- Michael Cooper Staff Writer
The Springfield City Commission will have two new members beginning in January, the first change to the city’s five-person governing body in eight years.
Incumbent City Commissioner Joyce Chilton and challengers Rob Rue and David Estrop won at the polls Tuesday, according to final, unofficial results from the Clark County Board of Elections.
Commissioners earn an annual salary of $10,750. They oversee a government that serves about 59,000 people with a $38 million annual budget and about 570 employees.
Rue had 29 percent of the vote, while Chilton and Estrop each had 26 percent.
Dan Martin was fourth with 20 percent and won’t return for a sixth term after 20 years as a Springfield city commissioner.
Rue is co-owner of Littleton and Rue Funeral Home and a first-time political candidate.
“It’s exciting,” Rue said. “It’s something I’ve been focused on. I believe Springfield is ripe for change and I want to be a part of it.”
Rue was surprised to be the leading vote-getter during his first political campaign.
“It’s exciting, humbling and daunting,” Rue said. “The road ahead is going to be a challenge but I think Springfield is ready.”
Chilton, a freelance paralegal who retired from the Clark County Public Library, will serve her third consecutive term on the commission.
“I’m grateful to the citizens of Springfield,” Chilton said. “It’s the voters that count. I’m very happy. I’m looking forward to another four years.”
Estrop is the former superintendent for the Springfield City School District and also a first-time candidate. He congratulated Rue and Chilton for being elected and thanked Martin for his service. He also thanked the voters and the people who worked on his campaign.
“I’m humbled and honored to have been elected,” Estrop said. “Our job over the next four years is to build a stronger Springfield that can provide its residents with fulfilling work, safe neighborhoods and access to wonderful parks. Springfield is well-positioned to thrive. By working together, I’m convinced we can make it happen.”
Martin, a local attorney, was seeking his sixth consecutive four-year term on the commission. He hopes to continue his political career in the future, Martin said.
“My philosophy all along is that I’m glad to continue to serve as long as people want me do that,” he said. “I was encouraged to run again so I did. That’s how I’ve always looked at it. If people don’t want me to serve, I have other things I can do.”
Current Springfield City Commissioner Karen Duncan didn’t seek re-election and plans to end her 12-year political career in December. With Duncan stepping down, at least one new commissioner was to be elected for the first time in eight years when Chilton replaced former City Commissioner Orphus Taylor.
Longtime Mayor Warren Copeland and City Commissioner Kevin O’Neill both will be up for re-election in 2019.
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