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Strick joins race for mayor

by Andrew Maciejewski

amaciejewski@h-ponline.com

Richard Strick is no longer campaigning to retain his District 3 seat on city council now that his name is set to appear as an Independent Party candidate for mayor.

Strick won the Republican Party nomination for city council in an uncontested race during the Primary Election. Since the 2019 General Election filing deadline is closed, Stick joins current Huntington County Commissioner President Larry Buzzard, who won the Republican nomination after defeating incumbent Brooks Fetters in the Primary Election, and Independent Party candidate Johnnie Hiles, who has ran for mayor twice.

Strick said the GOP recruited him to run in 2015 but that the voters charged him with “working for the good of everyone in Huntington,” which he said the current council and administration are doing.

“After the primary, you either get on board with your party’s nominee or you file a petition to run as an Independent,” he said. “George Washington was right – we can’t let loyalty to a party or a person outweigh loyalty to the greater good of the community. My loyalty is to Huntington.”

He said his opponents are not asking the right questions or focusing on the right issues. He said he plans to focus on curbing the declining population of the city while addressing the need for infrastructure upgrades, above and below the pavement, for future generations, something he said he has yet to hear during his opponents collective six unsuccessful campaigns.

Unlike his opponents, he said he’s been involved with major projects like acquiring land for a new industrial park, cleaning and improving main streets leading into the city and increasing access to parks and playgrounds, not just “backslapping or pandering to win elections.”

“I’m the only candidate on the ballot that has been showing up to city meetings,” he said. “I have the best grasp of what is going on in the city. I’m out in the community chipping in on projects and helping constituents solve problems they’re facing.”

Strick says his experience as a national leader at Love in the Name of Christ, commonly called Love INC, makes him qualified for the job because he coaches 50 local teams in 22 states while building new teams to start affiliate programs.

He also currently serves on the Pathfinder Services Board of Directors and is a board member at the LaFontaine Center. He was also previously a member of the Huntington Ministerial Association as well as the Love INC local and national boards.

To improve the quality of life for citizens, Strick said he wants to improve upon what Huntington already has in terms of business and events, especially focusing on retain and small business development.

“We’re starting to make progress but there is more we can do,” he said. “That includes approaching the relationship between the city and downtown business owners differently.”

When Strick looks at downtown, he said he doesn’t see it as dark and dismal as others do. He said he will always champion the good he sees in the community, especially since he’s met families from Marion, Bluffton and Fort Wayne coming to Huntington to get food at local shops or go to parks like the BMX Pump Track.

He wants to keep working on allowing kids to have safe and easy access to the parks system, cleaning up the river and continuing plans for a downtown arts center to give them more options and keep them off their phones or electronics.

“We also need to address tensions between landlords, tenants, and homeowners,” he said. “That’s a tangled and complicated problem. I would start addressing it by inviting willing parties to find solutions together. It’s not something I could solve on my own.”

He said he’s also been listening to voters and realizes he wants to do more to ensure a person’s neighborhood doesn’t determine whether there are curbs on the street or good drainage.

Since Huntington is a strong mayor system, meaning the mayor is actively involved in shaping the direction of the community and not just a figurehead, he said the city needs to keep moving forward and not slow down, saying the city is on the cusp of big things.

“Leadership matters. We’ve all had bad bosses, and in elections, the voters get to make the right hire,” he said. “We deserve a mayor that will strengthen our reputation as a city regionally, statewide, and nationally. I will always represent us well.”