POINT PLEASANT — Voters in the City of Point Pleasant will go to the polls May 10 to elect a mayor, city clerk, two council-at-large seats and council members from each of the eight wards.
Those winning on May 10 will take office July 1 for four-year terms. In this story, the Point Pleasant Register will profile the races for mayor, city clerk and council-at-large. A story on the races for individual wards will appear in an upcoming edition. Each candidate was asked to submit information on their background and, if they chose, to answer the question “Why I decided to run for this office?”
Incumbents are Mayor Brian Billings, City Clerk Amber Tatterson, Council-At-Large Members Janet Hartley and Charles Towner. Challengers are Jeremy Bryant and C. Keith Sargent for mayor, Jimmie Wood Jr. for city clerk, and Brandy Barkey Sweeney and Marty Reed for the two council-at-large seats.
Information on each candidate appears in alphabetical order with profiles beginning in the mayor’s race.
Brian Billings (R-Point Pleasant) is the current mayor of Point Pleasant; is a former advertising director/general manager of the Point Pleasant Register (26 years); a former announcer at WMPO Radio; a graduate of Columbia School of Broadcasting and Point Pleasant High School; member of the Bellemead UM Church; Mason County Fair first vice president; member of Toys for Kids Committee; River Museum board of directors; member of city committees on finance, budget, sewer, water, police, street, recreation. Billings was elected council-at-large 2003, appointed city clerk/treasurer 2006, elected city clerk/treasurer 2007, appointed mayor 2009, elected mayor 2012.
Billings said: “I believe in Point Pleasant, that’s why it’s my home. Raised here, I know how special our city is. Serving you as mayor, a charge I take very serious, I will continue to be responsive to your needs. I would like to continue my diligent efforts by serving you as your mayor. I have worked diligently to help keep our city financially sound and that we have done. Over the past four years we have spent $191,000-plus in street paving with more to do, delivering efficient quality services, working to improve our infrastructure, working to rid our community of unsightly properties, promote tourism, promoting health and wellness, working with citizens and community leaders to seek new businesses (our efforts are showing) and work with community volunteers to beautify our historic city. I want to continue working for you and complete the projects that we have undertaken in a positive spirit for the benefit of all.”
Jeremy Bryant (D-Point Pleasant) is married to Lisa (Starcher) Bryant and together they have three children. The family attends Lifespring Community Church. A graduate of Point Pleasant High School, Jeremy holds multiple certifications in Fire Science, Safety, and Leadership Management from West Virginia University. He’s worked in and around government most of his adult life, however, he says he’s not a politician but instead a public servant who has proudly served as volunteer fire chief for the last 18 years. Jeremy currently serves as the President of the International Association of Arson Investigators.
Jeremy said: “I am very concerned about the future of our city. I chose to stay in Point Pleasant as an adult to be with family, and I want my kids and your kids to have that same opportunity. They will have to have jobs and as we all know jobs have become scarce around here. I think for too long we have accepted status quo and not actively worked to bring jobs and business to our community. If elected I am eager to go find businesses who are looking for places to locate and promote our city in hopes of building infrastructure. I hope we are able to resurrect the community pride of long ago. I want to see the morale of our entire city lifted whether you are a citizen or an employee. Together we can build a better future.”
C. Keith Sargent (Independent-Point Pleasant) is the son of Cecil and Phyllis Sargent and is married to Joan Grimm Sargent, daughter of the late Everett Gilly and Frances Grimm. The couple have three children, four grandchildren and are members of Jackson Avenue Baptist Church where Keith serves as deacon and Sunday school superintendent. Keith is a graduate of Point Pleasant High School and Mason County Vocational School in general studies and welding. He’s worked as a mechanic/welder for several companies. He’s a member of Carpenters Local 1159 and is currently on city council representing Ward Four.
Keith said: “I have always been interested in politics so I decided to run for council first. I am happy with what we accomplished the last four years. But, I had decided not to run for a second term as a council person, thinking new and younger blood might be the way to stimulate needed growth here in town. After many people came and talked with me about running for mayor, I had told them I needed to pray about a decision. I heard Mr. Franklin Graham preaching about how Christians should step up and run for these political offices. So there was my answer to a prayer. After walking and talking with people all over this town, I have learned much about the needs here in town that are not being taken care of. I hope to be given the opportunity to change people’s thoughts about politicians . Remember, Sargent for mayor.”
Amber Tatterson (R-Point Pleasant), is a graduate of Point Pleasant High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree from Marshall University. While attending Marshall University, she obtained her Property and Casualty Insurance license and worked for nine years as an agent for Mason County Insurance Agency. She has served as a member on the Early Childhood Development Team, Mason County Gear-Up Council, and she and her family are members of Trinity UM Church. She’s actively involved as a member of the Krodel Playground Project Committee and the Point Pleasant Lions Club. She also serves on the city’s finance, sewer and water committees, as well as other community involved activities.
Tatterson said: “I was appointed to serve as city clerk/treasurer in 2009 and was honored to be elected by the citizens in 2012. Over the past seven years I have had the opportunity to work in most aspects of city government. I feel that with my skills, knowledge, and experience I can further help our city administrators to continue with eliminating wasteful spending and increasing city funds which can aid in the growth and improvements within our city. Point Pleasant has challenges and opportunities and I am eager to continue my efforts in making our city a great place to live. It’s a privilege to serve Point Pleasant and I would greatly appreciate your support. I look forward to the opportunity to continue serving the citizens of Point Pleasant.”
