6:00: Morning News

Five newcomers elected to Morgantown City Council

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Morgantown City Council will have five newcomers and two incumbents in office in July.

Tuesday’s municipal election resulted in the re-election of Councilwoman Jenny Selin and Councilman Bill Kawecki.

Joining them will be Rachel Fetty, Ryan Wallace, Ron Dulaney, Jr., Mark Brazaitis and Barry Lee Wendell.

Each of the seven seats was contested in the council race compared to a 2015 election that had just three contested seats.

Selin will serve her sixth term in office. Former Monongalia County Commissioner Eldon Callen also ran to represent the city’s fourth ward. Selin received 1,453 votes compared to Callen’s 1,117 votes.

“I think that people have optimism about Morgantown. I think the choices people made reflected that,” Selin observed.

Bill Kawecki will continue to represent the city’s second ward earning 1,446 votes. Businessman Al Bonner, a write-in candidate in 2015, trailed Kawecki with 1,118 votes.

Kawecki said his goal was to continue to serve on council with new city manager Paul Brake, hired in January, at the helm. He added there are projects he wants to see progress.

“The airport is one of them. That’s definitely high, very high ranking. But, the riverfront and riverfront activities, I want to see go on.”

Ron Bane, long time councilman for Morgantown’s First Ward was ousted from office after a successful run by Rachel Fetty. Fetty, who was also a write-in candidate in 2015, won the race 1,652 vote to Bane’s 915 votes.

“Honestly my mind is blown,” remarked Fetty outside city hall. “I have to say the outcome of the election, the way it has turned out, it seems to me we have a very specific mandate. Folks seem to be unified in their concerns about some very specific issues.”

The city’s third ward will be represented by Ryan Wallace. He received 1,571 votes. Incumbent Wes Nugent collected 968 votes.

Morgantown voters knew early they would have new council representation in the fifth and sixth wards.

Councilwoman Marti Shamberger, who chose not to run for re-election, will be replaced by Ron Dulaney, Jr. Dulaney was running against
Kyle McAvoy, a former county clerk candidate. Dulaney received 1,618 votes to McAvoy’s 793 votes.

Nancy Ganz, the city’s seventh ward councilwoman, did not run in the 2017 election. Barry Lee Wendell, a former House of Delegates candidate, received 1,353 votes over Bill Graham’s 1,114 votes.

“I think we had a vision of the future and an inclusive city where everyone is welcome,” Wendell said. “Some of the other people were talking about the past.”

Incumbent Jay Redmond ends his time on council after one term. His challenger, Mark Brazaitis received 1,620 votes and Redmond 1,000.

“We all have a different sense of how to move the city forward. I’m looking forward to great conversations about ideas and involving the entire public in that conversation,” said Brazaitis, a WVU professor.

Canvassing to finalize the election results will take place next Monday.

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