Martinsburg city hall about to pass the torch to a new mayor

Election West Virginia

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. (WDVM) — After 22 years, Martinsburg, West Virginia is about to get a new mayor. The next leader for the city could well be a trailblazer.

George Karos, who before his election as mayor, served a quarter-century on the council, is stepping down. And who will succeed him? It could be the first woman mayor in the city’s history.

At-large councilwoman Harriet Johnson, a Democrat, and Republican Misty Francis, a teacher and pastor, each hope to get the most votes in a field that includes four men running. But for Johnson and Francis, the woman distinction is just a complement to their priorities in office, whether it be courting business or promoting diversity.

“I know our businesses and what’s coming in and leaving. We get a new business, I’m there to greet them. I try to always keep up and welcome new people.”

And Francis says she will not only have a transparent mayoral administration, but an inclusive one.

“Martinsburg is the 4th most diverse city in our state,” says Francis. “And so we just really need to address that issue.”

Aside from electing a new mayor, there are council candidates on the ballot. There are two open at-large seats and five ward seats, but only two of the five are contested.

And candidates like Harriet Johnson say the most important thing for Martinsburg’s next mayor is to carry on the commitment of Mayor George Karos all these many years. The new mayor and council take office August 5.

Follow WDVM for the final results after polls close this evening.

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