I would like to introduce myself to the readers of your newspaper. My name is Richard Holmes, and I am the Democratic candidate in the upcoming City of Circleville's Mayoral election to be held on Nov. 3, 2015.
There are many of you who do not know me, so I would like to let you know a little bit about me and why I have suddenly decided to become involved in our citiy's politics.
I moved to Circleville in 1999 and chose to make this home. I have enjoyed many years here and plan to enjoy many more. I have a business located in downtown Circleville which provides jobs for over 20 people with more positions available. I am very involved in helping out the community and throughout the year donate and sponsor many different events.
I sponsor several Little League teams and players, charitable organizations, church fundraisers and numerous school functions. My company provides free rides on Thanksgiving Day to families who are not able to enjoy meals at home and look to local churches to enjoy a free meal. Veterans and senior citizens contact me on a regular basis to help transport them to doctor appointments at a very minimal or next-to-nothing cost. I work endlessly to try and be a positive and supportive member of this community and will continue to do so even after this election.
My interest in politics is due to seeing 0 progressions and 0 growths over the last several years. Our community has suffered from a severe economic downturn and financial crisis that, without rapid changes and improvements, we will continue to slide towards poverty. We have elected officials in office that we continue to vote for based on friendships and popularity. We must realize that we can no longer survive on this mentality.
Businesses are either moving away from Circleville or closing their doors after many years in the community because they can no longer survive here or the same products are available at a lower cost in the growing communities surrounding us. When you look at our downtown business district, you see so many empty storefronts and available spaces due to the merchants who no longer could afford to keep their doors open, and it is a shame because the merchants are not only our neighbors but also our friends.
This town has become plagued with a drug problem that has spun out of control, and yes, I will agree that it is very difficult to combat, but I will also disagree that there is not more that we as a community can do to gain back control from the drug dealers and users. Local law enforcement is understaffed and underfunded, so we are faced with limitations on how we can remedy the problem, so we must look towards working with different county and state agencies. The landlords who turn a blind eye to tenants using their homes to deal drugs out of should be held just as accountable as the dealers themselves. Together as a community we can start the process of gaining back control of our neighborhoods from the dealers.
We look at so many unemployed residents and wonder why it is so hard to find good jobs. The truth is, there are jobs and there are always companies looking to relocate to Circleville with the hopes of adding jobs, but for some reason or another they never seem to seal the deal, and I feel that this is because there are so many obstacles placed in their way that they choose to locate in communities right around us.
If you look at the Walmart shopping center and the many stores opening up in that area, you should remind yourself that this is outside of the city limits, therefore the city of Circleville does not benefit from the tax base. They may benefit from the residents employed, but due to differences between city officials and developers/businesses it was not annexed and therefore remained as part of the township.
One major issue recently was regarding the future of Ted Lewis Park. We cannot afford to lose this park and we must find a way to keep it here. We do have a very beautiful park located on 188, but as it is located so far away many of our residents who do not drive miss out on the opportunity to enjoy what all this park has to offer.
I do not feel that we should elect our city representatives as if this was a popularity contest but that we should cast our votes on how they can represent our city and move us forward. Look back at the last four years and decide for yourself. What jobs have been added to this community? What growth have we seen? Why is there such an increase in our crime rate? Why are we plagued with such a severe drug problem? We have to take the time out to answer these questions for ourselves and then decide who exactly is deserving of our vote.
In the next couple of weeks, you will have to decide who is deserving of your vote and hope that the right person is elected to represent this city. I cannot make your decision for you, but I will be the first to say that without a vote, your voice will remain silent.
Please make sure to get out and vote, as this is one of the few rights that we have left.