The three candidates for Johnstown mayor all have their strong points, but one of them stands apart in the ability to lead the city.
Helen Martin has political experience, a record of substantial civic involvement and a firm grasp of the issues affecting Johnstown.
Martin, 62, has served as Johnstown 3rd Ward councilwoman since 2010 and is chairwoman of the city's Tourism/Special Events Committee. She's worked at Milligan & Higgins in Johnstown as exports director since 1991. She's volunteered for numerous community organizations in an effort to preserve history, promote tourism and encourage commerce in the city. Among her affiliations, she's president of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women's Consortium, first vice president of the Women's Republican Club of Fulton County, a member of the American Association of University Women and a member of the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Hometown Association.
But her resume isn't the only reason to elect Martin on Tuesday. Martin offers sensible, realistic ideas for improving Johnstown. She wants to focus the city on attracting high-tech industry, but also companies that would suit blue-collar workers. She wants to reopen negotiations with the town of Mohawk to annex land for a regional business park. Martin aims to strengthen the city's tourism industry by highlighting and supporting local attractions and history - something she's already been involved with through her volunteer efforts. Martin vows to work with other communities in the area to share resources and foster economic growth. She also would seek to keep taxes and spending down. Martin would focus on promoting the use of existing buildings and starting city-sponsored building and sidewalk improvement programs.
Martin has extensive knowledge about the city and its challenges. She has experience with networking with other leaders in the region to address some of those challenges, such as blight, unemployment and downtown revitalization. Martin has political experience and understands the details of how government operates, eliminating the learning curve her challengers - Scott Jeffers and Michael Julius - would face in the mayoral position.
In addition, Martin is an articulate speaker, a practical thinker and a responsible citizen - someone who would represent the city with maturity and professionalism.
Martin's opponents are viable candidates. Julius, 63, a former pharmacy owner, has expertise in business and would bring those skills to the job as mayor. Jeffers, 29, has a lot of energy and ambition and would bring some fresh ideas to City Hall. We hope he continues to stay involved in city politics.
However, Martin's experience, knowledge, ideas and demeanor combine to make her the best candidate for Johnstown mayor.