Price tabbed to fill open slot on Falmouth City Council
Falmouth City Council gathered on Tuesday, May 2, 2019, in a special meeting to interview three of the five candidates who applied to fill the seat left empty by the untimely death of Councilman Stanley Love. Sebastian Ernst, Tori Mineer and Luke Price all provided impressive credentials for this open seat and gave clear answers to all the questions presented by council members. Mayor Ron Stinson was an interested observer, choosing not to participate in the questioning, but saying simply, “This is your choice.”
The first candidate to be interviewed was Ernst. Ernst, who holds a political science degree, served on council until he left the position in 2018 to pursue political office. Councilwoman Amy Hitch asked, “As a possible returning council member, what would be you main focus?” Ernst replied, “Making Falmouth greater, getting the budget in order, more public celebration of our successes and better communication with the public about our month to month work.” Hitch also asked about the current sewer project. Ernst replied, “I am concerned about the rate increases that could come to pay for this work. But, by and large, I have kept up with the ongoing process.”
Councilwoman Amy Hurst asked Ernst to speak of his managerial experience. Ernst referred to owning his own business and the experience he has in hiring and firing people as needed. He also stated that he is helping others start up businesses in the downtown area. When Hurst asked about his volunteer service, Erst replied that his involvement in the mayor’s race last November pulled him from volunteer activities in the local organizations, but he was eager to return to the Pendleton County Tourism Council, and he wasnts to join the Sons of the Confederacy in order that he can help maintain awareness of those who fought in the Civil War.
Councilwoman Joyce Carson asked Ernst how he would handle differences of opinion on council. Ernst replied, “It is always good to have someone challenge council’s prospective…to always seek the truth.”
Councilwoman Shannon Johnson referred to a piece Ernst wrote about zoning in which he made some controversial remarks. That piece led her to ask about his views on planning and zoning.
“You have to have it,” Ernst replied. “As a business owner it is difficult to deal with the state building codes. It is not what the city is doing wrong, but what can the city do to help businesses come here? State zoning regulations get in the way of growth for the city. I want to help council change those obstacles created by state zoning laws.”
Johnson also asked why Ernst wished to return to council. Ernst spoke of goals for the city. “There are issues where I want to help the city--more parks, a movie theater, more for kids to do besides drugs.”
The next candidate was Tori Mineer. Mineer, a life-long resident of Pendleton County, is a registered nurse who is employed at Harrison County Memorial Hospital in Cynthiana. She shared that she volunteers with the Quick Response Team for Drugs, and that she likes to advocate for people.
Johnson asked, Mineer what her goals would be if she was selected for city council.
“So, I asked myself that question”, said Mineer, “where can we start to help keep kids here following graduation. I believe it is at the elementary schools. Promoting this county early. I also would like to work to reduce the cost of flood insurance.”
Hurst wanted to know how Mineer would effectively communicate with constituents.Mineer replied, “Keep work and state apart, and keep a professional tone.”
Hitch asked Mineer how she would deal with negative responses she would inevitably receive concerning decisions she would make on council. Mineer replied, “Always remember that the benefits of that decision will outweigh those remarks.” Mineer also stated that she believed that listening to other ideas helps to bring out the best ideas.
When she was asked which issues were most important, Mineer replied that property flooding, utility bills, and a disposal system for the used needles for drug users were most important in her mind. Hurst asked how Mineer currently served the community, and she replied that she serves on the Quick Response Team, and she supports local activities. She also works county trash pickup, and she is involved in tree planting.
The final candidate to be interviewed was Luke Price. Price is also a life-long member of the city. He has six children, and he stated that he wants them to have a safe environment to grow up in.
Carson asked what the major issues were for him, and he replied that we need to support the local police and first responders. He also feels that the city needs to“...increase the business community, which in turn will bring in increased revenue to the city.” He also wants to “...encourage more people to own homes here and fewer to rent.”
Hurst asked Price for his insights on why businesses are not coming into the city. Price shared that he felt that the city has ...”a poor workforce, infrastructure and internet service. He also sees the need to provide incentives for business to come here.
When Hurst asked how he was different than other candidates the council had interviewed, Price replied, that his work experience through the years with Chevron Oil and with Proctor and Gamble, his current employer, he has been taught communication skills. Hurst followed up wby asking how that would affect the council’s communication with the professionals they talk to, to which Price replied that it is important to be educated about their fields of expertise.
Hitch wanted to know why Price was interested in politics now, and Price replied, “It is something I have never done, and now I am interested in doing it. I realize there is a lot to learn and I look forward to the opportunity to do that.”