Mullens, Robb prepare for South Charleston election Saturday

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. — In advance of Saturday’s election in South Charleston, incumbent Republican Mayor Frank Mullens and Democrat Richie Robb spoke about their campaigns and their chances.

Mullens said he’d been aggresively campaigning both door-to-door and on many media platforms. He said his tenure as the city’s mayor has been a success and he thinks he’s the best candidate to lead South Charleston forward in the future.

“We took over the city and it was physically and financially deteriorating around us, and we took on those issues and solved most of them to this point,” Mullens said. “We paid off $5 million worth of debt. We’ve made many improvements to the city both in parks and downtown.”

Robb, who was the mayor for 32 years in South Charleston from 1975-2007, was optimistic he could win back his old office. He thought that the city has to move in a new direction; one aspect that concerned him was the neighborhoods.

“(South Charleston) needs to be a quality town,” Robb said. “Our neighborhoods are starting to age, some of our housing stock needs some attention.”

Robb was also concerned about the spending of the town and the fact that South Charleston city council meetings are usually quite short in length. He didn’t think that the council spends enough time reviewing funds.

“Their (city council’s) spending is highly questionable. They need maybe 10 minutes for a meeting, everything is cut and dry,” he said. “There’s not the kind of scrutiny in the spending that needs to be done.”

Mullens, however, says the city will soon be debt free and that Robb has had his day in office, but now he has done many positive things the last eight years. He has big plans if he is to be re-elected Saturday.

“I want to be able to stand up in front of the citizens next term and tell them they are a complete debt free community. I’m sure we’ll be able to do that,” Mullens said. “We want to continue to modernize areas of the city. We want South Charleston to be number one. I want this to be a city that can progress and move forward to the future where young people want to stay, work, play and live. That’s the goal.”

Robb’s 32 years in office makes him West Virginia’s longest serving mayor. In 2010, he challenged incumbent state Senator Erik Wells, but lost in the Democratic primary. Mullens defeated Democrat Mark Wolford in 2007 when Robb decided not to seek another term.