Shepherdstown mayoral candidates talk term plans | News, Sports, Jobs


SHEPHERDSTOWN — This Tuesday from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m., the polls at City Hall will be ready for residents of the Corporation of Shepherdstown to vote in the 2022 municipal election.

Unlike the last municipal election, Mayor Jim Auxer is running unopposed for re-election.

“I am humbled and honored to be Mayor of Shepherdstown”, said Auxer. “It will be my mission to continue to make Shepherdstown a great place to live.”

As for his plans for his next term, the Shepherd University alumnus and retired mental health counselor and unit director for 45 years said he hopes to continue improving the city’s infrastructure.

“Currently there is money available, and we have applied for grants to move forward on water, sewer, street and sidewalk projects,” said Auxer. “[I would also like for us to see] better use of our waterfront access, long-term budget planning for all aspects of our city’s future infrastructure needs, a documented maintenance plan for our historic structures, and updating our plan overall.


Town Recorder Lori Robertson will also be unchallenged in this year’s race. In addition to her current position since 2008, Robertson also works in the community as the Morgan Academy operations manager and gardening instructor.

“I love the city and I wanted to give two more years”, said Robertson, regarding his decision to run again.

His reasons for doing so include his positive working relationship with Auxer and his desire to help encourage the growth of the town, taking into account the needs and interests of all Shepherdstown residents.

“I love the diversity and tolerance that our small town offers!” said Robertson. “I support all businesses in Shepherdstown and am proud of the women-led businesses here.”

Current council members Cheryl Roberts, Marty Amerikaner, Jenny Hayes and Chris Stroech, however, will run against some opposition on the city council’s five seats, from write-in candidates Leah Rampy and James Vigil.


“Having enjoyed living in Shepherdstown, I was looking to increase my contribution to the community,” Rampy, who has a background in business and as an executive director of a nonprofit organization, said. “When I heard there was a vacancy on the city council that no one had applied for, I decided (with some kind nudges from my neighbours) it was time to put my name forward in as a candidate in writing.

“If elected, I look forward to working with those who contribute so much to this community. I hope that together we can find creative ways to support our local businesses, especially in difficult times like these,” Rampy said. “I have focused on environmental issues for many years, and I welcome the opportunity to work wholeheartedly for the [environmental] objectives set out in Shepherdstown’s overall plan. These include protecting and expanding the commitment to green spaces, increasing sustainable energy sources that support this community, expanding land conservation to protect the environment, and improving the quality of life and supporting quality local food.

Vigil, like Rampy, has never held public office. As a former vice president for administration at Shepherd University, before moving into his current role as a management consultant for US universities, Vigil has extensive experience in finance and administration.

Although Vigil has spent the past eight years in Deerfield Village, he recently returned to the Corporation of Shepherdstown, where he previously lived, to enable his son, who has autism, to walk to his job at Shepherd University. .

“As with our uniquely disabled son, the city has always made me feel welcome and included,” Vigil said, noting that, if elected, he will be able to represent the interests of a few minority groups, as a person of Hispanic and Native American descent. “I feel connected to my heritage and fully understand what it is to look and feel different from others. Therefore, I want to use my unique and diverse perspective to serve people of all heritages, races and special abilities.


“My extensive management and operational experience will complement the diverse skills and experiences of those who serve on City Council and City Committees,” said Vigil. “As my wife says, I’m a ‘get things done’ type.”

For Roberts, who hails from Shepherdstown, continuing to serve on city council is also an opportunity to speak out on behalf of his respective minority group.

“I am a life member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and a life member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Eastern Panhandle Alumnae Chapter”, said Roberts. “I will always be a positive influence for the community as a member and as a representative of these organizations, which serve both to ensure equity and inclusion, as well as to advocate and support the issues of injustice and peace.”

Roberts currently works as an athletic assistant for Shepherd University and a health care education project manager for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Amerikaner, like Auxer, has a background in mental health, serving as the former chair of the psychology department at Marshall University. Since being elected to city council two years ago, Amerikaner has been a proponent of age-friendly improvements and accessibility in the city.


“I am actively involved in lifelong learning as a student and instructor, and enjoy working with the wonderful people at Shepherdstown Film Society, Shepherdstown Area Independent Living (SAIL), Age Friendly Shepherdstown and the Shenandoah Health Clinic Board of Directors,” Amerikaner, who moved with his wife to Shepherdstown six years ago, said.

“For me, the theme of promoting the development of Shepherdstown as a “Age Friendly Community“has been an important priority”, said Americaner. “The concept of ‘age-friendly communities’ originated with the World Health Organization and AARP; the basic idea is to prioritize community actions that help make the community healthier, safer and more enjoyable for people of all ages and abilities. Some of the highlights of this first term for me have been our progress on things like developing the city’s new mailing list, developing an outdoor walking path in Cullison Park, confirming final funding for the project bike lane to Morgan’s Grove Park, additional funding made available to help with sidewalk repairs and new sidewalk cuts at key corners of city intersections. All of these contribute to key elements in promoting an age- and ability-appropriate environment in our city. »

Stroech, who has lived in Shepherdstown for 12 years and specializes in property litigation at Arnold & Bailey, PLLC, is hoping to be re-elected to a second term on the city council. In particular, he wishes to integrate long-term strategic planning practices for the city.

“We need to do better with long-term strategic planning, because we will have significant development from the west and south in the next 10 years,” Stroech, before discussing the area in which he particularly intends to concentrate his talents, if he is re-elected. “During my first term I formed the Shepherdstown Grants Committee which was successful in obtaining grants to help residents affected by COVID with their rent and utility payments and to purchase AED devices for all vehicles from police. Most importantly, the committee helped identify the specific needs of the city, through meetings with various stakeholder groups and departments. I hope to expand the efforts of the Grants Committee.

Having lived in Shepherdstown since the age of eight, Hayes said his experience over the past two years on the town council taught him the importance of community involvement. As things stand, Hayes is heavily involved in the community, being Vice President of the Shepherdstown Community Club, Manager of Morgan’s Grove Park and the War Memorial Building, Property Manager of The Station at Shepherdstown and Professional Cook. .


“I’m never afraid to get my hands dirty or work hard” Hayes said, mentioning that she thinks increasing the term limits for city council members would be beneficial for the city. “I care about Shepherdstown – I care about the community and the decisions made to protect it for the future. We’re not doing it for ourselves, we’re really doing it for the next generation.

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