2021 Election: New Paris Village Council

R-H Staff

The following candidates are running in the upcoming Nov. 2 general election for New Paris Village Council (four openings), with the terms commencing Jan. 1, 2022.

John Arthur

Occupation: Sales.

Past Political Positions Held: This will be my first attempt at political office.

Education: I am a proud graduate of National Trail High School. “It’s Better to be a Blazer.”

Community Involvement: Where do I begin? I coached recreational girls softball in New Paris for 25 plus years. I have been a member of past AppleFest committees as well as being a current member of the Clarence Teaford American Legion Post 360. I am a past member of the Northwest Emergency Services dating back to the 80s

My wife and myself have always found time to volunteer ourselves for numerous activities, including, but not limited to the Annual Toys for Kids benefit which is put on by the Legion Riders Post 360.

If there is an event in New Paris, the likelyhood of us being there to support and lend a hand is quite high.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

As I have stated numerous times, I am not a politician. I am not a CPA nor a successful businessman. I don’t have college degrees, and I don’t have a working knowledge of small-town government, but I do have one thing. Something I feel is vital. A love for this town. I was born and raised in New Paris. I have lived here for the majority of my 60 years. I’ve raised my children here. In my time, have seen the good, the bad and the ugly. I know what this village used to be and what it can be again. There comes a time when the same ol’ same ol’ is no longer working and the need for fresh ideas is critical.

What are the most crucial issues facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address it?

As with any village, the crucial issues vary from person to person. However, I would have to say that the issue that most residents bring up is the condition of our roadways. I do not disagree, but I will say that progress is being made. It’s a slow process and is funded thru grants for the most part. I feel that this needs to be a focal point for our council and I hope to have the opportunity to help bring it to fruition.

Another critical issue facing the council is the lack of confidence the pubic has in them. I hear everyday about how the people I talk to feel left out, ignored, or in the dark. It will be my goal to bring the citizens of our village closer to the council so that we can work together to make this village strong.

If elected or re-elected, what would be your chief priorities?

My number one goal is to make the residents feel involved. Transparency has been my chief talking point. I believe the people of this village have a right to know what is happening. They have a right to know what was discussed and what decisions are being made at the meetings. They put their trust in elected officials and everything that is done affects them in one way or another.

It would be my hope to bring these meetings into every home. Whether through audio, video, or print. Not everyone has the same abilities or access, but everyone has the desire and right to be informed. So a variety of information sharing needs to be in place.

Peggy Bishop

Occupation: Care giver.

Past Political Position Held: New Paris Village Council, 2018-2022.

Education: Jefferson High School Graduate. Columbus Community College – computer classes.

Community Involvement: New Paris Volunteer Park Committee. Clarence Teaford American Legion#360 Auxiliary.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

When a taxpayer comes to me with an issue, I always follow up and transfer the issue to the council or the proper committee member(s).

What are the most crucial issues facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address it?

Being more transparent. Have the council meetings more available for the taxpayers that don’t have the internet system but have TVs in their homes.

If elected or re-elected, what would be your chief priorities?

This is my fourth year as a council member. I am observing how the council members are operating. More attention should be paid to old business.

Jessica Updegraff

Occupation: Business owner.

Past Political Positions Held: None.

Education: National Trail/MVCTC Graduate, AAS in Accounting from Ivy Tech, BA in Human Services from Southern New Hampshire University.

Community Involvement: When my children were younger I was a Girl Scout/Brownie Assistant/leader, I volunteered to help the Boosters, participated in parades, and helped with various other community things with my children. I haven’t been involved in much for the last several years due to getting finished with school myself and getting my businesses off and running.

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

I’m not going to say that I’m the most qualified, but I will say I do believe I’m a great candidate. New Paris is my home town, and I have loved and hated this town through the years. Loved it because of the people and the closeness of most of the community. Hated it, like most young people do, wanting nothing more than to get away. I never did run away, I stayed and raised my children in this town because of my love for it and the safeness I felt here. This town has been through many changes, as to be expected with time. I would just like a chance to help be part of the future progress of New Paris.

What are the most crucial issues facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address it?

I think one of the issues facing this office is people feeling they are not being heard by the council. I’m not saying the current council doesn’t listen, I’m just saying some people don’t know how to get themselves heard. Whether putting out a suggestion box, opening up a specific forum online, or even letting more people know of how to get on the council meeting agenda, all of these suggestions could help with more local voices being heard.

Secondly, there is the roads and sidewalks issue. This is an issue that cannot be solved overnight. The current council is doing their best to work methodically on the streets in town. It is an issue that will still need to be addressed if I was to get elected and will be something that I would gladly continue with the progress that the current council is making.

Finally, there are many people that are not happy with some old ordinances or new ordinances being used/created that are not seen as necessary, or that impede various aspects of their lives. In my opinion there are some ordinances that have not taken into consideration the passage of time or changes in society. As with many other locals; an ordinance that applied 30 or even 15 years ago may not hold up to the changes in society. I’m not saying tear down the system, I just want to help the system to catch up.

If elected or re-elected, what would be your chief priorities?

My chief priorities would be to listen to the general public to the best of my abilities. There may be issues that cannot be solved to the satisfaction of everyone, but I would hope that my desire to be open with my opinion enough that people know where I stand. I’m not someone who is known for saying stuff just to make people happy. If I state my opinion on an issue, unless something drastically changes, it will not change.

Editor’s Note: The following candidates did not respond to our request for candidate profiles: Jean Brower, Luther Conway, Morton Maish, Norman Smith.

R-H Staff