Springfield residents will have three candidates to select from in the City of Springfield Mayor’s race, but only one is on the November ballot.
Incumbent Mayor Warren Copeland is the only candidate on the ballot. Fred Stegner and Renea Turner, are running as write-ins.
Election day is Nov. 5. Early voting has already begun at the Clark County Board of Elections. Those interested in voting for a write-in candidate must write-in the candidates full name with correct spelling.
The City of Springfield has 60,000 residents, an almost $38 million annual budget and about 570 employees.
Here is more information on who is running:
Mayor Warren Copeland
Copeland has served as Springfield’s mayor for 25 nonconsecutive years.
“I hope people think I’ve done a good job in all my years and continue to want me to do a good job for the city,” Copeland said.
Copeland, a retired religion professor at Wittenberg University, was first elected to the Springfield City Commission in 1988. From there, he was appointed into a variety of city positions until he was selected to serve as mayor by the commission. He was mayor from 1990-94 and then again from 1998-2003. In 2003, once the city moved to direct election of the mayor position, Copeland was elected in 2003 and has served since.
Copeland was elected to his fourth consecutive term as mayor in 2015 with about 63% of the vote, according to the Clark County Board of Elections.
Copeland said one of the main reasons he made the decision to run for mayor again was because of all the things he feels are currently a work-in-progress in Springfield.
“I think the city is in a significant transition,” Copeland said. “There are a lot of things going on right now.”
Some of the upcoming projects Copeland pointed to are new housing projects, job growth and downtown development.
“Bringing the commission together we’ve been able to get some good things done in Springfield. Jobs is key, with major economic development in things like the openings of Silfex and Topre,” Copeland said.
If re-elected, Copeland said he plans to focus more on housing after spending years working on developing downtown.
“There are a couple of studies and things that need to be done and we are going to work with an organization to address those housing needs as we see fit. I think we need to focus on that and probably, when its possible, move some money in that direction,” Copeland said. “We have already done a bunch of stuff downtown and I think it’s time to look at the neighborhoods.”
Previous coverage on Stegner: Copeland, Stegner talk issues at candidates forum
Stegner operates the Springfield Soup Kitchen and was Copeland’s opponent for Mayor in 2015, where he received 37% of the vote. He is a Vietnam veteran and retired IBM consultant.
“My slogan is, ‘Wake up, Springfield,” Stegner said. “We are the 2nd most dangerous city in the state, we are the most food insecure and nothing has been done in 30 years.”
Being in charge of the soup kitchen, Stegner said he, “definitely,” has a different perceptive on the city than the other candidates.
“I know everything. I know all the pimps, the drug dealers, the hookers, the sexual predators,” Stegner said. “I have grass roots knowledge about what is going on in the streets of Springfield.”
If elected mayor, the first thing Stegner plans to do is focus on resolving crime.
“Law enforcement has come to me and they have shared with me what they think the problems are and I will find out in my own elevation and then work with them to get it solved,” Stegner said.
In addition to crime, Stegner said he also wants to combat drug use in the city.
“They say, ‘hey the heroin crisis is down and over because people are scared,’ but not it’s meth and crack. It’s not going to stop,” Stegner said. “I have had so many people call me for help when they are overdosing. There are so many stories I could tell you. The faces keep flashing in front of me. All these people that I knew, and I helped, are dead now because of this.”
Previous coverage on Turner: Springfield woman sues, claims discrimination on marijuana license
Turner was born and raised in Springfield.
“I was born and raised here in Springfield. Jobs, housing and several more issues would be taken care of if I was mayor,” Turner said.
In addition to jobs and housing, some of Turner’s issues of focus include: creating a fund to support first responders and teachers, tax abatement’s for new companies who expand into Springfield, support for the cannabis industry, decriminalization of medical marijuana, fighting the opioid crisis, government grants for lead abatement and equal pay for women.
“Springfiled has to be known for something good again,” Turner said.
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