Friday, July 25, 2014

Candidates pop into city race

By DOUG CARDER, Herald Senior Writer | 1/23/2013

Helen Hood and Mike Skidmore added their names to the roster of candidates to fill three open positions on the Ottawa City Commission this spring.

The pair, who filed Tuesday before the noon deadline, joined incumbents Linda Reed and Jeff Richards and former city commissioner Rocky Fleer in the race. Longtime commissioner and five-time mayor Gene Ramsey did not seek re-election. Ramsey has served on the commission since 1994.

Helen Hood and Mike Skidmore added their names to the roster of candidates to fill three open positions on the Ottawa City Commission this spring.

The pair, who filed Tuesday before the noon deadline, joined incumbents Linda Reed and Jeff Richards and former city commissioner Rocky Fleer in the race. Longtime commissioner and five-time mayor Gene Ramsey did not seek re-election. Ramsey has served on the commission since 1994.

The general election is set for April 2. A primary will not be needed, because the race did not attract 10 or more candidates, Janet Paddock, Franklin County clerk, said Tuesday.

Mike Skidmore

Mike Skidmore, the former chairman of Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, also talked about his desire to see the community grow and be prosperous.

“I think Ottawa is on a positive trajectory,” Skidmore, 56, said. “And should I be fortunate enough to be elected, I would like to be a small part of helping guide that trajectory.”

Skidmore, vice president and branch manager of Garnett State Savings Bank, who works in its Ottawa and Pomona locations, said he is an advocate of measured growth.

“I think measured growth is best, and I think it’s important that Ottawa be prepared for growth,” Skidmore said. “I think with the new railroad intermodal facility [near Gardner and Edgerton], we will see a lot of changes in the next three to five years, and Ottawa is well-positioned geographically to capitalize on that growth.”

Skidmore, who also is a member of the bank’s board of directors, said he thinks some great people are currently serving on the city commission, and he would like to be a part of the commission’s efforts to prepare for the future.

“I think Ottawa’s future looks bright, and I would like to play a part in helping lead the preparation for growth,” he said.

Helen Hood

Hood, 67, who has lived in the community for about 50 years, said she has a passion for Ottawa and wants to see the community grow and prosper. Hood said she has been an active proponent of local economic development and has served on committee positions with the Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce and Ottawa Main Street Association.

She said she would like to see additional improvements made downtown, such as the installation of public restrooms. Hood said she also would like the city to promote a business-friendly climate to attract more businesses, promote economic growth and encourage more people to spend time in Ottawa’s historic downtown district, as well as other areas of the community.

“I think the current commission has done a good job of making improvements to streets and sidewalks and parks, and I would like to be a part of keeping that effort going,” Hood, who also is active in Ottawa’s Communities in Schools program, said.

Hood, who unsuccessfully ran for commissioner in 2011, said she gained valuable experience in that first campaign.

“I think I would make a good commissioner,” Hood said. “There are some good people on the commission, and I would like the opportunity to work with them and the city staff to continue to help Ottawa prosper.”

[Editor’s note: Interviews with incumbents Reed and Richards and challenger Fleer can be found in The Herald’s Jan. 7 and Jan. 15 editions.]

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