WADSWORTH — The Wadsworth Public Library offered voters a chance Monday to make up their minds among candidates for five contested local races on the November ballot.
Early voting begins today.
Nineteen candidates are vying for 10 open positions: Two ward and three at-large Wadsworth City Council seats, two Wadsworth Township trustee posts and three spots on the city school board.
Seventeen of the candidates attended the library’s 21st annual Candidates Forum.
All made two-minute opening remarks and then mingled with voters before a question-and-answer session began.
Each candidate had two minutes to answer questions from the audience. Each candidate in a race had an opportunity to provide answers.
Candidates were grilled on issues like smoking and alcohol use in the schools, problems facing the township and how to grow downtown Wadsworth.
Incumbent Democrat Ward 3 Councilman John J. Sharkey IV is challenged by newcomer Republican Michael Robart.
Sharkey has represented the ward since 2002 and earlier served a term as an at-large councilman.
Robart is a military veteran who recently moved to the city from Cuyahoga Falls, in Summit County.
The Ward 4 race pits 10-year incumbent Republican Bruce Darlington against Democratic challenger David Anderson.
In the contest for three at-large council seats, incumbent Democrat Patricia Haskins faces a challenge from Republicans Joseph Rodgers, the commander of the Wadsworth American Legion post; Bob Thurber, director of Downtown Wadsworth; and David Williams, owner of Williams Auto Sales.
In the contest for Wadsworth Township trustee, incumbent Jim Gardner, Bob Engler, Shawn Bouscher and William McCall are vying for two seats.
Gardner did attend the forum because of a family emergency, according to Janet Griffing, the library’s marketing and public relations coordinator, who moderated the forum.
In the school board race, seven candidates are running for three posts: incumbent Chuck Pfeister; Amanda Gordon, a school-law attorney; Julie Batey, president of Wadsworth Home Youth School; Mark Casalinova, as seventh grade football coach; Donald Thomas; Jason Arnold; and Ron Mendel.
Mendel was the only other candidate who did not attend the forum.
Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.