(Editor’s note: This is part of a continuing series of election previews for races voters will decide on Nov. 8. More will follow in upcoming editions.)
POINT PLEASANT — The race for Mason County Assessor is one of a few county races local voters are closely watching, with incumbent Ron Hickman (D) facing off against challenger Mark “Sparky” Villars (Independent).
Each candidate was asked to provide background information about themselves, which could include anything from employment history to qualifications for the office they are seeking. Each candidate was also asked to answer the question “Why I ran for this office?” All candidates were to provide this information within reasonable limits of a designated word count for the sake of fairness.
Previews begin with responses from the incumbent.
Ron Hickman background information:
Ron Hickman is the son of the late William and Ollie Hickman of Spencer, and the father of the late Leah Nicole Hickman. He graduated from Spencer High school in 1972; from WVU with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agricultural Business in 1976, and with a Masters of Science Degree in Agricultural Economics in 1978; Phi Beta Kappa graduate. A member of the Point Pleasant Lions Club, he was elected charter president and has held various offices. A member of the Point Pleasant Camp of the Gideons, he’s held offices of president, vice president, chaplain, treasurer, camp secretary. A member of Grace Baptist Church, Hickman has served as Sunday School teacher, member of the choir, usher and as a van driver. Hickman is also an honorary Kentucky Colonel. He began his employment with the Mason County Assessor’s office in July 1987. Among his responsibilities were: mapping of new and problem parcels, researching and handling of real estate problems, serving as a field appraiser. Since elected as Mason County Assessor in 1996, Hickman has attended several training sessions concerning the appraisal and mapping of real estate offered by the WV Department of Tax and Revenue, completing The International Association of Assessing Officers course 101, Fundamentals of Real Property Appraisal, and course 151, Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice; and courses in the valuation of mobile home parks, as well as the evaluation of manufactured, modular, and mobile home housing.
Ron Hickman “Why I ran for this office?”
“I am running because I believe I am the best qualified candidate for Mason County Assessor based on my twenty nine years of experience in the office. I also strive to offer courteous assistance to the taxpayers whenever they have a problem or question. I will always take the time to offer assistance when the taxpayers visit the assessor’s office. I want to continue the modernizing of the assessor’s office. I want to complete the GIS (Geographic Information System) in mapping. The GIS is beneficial in the assessment of real estate and economic development.”
Mark “Sparky” Villars background information:
Mark “Sparky” Villars of Point Pleasant was born in Mason County and graduated from Hannan High School. He is a veteran, having served in the United States Air Force and is a lifetime member of the American Legion Post #23 in Point Pleasant. Villars is also a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local #317 where he works as a union electrician. He was also a two-term governor of one of the largest Moose Lodges in the United States. Villars is a “devoted” husband, father and grandfather. Villars has said his goals for the assessor’s office include establishing a website for the office to make it more convenient for people who work to pay their taxes. Villars has also said he will have an open door policy to meet and discuss issues with the public.
Mark “Sparky” Villars “Why I ran for this office?”
“I decided to run for assessor to give back to the community I grew up in. I would appreciate your vote on Nov. 8. It will be my priority to handle all of your questions, needs and concerns. My goal, if elected, is to make the assessor’s office more easily accessible for everyone. I will treat everyone with the respect they deserve. Again, I am looking forward to serving our community.”
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