There will be no citywide primary election in Ravenna after only three candidates filed petitions seeking two at-large seats on City Council.
Incumbents Amy Michael and Fred Berry filed for the seats, as did Katie Hayes, a member of the city's planning commission. In Ward 2, incumbent Frank Seman was the only candidate to file for office.
Unless write-in candidates file petitions with the Portage County Board of Elections, the only primary race in Ravenna will be in Ward 1, where incumbent Sharon Spencer is being challenged by former Councilman Steven Bailey and Michael LaCivita Jr., who is retired as superintendent of the city's wastewater plant. Since Ravenna's elections are non-partisan, the goal of the primary will be to narrow the field of candidates from three to two.
However, since there are two seats open in the at-large race, three candidates is not enough to trigger a primary.
Hayes, 29, has a bachelor's degree in health sciences from Kent State University. She is vice president of her family business, Edinburg Auction Sales, and has lived in Ravenna for five years.
She said her "youthful perspective" and experience as a business owner give her a fresh point of view. She sees the potential merger of the Ravenna Health Department with Portage County as a major issue, and said the biggest thing people have mentioned to her is economic development.
"I would like the opportunity to represent the residents of Ravenna in a professional and educated manner," she said. "I think my common sense, business experience and fair-minded perspective are what makes me a qualified candidate."
Berry was appointed to council in 2010 after Joseph Bica left his seat on council to become mayor. He ran for election and won election to the unexpired term in 2011. This would be his first full term on council.
"We've got a lot of things going on right now," he said. He pointed out that Bica has a vision for the city, and "it seems like at least 50 percent of council" has a different vision.
An example, he said, is the proposal to turn the former concrete plant on the city's west side into a public park. Berry said he would prefer to see the area developed into specialty shops or a hotel, saying that Ravenna may be the only county seat in the region that lacks a hotel.
"I'd like to see it developed into something different," he said. "It's large enough and it's close to the downtown. And I'd like to see the people who own the shops downtown make them more inviting so people will want to shop there."
Michael, who was elected to the seat in 2009, said she sees herself as "a strong voice who's not afraid to ask questions" and who acts as an advocate for residents.
"I feel I have a responsibility to the taxpayers of Ravenna," she said. "I always remember who I work for. I can honestly say I feel I have a great responsibility to the city where I was born and raised and where I live and work."
She said she has always been an advocate of the redevelopment of the White Rubber property, and would like to see more brownfields in the city redeveloped. She also said she is a strong advocate for parks, for activities for families and for balanced development.
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A city is a social organization of it's people, moving down the road to a future that can lead to achivement, stagnation, or wasteland. Public officials are choosen to help strategically plan the business of how we can move down that road. A squeaky wheel or rocks thrown in the road hinder the business of moving forward towards the well being of all the people. We need representatives with education, knowledge, skills and new vision to pull that wagon instead of sitting in it or just watching opportunity go by.
Just what Ravenna doesn't need someone who thinks this place is a business!
Sounds like she already working with the King. Nope not for me.