SMITHERS — Newly-elected Smithers mayor Dr. D. Anne Cavalier and her fellow office-holders will be sworn in on Friday, June 29.
"I'm excited, I'm honored, and certainly I'm challenged," said Cavalier, who easily won election earlier this month. Cavalier amassed 116 votes, while Charles Burkhamer received 11.
In the recorder's race, Patsy Tucker was unopposed and gathered 118 votes.
In the council race, votes were received as follows: Robert Keglor, 107; Rhea Cavalier, 100; Stephen Giannini, 99; Thomas B. Whittington Jr., 99; and Alma Bowles, 85.
The new office-holders will be sworn in at 4 p.m. on Friday.
Cavalier will replace Mayor Tom Skaggs, who chose not to seek another term in office.
Cavalier said she was asked by some to run for mayor four years ago. At the time, she didn't feel it was the right move, for a two-fold reason. "I appreciated Tom Skaggs (for his work in office), and I had never served in government before," she said.
Instead, Cavalier opted to seek one of the five city council seats, and she was successful and took office in July 2014.
"I learned a great deal these last four years," said Cavalier, who is a Kimberly native and has lived most of her life in the Upper Kanawha Valley.
Cavalier says a rebirth of a struggling UKV will rely on togetherness.
"All of the communities, whether incorporated or unincorporated, have to rebrand our economy ...," she said. "It's no secret to anybody .... when WVU made the decision to close Tech, it was (a big blow)."
At that point, Cavalier said locals had to decide whether to "throw up our hands" or "climb in the ring and fight for our communities."
She said cooperation between local municipalities Montgomery and Gauley Bridge with Smithers has "just been fantastic."
The Kanawha and Fayette county commissions have offered support and come to the table with funds, she added.
"I hope we are moving in the right direction," Cavalier said.
While Cavalier hadn't been involved in city government until she won her council seat four years ago, she has worked several public sector jobs which have featured aspects of community service.
She retired from WVU Tech (formerly West Virginia Institute of Technology) in 2008 after a career as a faculty member and administrator, during which she was a college vice president, director of the Tech Foundation and director of the alumni association. After that, she took a job with the United States Department of Commerce, Economic Development Administration as the state director for West Virginia and Maryland. She retired from that post in 2013 and has been working as a business development consultant since then.
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