Meier and Crundwell

Democrat Cheryl Meier and Republican Jason Crundwell are competing to represent the 2nd Ward on Mansfield City Council. Election Day is Nov. 5.

MANSFIELD -- One thing is certain after the Nov. 5 election. The residents of Mansfield's 2nd Ward will have a new representative on City Council.

Two political newcomers, Republican Jason Crundwell and Democrat Cheryl Meier, are competing to replace outgoing Councilman Jeff Rock, who is prevented from seeking re-election due to term limits.

Neither Crundwell, 42, of 485 Forest Hill Road, and Meier, 53, of Andover Road, were opposed in May's primary to represent the ward on Mansfield's near south side.

The elected position pays $7,536 annually.

Crundwell, who graduated from Mansfield St. Peter's High School and earned a bachelor of science in communication from Mansfield University of Pennsylvania, is the director of development for St. Peter's School and also owns Crundwell Digital Marketing.

Meier, a Willard native who has lived in the 2nd Ward for 28 years, earned an associate's degree from North Central State College. She has worked as a Realtor at Haring Realty for 19 years.

Crundwell said his candidacy offers his family's long-standing roots in the community -- and the experience he gained in more than a decade working elsewhere.

"What I believe sets me apart from my opponent is that I am passionate about Mansfield – a community that my family has been a part of for more than 100 years. Anyone who knows me, knows I’m passionate about St. Peter’s School and how I want to see Catholic education remain a part of our community," Crundwell said. "I want to also bring that same passion to my role in city council and be a cheerleader for our community."

"Second, working in broadcast television for 12 years required me to bounce around the country working in different cities. I’ve lived in Toledo, Corpus Christi, Texas, and suburban Indianapolis. Each of those communities has all experienced different challenges in improving their communities. It’s that outside perspective I hope to bring to the table and challenge the notion of 'That’s how we’ve always done it,'" Crundwell said.

Meier said her 28 years in the 2nd Ward make a difference, as well as her professional experience.

"My career in real estate has brought it with a deep knowledge of Mansfield and its neighborhoods. My husband and I are empty-nesters with two adult children. My flexible work schedule will allow me ample opportunity to do the job as a council person," Meier said.

Crundwell said experiences with Leadership Unlimited in Mansfield convinced him to seek office.

"There were several calls throughout the year that we needed forward-thinking leadership in our community. There are so many good things happening in Mansfield, and I wanted to be an advocate for that growth," Crundwell said.

"When I was in high school (the mid-90s), the message to us as graduating seniors was: go to college, get a degree, and never return to Mansfield. However, living in other states and big cities made me realize that our community and region is a great place to live and raise a family," he said.

"Those who have lived in Mansfield for their entire lives don’t always see the opportunities that our community has to offer," Crundwell said.

Meier said, "I was inspired to run because I care about my neighbors in the 2nd Ward. I will be someone they can reach and their voice when need be."

Crundwell outlined his three key issues as serving 2nd Ward residents, operating with fiscal responsibility and digital communications.

"One of the biggest complaints of many people living in our ward was having their councilperson listen to their needs and concerns. Primarily, issues that should be sent to code enforcement, but I’ve also heard about drug houses, problems with water bills, etc. As a councilperson, I plan to be responsive to calls and emails from constituents. I worked my way through college in retail – and it’s that basic customer service philosophy that I will bring to the job," he said.

"City Council is responsible for the budget and its approval. We don’t have a lot of wiggle room in our city finances, but I will work where I can to help find ways to be more efficient. I would like to see the city find the funding for a grant writer. I feel it’s a position that can pay for itself and free up department heads from writing grants and let them tackle other needed projects.

"I would like to work with the administration to create a digital communications plan that would tackle redeveloping the city website, create a social media policy, and a comprehensive plan to communicate with our citizens and people who are thinking about doing business or living in Mansfield," Crundwelll said.

Meier stressed communication, including bi-annual town hall meetings in the ward, improving the neighborhood's image and safety.

Meier said she will engage residents by enhancing her ward website to keep people updated on happenings in the city, including dates and times of council meetings, minutes from those meetings and general information about events planned around the city.

She promised to provide "simple communication about snow removal and leaf clean-up ... and an explanation, when possible, when those events are not happening in a timely manner."

Meier said she created a Facebook page titled "Keep Woodland Safe" in 2016 after her neighborhood experienced break-ins.

She said keeping up with codes and permits and the rising number of rental properties is essential and that "some standards of maintenance are crucial to keeping up properties."

"I believe we have lost a lot of the neighborly attitudes of the past. I will continue my work with neighborhood watch programs, growing existing programs and creating new ones," Meier said.

(Coming Thursday: Preview of the Mansfield City Council 6th Ward race.)

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City editor. 30-year plus journalist. Husband. Father of 3 grown sons and also a proud grandpa. Prior military journalist in U.S. Navy, Ohio Air National Guard. -- Favorite quote: "Where were you when the page was blank?"