The candidates had the opportunity to say their piece and stake their claim as to why they were the best for the position. The candidates for the key races in April Municipal Election took part in a “Commitment to Citizenship Celebration” forum at the American Legion March 23.
The event was hosted by the Republican and Democratic Central Committees as a chance to allow each candidate to be heard.
Each candidate for the Perry County Health Board of Trustees, Perry County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees, Perry County School District 32 School Board, Altenburg Public School District No. 48, and City of Perryville Ward 1 Alderman had a few minutes to talk about themselves and why they are running for their specific position as well as answer audience questions.
The first group to speak was the candidates for the Perry County Health Board of Trustees, of which there are two positions to be filled.
Brenda Thurm Hopfer said that she wanted to be a voice for the people of the county, after being a nurse for 43 years.
“I want to find solutions to problems that the county might have,” Hopfer said. “I have been to most of the board meetings so I know how it operates.”
Jeremy Brewster wants to help those in need should he be elected to the Health Board. Brewster has been a nurse for 20 years.
“I am a transplant here in Perryville,” he said. “However, my wife and kids are from here and I have grown to love this community through my work with the hospital. I want to take care of the chronic illnesses and things that might come up, as well as give the community what they need in Perry County to do those things and educate others.”
Desiree Serini sees the board as a way to serve Perry County.
“I have been in the banking industry for eight years,” she said. “I think I can bring a different perspective than someone in the healthcare field. In order to have a well rounded team you must have people who can bring something different to the table. I think I can help the Health Department bring funding and can be a great asset when it comes to finances, and how to budget.”
Gwen (Moore) Schweiss has been in the medical field as a Medical Technologist and believes this can help with her role on the board as well as her fight with an illness that has given her a different look on things.
“I’m trained as a scientist and to be analytical and logical person and someone who can think outside the box to help solve problems,” Schweiss said. “The decisions that I will make will not be made out of fear, but in the faith in God. The same faith that he provided me when fighting to live.”
The Perry County Memorial Hospital Board of Trustees will be filled by one person: Darrell Niswonger (Incumbent), Joe Hutchison, Robin Huber Sims.
Niswonger has been on the board for 10 years and brings with him a lot of experience, which he believes is an asset and also touched on the merger with Mercy Hospital.
“I have been a part of several huge decisions made at the hospital within the past five years,” he said. “PCMH has some of the most committed staff at the hospital and I would put them up against anyone in the area. I believe the affilliation with Mercy will only made that better.”
Hutchison noted that he is a no-nonsense guy who is willing to ask questions when something doesn’t look or feel right.
“I am not opposed to Mercy,” he said. “I’m in favor of good healthcare in Perry County and I want it to be self sustaining in the county.”
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