Barberton City Councilwoman Carla Debevec, the daughter of a former mayor of the city, will run against the city’s current mayor, William Judge, the son of a former mayor.
In two YouTube videos posted Wednesday, Debevec announced her candidacy for the office, citing her father’s tenure as leader of the city and identifying issues she will stress during her campaign. Debevec's father, Randy Hart, served as mayor from Sept. 30, 1993, to Jan. 3, 2008. Judge, who has been in office since 2011, is the son of former Mayor William Judge who was in office from 1980 to 1987.
Debevec speaks in the videos about growing up and raising a family in Barberton, and talks about what she hopes to accomplish for the city.
In a phone interview Thursday, Debevec said she realizes her campaign against incumbent Judge will be a difficult one.
“We have an image that we can change,” Debevec said. “I am going to have to work really hard to beat Mayor Judge.”
Debevec said the decisive moment in her decision to run was proposed legislation to significantly increase salaries for Barberton’s elected positions, including the mayor.
“I believe the icing on the cake for me was when the administration requested a 35 percent pay increase,” Debevec said.
After City Council took a difficult vote earlier this year to restrict pay increases for city employees, Debevec said the pay increase request was ill-timed. Although the council had hoped a couple of years ago to address salaries for elected officials, the city's financial position had taken a hit after the announced departure of Babcock & Wilcox.
“The economic climate had changed,” she said.
Debevec collected signatures for her run and turned them in Wednesday two hours before the deadline.
“I don’t have anything bad to say about the mayor,” Debevec said. “[But] I think I’m more suited for the next four years."
Judge and Debevec, both Democrats, will square off in the Sept. 10 primary. Barberton resident Steve Brookens of East Tuscarawas Avenue, also running as a Democrat for mayor, will run in the primary against Judge and Debevec.
Neither Brookens nor Judge could be reached for comment.
Reach Alan Ashworth at 330-996-3859 or firstname.lastname@example.org.