Candidates for Wheeling president pitch why you should vote for them
The two candidates for Wheeling village president gave very different reasons when recently asked why voters should support them.
Incumbent Pat Horcher cited his experience in office, among other reasons. Challenger Mark Smith touted the real estate developments his firm has constructed in town as a reason to check the box next to his name.
Horcher and Smith are competing for a 4-year term in the April 6 consolidated election. They talked about their qualifications and other issues in a joint, online interview with the Daily Herald.
A florist at Horcher's Country Flowers in Wheeling, Horcher was elected village president in 2017. He served as trustee from 1995 to 2011.
"I do have a pretty good resume," Horcher said.
Horcher said he doesn't remember every decision he's made as an elected official, but he said he'd "probably do the same (things) again."
Horcher said he's proud of the work he's done and believes he's done an "honorable" job as president.
"We've tightened up our ship," he said. "We have a good, lean, well-running machine now."
And yet, Horcher said he doesn't brag about his elected job when he meets people at his store.
"I'm a florist," he said. "That's what I do."
Smith, a real estate developer and builder with Wheeling-based Smith Family Construction, said he's passionate about the Wheeling community, noting he's lived in town for 40 years.
"I just really want to have an opportunity to give back," he said.
Smith touted his time as a youth athletic coach as well as his professional experience in Wheeling, noting that his company has built more than 330 homes in town.
Smith didn't knock the leadership at village hall, instead saying things "can be done differently with different ideas."
Although running independently, Horcher has teamed with incumbent trustee candidates James Ruffatto, Mary Krueger and Mary Papantos and clerk candidate Debbie Acevedo to promote their campaigns via a Facebook page called Keep Wheeling Rolling.
Smith is part of a candidate slate called Moving Wheeling Forward. It also features trustee candidates Donald Lee Waller, Kim Scanlon and Laura Rodriguez and clerk hopeful Kathy Brady.