TROY — Neither William “Bill” Lutz nor Robin Oda is a stranger to Troy City Council chambers.
Both have served as at-large city council members, with Oda serving eight years and Lutz serving two years.
In addition, Lutz is in his fourth year as the council president, while Oda has been the mayor during that same period.
Now, they are facing off in the Republican race for mayor in the May 2 primary election. No Democrat filed for the mayor’s term that will become effective Jan. 1, 2024.
Oda, 62, said her first term as mayor started with two unprecedented events in its early weeks — a January tornado that damaged the downtown area and the COVID-19 pandemic that arrived in March 2020.
“We kept our focus and continued to operate as normally as possible. We continued to welcome new businesses, development and expansions. For example, we were happy to welcome the Pella Corp. and Agave & Rye at the height of the COVID shutdowns,” Oda said.
Lutz, 45, said being a lifelong resident of Troy and working in the nonprofit community are pluses.
“The conservative values I have learned and shared with others such as fiscal prudence, civic responsibility and personal accountability were instilled in me by living and growing up here,” he said. “I have built a lifetime of strong working relationships with others wanting to make our community a stronger and better place for families and businesses.”
Oda said the city’s challenges include workforce-related issues including housing, transportation and childcare.
“Work ethic is also a part of this discussion when we talk with local employers. While I don’t believe government is the answer, we are engaged in discussions on a local level with our larger industries and several organizations on what possible solutions might look like,” she said. “Additionally, the city has made a one-time donation to the ‘Rides to Work’ program. We continue to be engaged in discussions regarding any and all workforce issues.”
Lutz said challenges include creating a stronger and more resilient workforce, providing housing options to attract new residents and asking residents if they are getting value for the tax dollars being spent. Efforts will continue to grow a strong local economy, including giving people the opportunity to find and grow a career here, Lutz said.
“Talking with businesses of all sizes, their challenges revolve largely around workforce development and employee retention and attraction, specifically around the challenges of transportation, childcare and workforce housing,” he said. “We need leadership to understand, advocate and work with nonprofit partners that are working to create solutions to these pivotal issues.”
Lutz said another challenge is the local government not asking citizens questions that deserve answers.
“My number one priority as mayor would be to ask, ‘How are we doing?’ ” he said. “This will be accomplished by implementing satisfaction surveys to our residents that will evaluate the services our residents pay for. Are residents satisfied with pedestrian safety in downtown? Are residents happy with code enforcement efforts in our town? These are the kinds of questions we will ask.”
Oda said her time on council and as mayor make her the better candidate.
“I have worked extremely hard in both positions to represent this community and to make complex and wide-ranging decisions for the betterment of our city,” she said. “This translates into our successes and reputation throughout the state, the country and the world, with continued growth of a stable workforce and business investment, resulting in positive comments and reviews from visitors, as well as small businesses and large industry partners.”
“I also know that not all decisions will make everyone happy, but every decision is made with common sense, and follows our local, state and federal laws, which are meant to address the community as a whole,” Oda said. “I am the more conservative candidate and will continue to hold to those guiding principles as my goal for continued stability and growth in Troy continues.”
Lutz said he believes he reflects the Troy community.
“Throughout this campaign, voters have told me that they are searching for a candidate that has strong conservative values and principles, a vision looking towards our community’s future and the experience and the education to lead our community,” he said.
“I will let the voters themselves draw distinctions between myself and my opponent, but in terms of talking about the issues facing our community, providing proactive solutions and the experience and education each candidate brings, I think there is a marked difference,” Lutz said.
More information on campaigns
For Oda, visit: www.robinoda.com
For Lutz, visit: website: www.williamlutz.org; Facebook: www.facebook.com/williamtlutz; Instagram: www.instagram.com/williamlutzformayor
Other city positions
Also on the May 2 ballot are races for city auditor and law director — John Frigge and Grant Kerber are running uncontested — along with all council seats. All candidates for Council are Republican, again with no Democrats filing for any of the positions.
The candidates are council president: Bill Rozell; at large: Lynne Snee, Todd Severt and Susan Westfall; 1st Ward: Jeffrey Whidden; 2nd Ward: Kristie Marshall; 3rd Ward: Samuel Pierce; 4th Ward: Bobby Phillips; 5th Ward: William Twiss; 6th Ward: Jeffrey Schilling.
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