Two years ago, Kevin Knowles made an unsuccessful bid to gain one of the at-large seats on the Martinsburg City Council.
This year, Knowles, 53, of 127 W. South St. is trying again, this time for the Ward 2 seat held by incumbent Councilman Richard Yauger.
Yauger, 79, of 300 Silver Lane is a 20-year-council veteran. He retired as a project analyst in the applied physics lab at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.
He said he is more than qualified to seek another term because his history on the council has given him an understanding of how the city’s money is spent.
“I also work well with the city manager, and I have great rapport with the employees,” he said.
Yauger said he’s running again because the residents in Ward 2 “want someone who will work for them. They have been very gracious to keep putting me in all these years.”
Echoing the opinions of most of this election’s candidates, Knowles said the major issue facing the city is the need to complete the Raleigh Street Extension project. The city’s day-to-day operation is another important issue, he said.
Knowles, head of vendor security for Roach Energy, said his professional leadership skills plus those that he applies to volunteer positions “in the nonprofit arena” help qualify him for a seat on the council.
He is past president of the local Kiwanis Club and a member of the board of directors of the Martinsburg/Berkeley County Chamber of Commerce. He also served on the city’s zoning board and represented the city on the Region Nine planning agency.
He said he’s running because he and his wife, Dana, have been involved in the city since they moved to Martinsburg nine years ago. They own a couple of North Queen Street businesses, including Dana’s Tuxedo and Day’Javu, which includes secondhand clothing, dry cleaning, alterations and shoe-repair services.
Knowles said the revitalization of the downtown business core is the city’s most pressing problem.
“We need to sustain and build a better tax base,” he said.
The key is to bring in more destination businesses, he said.
Council members are paid $2,400 per year and serve four-year terms.