To the editor: I was born and raised in Salem and I'm a lifelong Democrat who has served on city council. I've also been strongly involved in union activities over the years. However, the greatest political experience I have had is the honor of serving as service/safety director under a Republican mayor who works hard and keeps his promises and puts the city of Salem above any political party. Four years ago Mayor Jerry Wolford told the voters what he intended to do. In every area he has kept his promise by putting all of Salem above party politics. When told there was no money to complete East Pershing Street, Mayor Wolford persevered and secured funding through grants and assistance from the Utilities Commission to complete the project. East Pershing Street now sees a steady flow of traffic and citizens now have a safer way to exit the Marc's plaza and access the east end.
When faced with a major expense for safety forces from the Super Nats after party, Mayor Wolford brought people together from both political parties to turn the Quaker City Cruise event from a $35,000 loss into an $ 18,000 profit in two years. After being told it would be political suicide to bring all city unions under one common agreement, Mayor Wolford opened dialogue with each to gain an agreement fair to all. That new agreement with all four bargaining groups is now signed and approved unanimously by city council. Open communication and a sense of mutual respect and trust between Mayor Wolford and union city employees prevailed, not political rhetoric. Mayor Wolford's love for Salem was evident when he sought out and obtained grant money to tear down 43 dilapidated structures. Citywide pride isn't just a campaign slogan. Salem, like most small towns in America, has lost a lot of jobs in the last 10 or so years, but after talks with a prospective employer Mayor Wolford reached out to state office holders of both parties to secure a grant to clean out Buttermilk Run along Pennsylvania Avenue which resulted in Columbus McKinnon Corp. taking over an empty Solartec building and bringing over 90 good-paying jobs.
When he first took office in January 2008 Mayor Wolford's first words to me were "We will respond to people's concerns in a timely manner." I'm proud to say we have done just that. As far as I'm concerned there is only one choice for mayor of Salem-Jerry Wolford.
STEVE ANDRES, Salem