Online exclusive: Three Clarion council candidates appeal to voters one last time during forum last week

Three of the four candidates attended and answered questions at the forum: (L to R) incumbent Teresa Lancaster, challenger Larry Harrah, and incumbent Andy Young, The fourth candidate, challenger Shayne Hennigar was not present. Photo provided

            (Since the candidate forum took place after last week’s paper was sent to print and voting will have already taken place when this week’s paper is published, this article is available online only.)

            With voting happening tomorrow, Tuesday, the Clarion City Council candidates tried to get in their last messages to voters at the candidate forum held last week. The forum was sponsored by the Lions and the Clarion Rotary and held at the public library in front of a packed house.

            Three of the four candidates attended and answered questions at the forum: incumbents Teresa Lancaster and Andy Young, and challenger Larry Harrah. The fourth candidate, challenger Shayne Hennigar was not present.

            In his opening statement, Young encouraged citizens to get involved and ask questions. He also noted that if feathers are being ruffled, that probably mean the council is heading in the right direction and making progress. Young ended his opening statement saying that his goal is “to make Clarion the best small town that America has to offer” and invited others who share that goal to vote for him.

            Lancaster explained in her opening statement that she previously lost two council elections and then was appointed when a councilman moved out of town. She noted that she was encouraged by others to take the post because she was “someone who could bring issues to the table.” She embraced the position and jumped wholeheartedly into it.

            Harrah talked about moving to town in 1997. He said that many of the businesses that were open when he moved are now closed. He said that he hopes to work towards bringing businesses to town and get bring new people to Clarion.

            Throughout the event, the candidates answered many questions from the crowd. Major themes kept arising for each person. Lancaster said repeatedly that Clarion needs good leadership and accountability and that that affects all areas. She added that would be a quality she hopes to see in their new city administrator above all else. Lancaster also spoke various times about accountability and that the city needs to do a better job being accountable at all levels, from the mayor to the council to every city employee. 

            Young, who has been on the council for last four years, mentioned experience and accomplishments various times. He explained that he has stepped in to take on many city administrator duties since that job has been vacant. When a question asking the council if they’ve accomplished anything was asked, Young listed various things that had been accomplished during his term, such as “completing the waste water treatment plant, addressing nuisances on which serious progress has been made, and investing hundreds of thousands of dollars to improve water quality in the south part of town, and taking ownership of three abandoned, dilapidated homes for their demolition” in addition to many other things.

            Harrah discussed working to better the city. He noted that he is not running to better himself or the business he works for. Rather, he wants to improve Clarion. He said that he believes city ordinances should be enforced as they are written. He also said that he will be happy to talk to constituents and put in the time should he be elected to the council.

            Voting in Clarion takes place at the county courthouse with polls open from 7 am – 8 pm.