Jimmie Wood, Jr. (D-Point Pleasant), is the son of Jim and Judi Wood and a graduate of Point Pleasant High School, Class of 1996. He graduated from the IBEW/ NECA apprenticeship in 2007 and has served on the executive board of IBEW LU 317. Wood has also been a supervisor on several multimillion dollar jobs throughout his career. He’s a member of Trinity UM Church where he is also a Boy Scout Troop leader. He’s also a member of Minturn Lodge 19 and has served on the Mason County 911 Advisory Board. Wood has been married to wife Ashley for 16 years and they have two children, Jimmie Wood, III (14) and Taylor Wood (9).
Brandy Barkey Sweeney (D-Point Pleasant), is a substitute teacher in Mason County and former Sunny 93 employee. An alumna of Point Pleasant High School, she also earned a BA in Journalism from Marshall University. She’s coordinator for Mason County Toys for Kids (member 35 years), Director Battle Days Pageant, Founder of Light of Christmas tree project, former president, vice president and coach of Mason County Soccer League, Center for Organ Recovery & Education volunteer, community cantata choir, Pre-K Collaborative committee, WSAZ’S Hometown Hero, Spirit of the Community Award, member/elder Presbyterian Church and attends New Hope Bible Baptist Church. She’s married to husband Brandon Sweeney and has three children – Braydon (5), Bryson (3) and Braylon (1).
Barkey Sweeney said: “I could give the typical answer but I’m answering truthfully from the heart. I love Point Pleasant. The people of Point make this the best city in the country. I’ve always volunteered and given to my community but you have given me so much more. During my heart transplant journey last year you showed love and support to my family and me. That is the reason I want to serve on your city council. I’m your average, approachable, and available citizen that will listen and take action. I get things done and I see projects until the end. I get results. I’ve proven not only in my personal life that perseverance is one of my best qualities. I will take your ideas seriously because it’s not about a few council members it’s about you the citizens who make up this great city. Proven commitment to the community and dedicated to it’s progress and it’s people.”
Janet Hartley (R-Point Pleasant), is a lifelong resident of Point Pleasant, a graduate of Point Pleasant High School and Gallipolis Business College. She’s been a full-time Realtor for 29 years which she says is a job that keeps her involved in every aspect of the city. In addition, she’s a member of Trinity UM Church, the American Legion Auxiliary, Women of the Moose Chapter 594, West Virginia Association of Realtors, the Huntington Board of Realtors, Kanawha Valley Board of Realtors, serves on the Mason County Community Foundation marketing committee, and is a past president of Point Pleasant Rotary Club who was honored in 2011 by her peers as “Rotarian of the Year.”
Hartley said: “I hope to be re-elected so I may continue serving on the Krodel Park Playground Committee and as chairperson of the Recreational Committee. I’m dedicated to bringing a spray park into our city. I will continue to care, listen and address all matters brought to me in a fair and kind fashion. It’s important to me to make our town a better place to live and I will work hard with the other council members to encourage growth for the town we call home. Vote for me on May 10 so I can continue serving you as your council-at-large.”
Marty Reed, aka, Martha Lynn Harmon Reed, (D-Point Pleasant), is a lifelong resident of Mason County. She resides in Point Pleasant and has for the last 41 years. She graduated from Point Pleasant High School in 1971, then attended Glenville State College obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Education. In 1975, she moved back to Point Pleasant as Mrs. Ed Reed to start her teaching career and family. She attended Marshall University, graduating with a Master’s of Arts degree in Music Education in 1983. She was employed by the Mason County Board of Education for 37 years, also President of AFT Mason for 19 years, before retiring in 2012.
Reed said: “Growing up, my father and I would go to the stock sale every Saturday and I shopped with my mother at Kroger’s, Morrison’s and Fisher’s department stores, Ben Franklin’s shoe store, Hall’s Drug Store and G.C. Murphy’s. No store front was empty. When I was raising my boys, Tony, Brian and Alex, I was totally immersed in every sport they played. I coached and refed soccer when they were younger and cheered them on during football, soccer, track, tennis and wrestling. During this time, Point Pleasant was losing businesses. If you needed something you had to go to Gallipolis, Huntington, Parkersburg or Charleston to buy it. However, being a busy teacher, wife and mom I didn’t notice. Now I am retired and have “stopped to smell the roses” and they aren’t so sweet smelling. Point Pleasant is crumbling down. I do not blame anyone but I would like to work and try to build it back again.”
Charles Towner (R-Point Pleasant), is a graduate of Point Pleasant High School and earned a B.A. degree from WVU. He obtained two master’s degrees from Marshall University – one in Human Resource Management and the other in Counseling. He went on to earn a master’s degree in Education Administration from Salem University and is employed at the Central Office of Mason County Schools. Towner currently serves on the finance, sewer and water committees for the city. He was the past chairman of the Historic Landmark Commission and also serves as a member of the Mason County Family Resource Network. He is a member of Christ Episcopal Church.
Towner said: “I decided to run for city council for one main reason: to give back to the city and community. For me, Point Pleasant was a terrific place to grow up and live. As a child growing up here, I enjoyed recreational activities in a safe, friendly town where many people knew my name and everyone looked out for one another. As an adult, I still view Point Pleasant in the same way and I wish to give back, to represent the citizens and give them a voice at the council table, and serve the city that has always been so good to me. I have appreciated representing the citizens over the past four years and I hope to continue serving you, working with the council, city administration, and others to keep moving Point Pleasant forward for future generations.”
Reach Beth Sergent at [email protected] or on Twitter @BSergentWrites.