Kent Mayor Jerry Fiala's race for re-election this fall will likely be much less stressful than the election he won in 2009 by a coin toss.
Bradley Cromes, Portage County Board of Elections deputy director, verified Monday that no one has filed to challenge Fiala in the November election for his mayoral seat.
Today would be the primary for that election if one were needed, but no Democrats or Republicans filed for the race. The filing deadline for independent candidates, which Fiala is filed as, was at 4 p.m. Monday.
Barring the election of a write-in candidate in November, Fiala is poised to begin his second full, four-year term as Kent's mayor in 2014.
"I have to thank the residents of Kent to bestow another four years on me," Fiala said. "You don't know how much that makes me feel good."
Fiala said he considers no one challenging him for the part-time role as a reflection of the community's approval -- and he's quick to thank the city for their support.
"I think the people have really respected and appreciated what I've done," he said. "Even though the position is part-time, I make myself available where needed to expose Kent and make Kent what it should be."
Fiala, who has held elected roles for nearly 20 years including his 14 years as a Kent councilman, said he's impressed with how Kent has evolved through the years and proud of the contributions he's made to those efforts.
"What's been going on in Kent has taken 25 years to get there," Fiala said. "There's been a lot of people involved. It's been a good, positive team between the university and the city, and I've very glad I've been part of that."
"I've seen Kent in decline, and I've seen Kent come back," he added. "We're making downtown Kent a destination for people to come enjoy, study ... the bottom line is the team is after bringing jobs back into Kent, and that's what's happening."
With another four years on the horizon, Fiala said his ultimate goal is to help "this town be everything it can be."
He restated that his top priorities include finding solutions for issues still facing the city, including improving deteriorating streets and sidewalks, constructing a new police station and seeking out additional revenue opportunities beyond the collection of income taxes that are blooming compared with years past in the wake of downtown's redevelopment.
Fiala won the seat for his current term after tying with candidate Rick Hawksley at 2,052 votes in the 2009 -- a tie broken by a coin toss.
As the half-dollar flipped, Fiala picked heads.
"I'm overwhelmed that the people gave me the opportunity to (serve four more years)," he said, "and even more so over how I went from a toss of a coin to nobody contesting my race."
Contact this reporter at 330-298-1126 or email@example.com