Springfield City Commission: 2 candidates seek 1 open seat

Incumbent Kevin O’Neill faces challenge from Tracey Tackett

Longtime Springfield City Commission member Kevin O’Neill faces a challenge from Tracey Tackett in the lone contested race for a city leadership position in today’s general election.

The two responded to Voter Guide questions from the News-Sun, and a portion of their responses are included here. For their full answers, go to SpringfieldNewsSun.com/voter-guide and select the Springfield City Commission race from the drop-down menu.

O’Neill is a Springfield native and Catholic Central graduate who has served as a city commissioner since 1992. His resume includes serving as a real estate developer/builder, restaurant owner and caterer.

He spearheaded the direct election of Springfield’s mayor — previously, commission members voted amongst themselves to determine mayor —and he touted endorsements by UAW Cap Council Local 402, Springfield Professional Firefighters IAFF, and fellow commissioners David Estrop and Krystal (Phillips) Brown.

Tackett, the owner of Sip & Dipity for a decade, also works with Clark County Partners in Prevention. She has a bachelor’s degree in organizational leadership, with a minor in political science from Wittenberg University, and a master’s from Ohio State University in public policy.

She said people who know her “would tell you that I am a tireless worker, a creative energy always looking to improve the quality of life in our community. This is truly me and who I was before I even thought about running for a political office.

“This opportunity gives you, the voter, a louder voice, finally a new voice that hasn’t been handpicked by local political officials with personal political gain,” she said.

Why are you seeking elected office?

Tackett, a lifelong Clark County resident, said she is “invested and passionate about the well-being of our community in every sector including education, public safety, business, healthcare and infrastructure.

“All of my adult life has been dedicated to creating opportunities to help connect people in our community for a greater good. I have a business here, my family is here, my schools are here, my heart is here.”

O’Neill said he “works tirelessly on behalf of Springfield to make our community the place everyone wants to live, work, and play.”

Why should voters elect you as the best choice?

O’Neil said he holds the city government accountable for the decisions it makes and the consequences to Springfield at large.

Tackett said: “Our community is ready for a new day. A day with new energy, new perspective, and someone who walks the walk not just talks the talk during election season. People in Clark County want to connect with their representative, see them in their business, at their community events and a representative that genuinely cares by working to obtain the best for them and their neighbors.”

If elected, what will be your top three priority topics?

Tackett listed public safety, infrastructure and job opportunities.

O’Neill said finalizing the Tremont Barrel Fill remediation; creating new housing opportunities to sustain local employment/growth; continuing to develop Air Park Ohio in conjunction with the Joint Economic Development District (JEDD).

What specific plans do you have to address those priorities?

O’Neill said he will work in conjunction with the EPA for the Tremont City Barrel Fill remediation, work with residential and retail developers on housing and jobs, work to promote the National Advanced Air Mobility Center of Excellence for Air Park Ohio.

Tackett said she will stay involved in conversations “related to the needs of our first responders and public safety sector.”

She also said she will “ask hard questions and find opportunities to address the homeless, housing issues, street and trash conditions, and recognize the need for more engagement with our youth.”

Finally, Tackett said, “I will continue to be involved in not only the city, but the county voters as well to help build the bridge needed to mend the gap put in place long ago.”