CHAPMANVILLE - The newest members of the Chapmanville Town Council, along with its re-elected incumbents, were officially sworn into office Monday evening.

Joel McNeely and Gary Bledsoe now sit on the council, replacing Gary Neil and Sadie Ann Christian. The two won their seats during the June 11 election.

Also sworn into the council were incumbents Ben DesRocher, Robin Adams Mutters and Tony "Psycho" Robison, who staved off competition from a moderately wide field of candidates.

Mayor Raamie Barker, who won re-election against five other candidates, and town recorder Terilyn Wilson, who was unopposed, were sworn in as well. This is Barker's first elected term, as he was appointed previously.

Bledsoe was a council member once before and was defeated by one vote in the previous election.

"I worked a little harder, so I'm back," Bledsoe quipped.

When asked what he hopes to accomplish in his position, Bledsoe said he wants to do the best he can in representing the town's residents and the town itself in the projects it has underway.

"If I think they need my support, I'll support them, but anything that I don't like or whatever, if it's not good for the people, then it's not good for me, either," Bledsoe said. "I won't do something that wouldn't make the people happy and satisfied with what I do."

Bledsoe said he vows to uphold Mayor Raamie Barker, as the residents elected him.

McNeely said he wants to spearhead more community involvement using his new position.

"One of the first things I want to do is I want to get the community more involved with projects that go on maybe get some committees formed more community involvement, more pride within the town, things of that nature. I want to see the town grow," McNeely said.

Some of his visions for the town, he said, include seeing the Hatfield-McCoy Trail System in the town expanded, turning the East Chapmanville Grade School property into a community field or place to meet and growth of the Tracy Vickers Community Center.

McNeely said he appreciates voters' confidence in him.

"I hope I don't let them down, but even those who didn't vote for me, I now represent you, so call me - 304-855-7640. I live at 53 Providence Avenue come knock on my door, whatever you need," he said.

For his second term as mayor, Barker said he hopes to see progress in the town, such as continuing the clean-up of old buildings, improvements of roads, infrastructure upgrades for new job opportunities, developing the Hatfield-McCoy Trail further and creating a city park. The town will soon begin the replacement of its sewage system, which Barker said is well over 50 years old and needs replaced.

The first official meeting of the new Chapmanville Town Council will be at 7 p.m. Monday, July 8, at the Tracy Vickers Community Center.

Dylan Vidovich is a news reporter for HD Media. Contact him by phone at 304-896-5196.

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