EDITOR’S NOTE: This is one in a series of stories profiling each of the nine Ashland city commission candidates
A new face is taking part in the upcoming Ashland city commissioners race.
Frank Fitzpatrick, 57, was born and raised in Ashland. He said four words to describe him if elected as the next city commissioner are honesty, integrity, liberty and transparency. He said the two most important things Ashland should focus on is fixing the 100-year-old waterlines to improve quality of life and bringing in more jobs to grow the population.
“The last thing I found was an estimate of the population here,” said Fitzpatrick. “We are only 382 people away from being under a 20,000 population. When I was a kid back in the ’60s and ’70s, the population was over 30,000.”
He said growing the population would ease the burden on the people who call Ashland their home and will encourage more businesses to come to the city.
“Without growth, I can’t see it blossoming,” said Fitzpatrick. “I know a lot of people want to see it blossom and they want it to grow. All the pretty stuff they’ve been doing here is awesome, but we need more people to participate in that.”
The population decrease has been happening for the last 30 years, Fitzpatrick said.
Fitzpatrick has never run for public office before, and though he is nervous, he is excited. He is one of the people running for the people, he said.
“I’m blue collar and I always will be blue collar,” said Fitzpatrick. “I’m not polished. I’m new at this.”
Fitzpatrick also knows the hardships the city has faced personally. His previous position as a mechanical maintenance technician at Air Products & Chemicals was terminated a year after the plant idled.
“I know what people have gone through with the businesses gone here,” said Fitzpatrick. “I have first-hand experience with it.”
In his free time, Fitzpatrick refurbishes homes in Ashland.
He has been doing this with his wife for the last 25 years. He loves making a home that needs attention into a beautiful home. He and his family live in the homes for a couple years before moving on to the next one.
“With holding down a full-time job and also doing renovations in the evenings and weekends, I’m used to the long hours and the hard work,” he said. “It’s nothing that will stop me.”
The primary election for the city commissioner election is on May 19. The primary election will drop the number candidates from nine to six. There are four seats on the board of city commissioners.
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