Voters in Charleston, West Virginia, have a good problem in the election for mayor and in several city council races: There are more good candidates to fill the seats than there are positions open.
In the high profile race for mayor, the electable candidates are Republican JB Akers, who holds the part-time position of city clerk in addition to his full-time law practice downtown, and Democrat Amy Shuler Goodwin, former television news anchor, representative for several campaigns and state tourism commissioner, among other titles.
Both candidates are extremely capable for the job. Both candidates have good ideas to move the city forward. Both have a passion for their city.
In fact, since neither can find good reason the other shouldn’t be elected, they both grasped at straws during the Oct. 16 debate to find a negative on the other.
Goodwin tried hard to paint Akers as a key part of the existing Danny Jones administration, as if that were a negative, while Akers blamed a drop in state tourism on Goodwin, who pointed out the drop he referred to coincided with the devastating floods of 2016.
The Daily Mail Opinion page can’t find a strong negative to rule out either of the two, but gives preference to Akers. Akers has the support of Charleston’s firefighters and police — the folks who put their lives on the line every day — which is reason enough for a vote for the Republican. Those public safety workers — along with downtown shoppers and downtown business owners — bore the brunt of the criminal transient problem exacerbated by the Kanawha-Charleston Health Department’s failed needle-free-for-all-program.
Akers will continue the positives the Jones administration has done, yet with a fresh look and more future-oriented vision.
Whichever candidate wins, we hope he or she will call on the talents of the opponent, as well as independent candidate Andy Backus, for ideas and support.