Independents make run for Harrison City Council seats
Three Independent candidates have joined the race for Harrison City Council.
With the addition of the three candidates, there are six people, three Republicans and three Independents, running for three open seats on council. No incumbents are running for reelection.
Harrison residents will make their decision Tuesday, Nov. 5.
Joe Combs, running for council for the first time, said he had been contemplating the decision for a while.
“It had been rattling around in my brain. The idea of an unopposed election bothered me,” he said.
Combs, who has lived in Harrison since 2002 and has three children, graduated from the University of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky University.
He has worked as a software developer 22 years.
The Independent said he has “Republican roots with a Libertarian streak,” and doesn’t like micromanaged government.
He chooses not to be part of a party, which means he will need to work harder, said Combs.
“But it suits me,” he said.
Combs said he has been involved with the NKU College of Informatics Alumni Council as its president, and has also been involved with the Boy Scouts of America for 38 years.
He is an Eagle Scout, serves as Scout Master for Troop 408, and is a past president of the Dan Beard Eagle Scout Association.
Combs said he’s not running for council on any specific issue or agenda but he wants more growth in Harrison without losing the city’s charm.
He said he is excited about the possibility of the YMCA coming to the community, and if elected he would like to help the pool “across the finish line.”
Combs said he would like to continue building bridges with neighboring areas, in part because Harrison is the focal point for a much larger region.
It’s important to get committed leaders in place, who will work together to continue to bring success, he added.
Ken Hetzer has lived in Harrison for most of his life, and graduated from Harrison High School/Diamond Oaks.
He has worked as a finance/sales manager for McCluskey Chevrolet for about seven years, and also has three children.
Family is an important part of his life, said Hetzer, who plays in a Sunday softball league with members of his extended family.
The Independent doesn’t label himself as leaning Democratic or Republican.
Running for council for the first time, Hetzer said he wants to help bring services and businesses to Harrison that he knows his neighbors want, including different retailers and restaurants.
More recreational opportunities for kids and a YMCA facility also would avail the community, he added.
“I’d like to see something more for the youth brought into Harrison,” said Hetzer.
He said he also is seeking a council position because he wants to see how the city is run and where the city sends its money.
Bringing a different mindset and younger mentality to the table is important for the city to prosper, he said.
“Harrison seems to be run pretty well,” said Hetzer.
Longtime local educator Carol Wiwi is running for city council again, having previously run in 2017.
Born and raised in Harrison, Wiwi graduated from Harrison High School, and has spent 34 years as a physical education teacher, most recently at Harrison Elementary School.
Wiwi also served as Harrison City Council clerk for more than 20 years, and as Harrison recreation director.
As an Independent, Wiki said she has never belonged to a party but votes for people based on what they do and say, not by the letter next to a name.
She said she has a lot of knowledge of the city and wants to put that knowledge to use.
She also helped with the city’s comprehensive plan passed last year, and would like to help continue to work through the plan.
“I love Harrison,” said Wiwi, but added: “Any city can always be better.”
As an educator, she is concerned that good students sometimes don’t stick around the city, and believes in “living where you work and working where you live.”
Many families move to the area, but not many young professionals stay around, she said.
Wiwi said she would like to bring a better tax base to the city and see more manufacturing and business centers.
As a physical education teacher and gardener, Wiwi said she believes in staying active and being outdoors. She would like to see the city of Harrison and Harrison Township partner together to become a WeTHRIVE! community.
WeTHRIVE! is a countywide initiative to help promote healthy living.