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This is one of a series of guest columns from candidates in contested races in the June 9 West Virginia Primary Election.

My name is Steve Buyers, and I am running for a Huntington City Council at-large position as a Democrat. I am running for Huntington City Council because I love the City of Huntington and would like to help to make it a better place to live and visit.

My wife Melanie and I have lived in Huntington for over nine years. I have two daughters named Carrie and Kayla who both live and work in Cabell County. My wife and I live in the Highlawn neighborhood in an old house that was built in 1885. We take pride in our neighborhood and have been fixing up our old house over the last nine years.

I am a senior vice president for a health and wellness company and work from home here in Huntington. I have a bachelor’s degree in business administration and a master’s degree in health promotion management. I am also a certified health education specialist. I was on the Board of Directors for the Wellness Council of West Virginia for four years and served as vice president. My wife and I have been very active in the Highlawn Neighborhood Association and also have been involved in the Neighborhood Institute.

As an at-large candidate for City Council, I would look forward to working with the mayor and all of the City Council members from each of the city’s nine districts.

I would like to talk about some of the important issues that I would like to address as a member of City Council. I feel that crime, drug addiction, affordable housing and issues with the city’s infrastructure (roads, flooding, street lights, etc.) are the most important problems that need to be addressed. Another problem in Huntington is abandoned and dilapidated houses. If the city could allocate more of its budget to tearing down dilapidated houses, we could tear down more houses faster. If there is any way to streamline the process, that would help as well.

I would continue to fight crime and the opioid epidemic by making sure that both the police and fire departments are adequately funded. I do support the harm reduction program, but I do not support passing out free needles to addicts. I think money would be better spent on opioid addiction education and rehabilitation. I will continue to support the Huntington Police Department by making sure it has the budget to continue to combat crime and make sure that they are fully staffed. I will also encourage residents to become more active in their neighborhood organizations and neighborhood watch groups.

I would love it if the population of Huntington would increase by having new families move to our great city. Because the population of Huntington has declined over the years, there is a surplus of existing housing in the city for new residents. We need to make Huntington safer and more attractive as a place to live, which will make families want to live and work here.

I will try to help eliminate the reasons why people are leaving Huntington, which I believe are crime, the drug problem and the lack of good-paying jobs. As Huntington becomes a more attractive and safer place to live, businesses and homeowners would be encouraged to relocate to the city.

I would love to have the honor of serving on Huntington City Council and trying to make this a better and safer place to live.

Steven Buyers is a Democratic candidate for an at-large seat on the Huntington City Council.

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