.
Marshall is a teacher’s aide for the Troy City Schools for 17 years and an instructor at Board and Brush for four years. She and her husband John have two children.
Marshall shared how her grandmother, the late Jean Melvin, was an active member of Troy City Council and is happy to follow in her footsteps.
Marshall said she’s seeking to serve on Troy City Council because after graduation from Miami East High School, she traveled the world as an Army wife. In those travels, she said she wanted her children to grow up in a great community like she did. When she and her husband John were able to move back, they chose Troy as their home once again.
“Luckily, we were able to move back while our children were still young so that they could have that positive experience of growing up in this city as well,” she said. “I want to ensure that other families have those same opportunities. Troy is a great city and I want to help keep it that way.”
Whidden is a 2002 Troy High School graduate and an Ohio State University graduate with a degree in history and political science. He works in the steel industry for Scott Steel.
Whidden said he wants to serve on Troy City Council “to help maintain and improve upon the sense of civic pride found in Troy. The city does and should hold its self to a high standard … I aim to move the standard higher still.”
Whidden said his goal as a council member is to make sure “there is focus on economic opportunity for every citizen and small business in the city. The year 2020 was a tough year for small businesses and they need our support more than ever going forward.”
Marshall said her goal as a member of council is “to reduce the amount of tax dollars spent on projects that aren’t needed while making sure that the citizens still receive the city services that they have come to expect.”
Marshall said the greatest need in the city of Troy is “making sure that the values of City Hall match those of the citizens.”
“I want to keep Troy the community that it is while also helping it evolve so that we can continue to bring in businesses, new neighborhoods, and people that want to call the city home,” she said.
Whidden said the greatest need in Troy is related to crime.
Whidden said, “In parts of the First Ward, it seems like there has been an uptick in crime in the first quarter of 2021. While I have not seen the data to back this up, it’s definitely a concern that has been raised by voters that I have spoken to. If I were to be elected, I would ask Troy Police Department’s Chief Shawn McKinney what is already being done and what other steps we could take to make sure our streets are safe.”
In terms of civic areas in need of improvement, Marshall said, “Communication with city hall seems to be an ongoing issue. Mayor Robin Oda took it upon herself to share a great deal of information with the citizens as both a council member and as Mayor and I think that is a step in the right direction. I want to make sure that the citizens of Troy not only understand what is happening but also have a say in the outcome.”
Whidden said he’d like to see more fiscal transparency as a council member.
“I have been talking with residents of the First Ward this spring and what I am hearing more often than not are questions about our tax dollars and where and how they are spent,” Whidden said. “I would like to see an effort made to get more people to council meetings and to make sure they know about all of the online resources available to them to view council meetings, for them to see our city government in action, and allowing citizens to better understand the destination of our tax dollars as well for them to make sure their voices are heard at city hall.”
Whidden said one area that he believes the city of Troy is doing well is in the parks and recreation department.
“I have been very impressed with the direction and growth of the parks department over the years,” he said ” Our parks are a part of Troy that every person can enjoy. While it seems like Troy is always expanding, it is important to make sure we always have green spaces for children to play, families to connect, and local wildlife to live.”
Marshall said Troy is doing well with its downtown events and bringing the community together.
“I like the events downtown on the Public Square which brings people together and helps the local businesses as well. I would like to see these events continue and maybe even expand,” she said.