Groveport's longtime mayor faces a challenger in the Nov. 5 general election.
Mayor Lance Westcamp, who was elected in 1994, is seeking another four-year term for the part-time position, which according to the city's charter, has the authority, together with the city administrator, to supervise all administrative departments and divisions, including the police department.
John Pritchard, current chairman of the Madison Township trustees, is challenging Westcamp.
ThisWeek Canal Winchester Times posed three questions to the candidates about their experience and issues facing the city. The following are their responses:
What is the greatest challenge/need facing the city and, if elected, how would you address it?
Pritchard: Groveport is a city in transition that will face myriad future challenges primarily due to growth. If elected, I will collaborate with council to create and implement strategies that guarantee Groveport is a safe, friendly, attractive and diverse community where people want to live, learn, work and play. Together we can restore Main Street so that it once again becomes a place where residents will want to shop and dine. We can do all of this while preserving Groveport's small-town feel, heritage, character and quality of life. I believe new leadership and new ideas are more vital now than ever before. Most importantly, I promise to be fiscally conservative with your tax dollars and use them in a way that is respectful of the trust you put in the mayor and council as stewards of those dollars. I believe I am the right leader with the right vision at a critical juncture in Groveport's history.
Westcamp: To continue to bring small businesses to our downtown area and a family restaurant. Working with City Council and our economic development director to make this a success. Continue to provide services to our residents, providing leaf and brush pickup, sidewalk repair and excellent snow and ice removal in the winter months. Providing excellent police service in our city, making it safe to raise our families. Continue to work on our master park plan to provide excellent recreation for our residents.
If elected, how would you improve/change the office of mayor?
Pritchard: The mayoral team's most basic duty is to ensure that our residents are safe. I will also work closely with Groveport Madison Schools to safeguard our kids. I will ensure that our police officers are provided the tools necessary to provide top-notch service as we grow. Growth and change are challenges, but they also present opportunities that we must be able to capture. My mayoral team will be prepared on our first day in office. We will always put our residents before warehouses and work with council on ways to improve traffic management throughout the city. Together, we can restore Main Street so that it once again becomes a place where residents will want to shop and dine.
Westcamp: The Groveport City Charter dictates that the mayor's responsibilities, one of which is to appoint an administrator with council's approval to direct the operations of the city. The administrator serves at the pleasure of both the mayor and City Council. Changes to the city charter can only be made by a vote of Groveport electors every 10 years. According to the charter, the mayor's position is part-time.
What in your personal background/professional experience has prepared for this position?
Pritchard: My adult life has been focused around service to my local community and my country, and I believe that public service continues to be one of the noblest callings. You placed your confidence in me in 1999 to serve as a Madison Township trustee. After our nation was attacked on 9/11, I couldn't sit on the sidelines, and I made the very difficult decision to resign to serve our country in the U.S. Army. I returned home, and you elected me again to serve as your Madison Township trustee. I have lived in numerous places in the United States and around the world; I have seen examples of the good and bad decisions made by local governments. I will utilize that life experience to Groveport's benefit.
Westcamp: Lifelong resident of Groveport. I was elected to village council in 1988 and sworn in as mayor in November 1994. Serving the residents the past 25 years as their mayor, I am experienced to lead the city for another term. Along with City Council, we have put the absolute best administration staff and police department to serve our community. I take great pride in our community, and I am proud to call Groveport home. We are central Ohio's hometown.