MARTINSBURG, W.Va. —The candidates running for the Ward 3 seat on Martinsburg City Council in the June 12 municipal election reside in the same block on the same street.
Larry Rogers, 49, of 825 Honeysuckle Drive, hopes to unseat incumbent Max Parkinson, 77, of 803 Honeysuckle Drive.
Rogers, a business operations manager for AT&T, cited his work on projects that have netted the communications company millions of dollars in savings when asked about what qualifies him to serve on city council.
In more than 15 years with the company, Rogers said he has managed a large budget for circuits the company purchased and wrote monthly newsletters about ideas that employees could use to minimize expenses. He currently works with the company’s Amtrak account.
Parkinson said his 23 years on the city council qualify him to serve another term. Parkinson said he also stands on his record and added that he thinks he has a very good relationship with city residents as a whole, not just in Ward 3.
Parkinson said the most pressing issue Martinsburg faces is making the city more attractive for new businesses.
“Working harder in that line to attract new businesses — that, in my opinion, benefits everyone,” Parkinson said.
Rogers said bringing businesses back to Martinsburg and “lowering the impediments” to attract business were the most pressing issue for the city. Rogers said last week there are more than 23 vacant storefronts along Queen Street in the downtown area.
Rogers said he is running for city council because he wants to encourage development of activities in Martinsburg so his family doesn’t have to travel to Winchester, Va., or Hagerstown for things to do.
“We want to keep our money here,” Rogers said.
Parkinson, who is retired, said he considers his service on the city council a full-time job that he loves to do.
“I really like the job, I love the job ... I want to support the people that supported me,” Parkinson said.
Parkinson said the city managed to avoid raising taxes and hasn’t laid off city employees when the economy has been bad.
“We have a council that works together as a team,” Parkinson said.