GIRARD — With the November election approaching, voters will soon make decisions on a wide variety of issues. Locally, in Girard, citizens will be voting for two City Council seats. While incumbent councilman Lucas Stansbury is the only candidate who has filed for the Ward 2 position, the election for the Ward 4 seat promises to be a more competitive race between candidates Aaron Kravitz and Jeff Leslie.

In response to inquiries from the Morning Sun, all three candidates for Girard City Council recently weighed in on their reasons for running and what their goals and priorities would be if elected.

“I've spent most of my life serving in the military,” Kravitz wrote in an email to the newspaper, “since moving here to Girard I have continued to look for ways to be involved. With this seat coming open, it seemed like a great opportunity to serve my community.”

Kravitz also discussed what his priorities would be as a councilman.

“Girard needs dynamic leaders who have a clear vision of how to move the city forward into the 21st century while respecting the traditions and small town feel that make this city great,” he wrote.

His initial priorities would include transparency — this would mean “a more responsive and open council” and being “available for and approachable to the citizens,” Kravitz wrote. He would also prioritize long-term planning — “to address city infrastructure, growth and development” — encouragement of small business, and “fair treatment and impartiality from the city.”

Kravtiz’s competitor for the Ward 4 seat, Jeff Leslie, also recently spoke to the Morning Sun, discussing his reasons for running.

“Basically it’s just because I love Girard,” Leslie said. “It’s been a great place to live since I moved here in 1994 and I’d like to do anything I can do to help keep it that way, and just, you know, help make things better wherever that’s possible.”

Leslie also discussed the approach he would take as a councilman and what his priorities would be.

“If the voters choose me, you know, first off, I am not a single-issue candidate and I have no axe to grind per se,” Leslie said, adding that he has a lot of love and respect for Girard, and wants to keep things that are good about the city the way they are, while making improvements to other things about the city that could use some work. “ So I would like to just do some assessment, you know, examine the resources that are available and prioritize some objectives for the betterment of our community,” Leslie said.

He has already done some thinking, he said, on what those objectives could be.

“I’d like to support and attract small businesses, like everyone would,” Leslie said. “Also, Girard could use some improvements to our city streets.” Where resources can be made available, he said, he would love to see some work done on city streets.

“And then also as a city councilman I’d like to, you know, have a foundation for what I do,” Leslie said. “I would like to routinely gather information from the town’s people, try to prioritize objectives that we can all agree upon, and then accomplish those objectives the best we possibly can through the resources that we can lay our hands on.”

Although incumbent councilman Lucas Stansbury is running unopposed for his Ward 2 seat, he also recently discussed his reasons for running in an email to the Morning Sun.

“I volunteered as a kid at the Arma nursing home and found a love for civic activities,” Stansbury wrote. “In college I was active in professional student organizations and other clubs on campus. “As an adult, I've been involved with the Girard Medical Center Foundation as President, Girard Area Chamber of Commerce and the Public Building Commission for Crawford County. Service to someone other than yourself is rewarding.”

Stansbury additionally noted his major priorities will be as a councilman.

“I hope to spend a good portion of the next four years listening to citizens and making informed decisions for the Girard Community as a whole,” he wrote. “Girard has several infrastructure issues that have not been addressed in some time. These items are going to require a proactive council and I hope to be a part of it. The quality of life for my ward as well as the rest of Girard are high on my list. Any project no matter the size will require different individuals contributing for a common goal. While I believe agenda politics can exist at the city level it’s an idea I do not support. A city must focus on moving forward and improving all services for its citizens.”