ELYRIA — Two more people want to be Elyria’s next 4th Ward Council member, bringing the number vying for the vacating seat to seven residents.
Jeff Baxter, who has lived in the ward for more than 36 years, and Chuck Messer, who recently moved back to Elyria after years of living in Columbus, want to replace Councilman Mark Craig, who announced earlier this month his intentions to resign, leave Elyria and move to Vermilion. Craig, an independent, served as the 4th Ward Councilman for more than 10 years.
Messer submitted an application, resume and cover letter Monday.
“We purchased our home on Washington Avenue, where when growing up on the other side of the tracks — the eastside — I dreamed I’d always end up living,” he wrote. “I’m back and I’m ready and willing to get involved and serve our great city and the hardworking people who care about it. I want to listen, I want to communicate and I want to help make a difference.”
However, the 1988 graduate of Elyria High School may be out of the running early on.
Elyria’s charter requires a Councilperson must have been a resident of the city and the ward for one continuous year immediately prior to his or her election as well as a qualified elector in the city and the ward.
Messer wrote on his application that he has lived in Elyria and the 4th Ward for seven months.
Baxter, of Burns Road, said he is ready to put his experience to work in the city, something he has done with increasing frequency since retiring. He applied Tuesday.
“Since my retirement in February of 2017, I have immersed myself in learning about and becoming engaged with both Elyria City and Lorain County politics,” he wrote. “This has included attending many City Council meetings and becoming much more informed about the issues facing our city. At this juncture in time, I am interested in being part of the solutions for Elyria.”
Baxter and Messer are in addition to five other Elyria residents who expressed interest earlier this month in the seat. They are Kenny Oswald, Ray Noble, Chalene Mudd, Phil Tollett and Chad Schneider.
Applications are being accepted until 4 p.m. July 31.
The city’s charter spells out that if an independent leaves Council then the vacancy is filled by a majority vote of the remaining members. The seat has to be filled within 30 days from the time the vacancy occurs or the mayor appoints the replacement. The 30-day clock starts Aug. 1.
Mudd, of Berkley Road, first threw her name into Elyria politics three years ago when she entered the mayor’s race as a write-in against Mayor Holly Brinda. She said Sunday she is seeking Craig’s seat because its an opportunity to serve the community.
“I have always expressed my desire to assist Elyria and our residents in anyway I am able to,” she said. “Until this point, we had a great Councilman covering our ward and therefore I had no need to show interest in the position, but with the opening made available by Mark leaving, I think it would be a great way for me to give back.”
Schneider, 33, of Crestview Drive, is currently on the city’s Planning Commission, which is a volunteer appointment, and is a local real estate agent.
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