MANSFIELD -- The candidate who wins the race Nov. 5 to represent Mansfield City Council's 6th Ward certainly knows her way around council chambers.
Democrat Jean Taddie, 53, 282 Second Ave., was appointed to represent the 6th Ward in January to complete an unexpired term. She also served on the Mansfield City Charter Commission in 2015-2016.
Republican Stephanie Zader, 31, of 385 Greenlee Road, worked full-time as a City Council clerk for almost a year -- March 2018 through January 2019.
Taddie, who earned a bachelor's degree in business administration and master's degree in applied communication, both from Cleveland State University, said increased prosperity is the most pressing community issue.
"The 6th Ward and Mansfield as a whole are lagging behind in our recovery from the great recession," Taddie said. "With an improved economy, families could better afford to fix up their homes, our city could provide more services and patrols, our schools would have added support, and our residents would have opportunities."
Zader, a real estate agent who studied real estate and business at North Central State College, said she is running for council, "because I believe that there is a lot of good happening in Mansfield and I want to do my part to help continue the growth that we are experiencing as a city.
"We have so many organizations around the city that are doing so many amazing things, and I believe that city leadership is of the utmost importance in supporting these organizations," Zader said.
Taddie said the city needs a vision, goals and action plan.
"A well designed shovel-ready plan can attract grants funds and private investments that will move our economy forward," she said.
"During my 10 months in office, I have organized and participated in community clean ups, supported efforts to hold dumpster days in the 6th Ward, met with residents and local officials about a business dumping its waste, and motioned to amend our demo legislation to ensure that a property is cleaned up after demolition," Taddie said.
Taddie said she will also continue to work on brownfields within the 6th Ward, battling what she called "post-industrial blight."
Zader said she has focused on her campaign on city parks, business and community involvement.
"We have 30 parks in our city and I will work hand in hand with the Parks Department to look at ways we can increase funds and to not only maintain but also improve our city parks. There are a vast array of grants available for parks and I believe these grants are an excellent opportunity for our city to tap into," Zader said.
"We also have an Adopt-A-Park program, which has been grossly underutilized and is a perfect opportunity to get the community more involved," she said.
Zader said keeping current business and enticing new ones are crucial.
"Businesses create jobs, which both attracts people to our city and creates additional revenue for our city to continue improving. I will work with local business owners to support their needs by meeting with them regularly and listening to them.
"I will work with the administration and the community to find ways that we can entice businesses to come to Mansfield. I will not only be available to businesses who are looking for a place to call home, but I will also proactively contact businesses to share with them why Mansfield is where they want to be and what resources are available to them when they choose Mansfield," Zader said.
Zader said one of those resources is the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development, where she serves as an Ambassador, sharing with community businesses the benefits of membership.
"Community involvement is of the utmost importance as an elected official. The people of Mansfield want to see you and know that you care about the community, and the best way to show that is to show up," Zader said.
"I set a goal when I made the decision to enter into the election for Mansfield City Council that I was going to be a part of 30 to 60 community events/activities per month, and I have consistently achieved that goal throughout 2019," she said.
"This will continue to be a goal of mine after the election because I believe that consistently showing up for the community is of the utmost importance," Zader said.
A former community organizer and program manager, Taddie said revitalization will take everyone's efforts.
"My motto, 'Forward Together' speaks to my methods. We can progress toward our vision with a good action plan, so long as we all work together -- residents, businesses, nonprofits, faith-based groups, civic clubs, government agencies and all the rest," Taddie said.
Taddie, has lived in the 6th Ward for 22 years, said her experience and persistence set her apart from Zader.
"I already am serving as the Ward 6 councilwoman and also served on the Mansfield Charter Review Commission, which updated our city's governing structure.
"I care for our residents and want to see their questions answered and concerns resolved. Often, that takes persistence. When my constituents reach out to me, I not only call them back, I follow up and stick with it. Some issues can be addressed in a day or two, but other issues, such as dumping areas ot out-of-service fire hydrants, take persistence and follow up over weeks and months," Taddie said.
Zader said seeking election to council is not about politics for her.
"It's about serving my city and the citizens who live in it. When I walk into those Council chambers, my opinion is not what is important, it’s about what is best for the citizens. I will always work for what is best for the citizens, regardless of my own thoughts and opinions," she said.
"Having served full-time as a Clerk for Mansfield City Council, I have unique insight into the day to day of how the City of Mansfield functions and I believe that this insight is invaluable in serving as a Councilperson. This experience gives me firsthand knowledge of not only the legislation process, but the entire inner-workings of the City of Mansfield," Zader said.
The elected council position pays $7,536 annually.
(Coming Friday: Falquette, Scott square off for City Council At-Large seat.)