We believe the city of Fairmont has been fortunate to have some of the same leaders in place for many years. Specifically, we're referring to council members Harlan Gorath and Wes Clerc. Gorath has been on the council since 1996; Clerc since 1991. The kind of experience and understanding they bring to city government would be difficult, if not impossible, to replace.
We do not always agree with everything these two gentlemen choose to support, but we do believe they are thoughtful in their approaches. They have the best interests of the city in mind. And we call them gentlemen because they strive to get along with and work with their fellow council members. They are models of civility. Both are also open and honest with the public.
Critics will pounce and say that any problems in Fairmont should be tied to city officials, especially long-serving ones. But we believe Clerc and Gorath have helped the city remain stronger than it might otherwise be, given troubled economic times and declining state aid to local government.
Meanwhile, in Ward 4, Councilman Andy Lucas is stepping aside, creating an open seat. In the race to fill it, we are most impressed with write-in candidate Wayne Hasek, who has some unique knowledge when it comes to cities and insurance issues. He also is putting a focus on helping existing businesses expand. In addition, we think Hasek brings a really positive outlook to the work ahead.
It is for these reasons that the Sentinel endorses Clerc, Gorath and Hasek in the races for City Council this year.
We commend all the candidates contending for council seats for stepping forward to run. It takes a lot of courage to put yourself out there for public scrutiny or criticism, but our system could not work without these brave citizens.