Dem councilmen face off for Hubbard mayor

Darko not running for re-election, no Republican running

HUBBARD — After Mayor John Darko announced in December he was not running for re-election, two sitting city council members are vying to fill the position in the May primary.

Benjamin Kyle, D-at Large, and Timothy O’Hara, D-2nd Ward, both said they agree with Darko’s approach to the city and said that, if elected, they would continue that approach. No one is running in the Republican primary, but someone still could file as an independent or write-in candidate until May 6.

Kyle, who owns Kyle Monuments and is vice-president of the Stewart-Kyle Funeral Home, said he fully understands the demands of an unconventional work day.

“The mayor’s position is not a full-time position. One thing I’ve always viewed, not only my industry — obviously being a family business — but also public services, you’re never really on the clock or off the clock,” Kyle said. “Twenty-four hours a day is something I know from the funeral home. It’s late nights, early mornings. It’s just the way that it is.”

Kyle’s main priorities involve the community, economic development and school safety. Included within that is the idea of modernizing the city not just by updating equipment or utilities, but practices as well. He mentioned the possibility of a text or email alert system to quickly communicate with residents. He is also very passionate about the senior citizens of Hubbard.

“One nice thing being chairman of finance, I’ve been able to work with Mayor Darko over the last number of years, putting together a plan and saying, ‘OK, what are some of these immediate needs?'” Kyle said.

Kyle is also passionate about Hubbard’s economic development. He wants to bring new businesses into the city to occupy the vacant buildings. He’s already been in contact with the Youngstown Business Incubator and the Youngstown Warren Regional Chamber with plans on how to accomplish this.

“We want a welcoming community, but we want to make sure that that pride is still in the community. We have a lot of blight just like other communities do. If you don’t invest in yourself, who’s going to want to invest in you,” Kyle said.

O’Hara, the owner of ReEmployment Specialist at Rehab Placement Services, LLC, believes his business will not interfere with his duties as mayor. This is O’Hara’s second campaign for Hubbard mayor.

“Probably 12 years ago (2008), I filed late to run as a Democrat so I was going to run as an independent, but not knowing that you couldn’t vote in the Democratic primary, I did. Apparently, it had never been called out before,” O’Hara said. “After I was removed from the ballot, I ran for ward council in 2010 and I’ve been there since.”

O’Hara wants to be mayor to keep the city moving in the direction Darko has set, but also wants to institute new services, such as a senior call program, to those that already exist in the city.

“Since I’ve been on council, I’ve prided myself on when I do get a call, I address it immediately,” O’Hara said. “My job should not interfere with being mayor.”

He serves as the chairman of the safety committee and is serving his third term with the Eagle Joint Fire Board. With this experience, he wants to continue safety efforts as well as making sure emergencies during the first shift are well manned and are responded to quickly. He has also been proposing ways to be less reliant on mutual aid. To continue safety efforts, O’Hara also said he would like to increase the number of police officers in the city. O’Hara, like Kyle and Darko, will not consider speed cameras.

He also wants to expand on the economic development of the city by occupying the vacant manufacturing properties and making Hubbard attractive to businesses.

“It really is my passion for the community,” said O’Hara. “It’s the love I have for the community, there’s no other place I’d rather live.”

bshiller@tribtoday.com

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