Tuesday, July 4, 2017
By Graig Graziosi
Richard Duffett, a city native and former naval officer, announced he will run for mayor in November.
If elected, Duffett would replace current mayor Bernie Kosar Sr., who won’t seek re-election.
Duffett hopes to be one of several new members of city government next year. Due to a charter amendment passed last year imposing term limits on council members, each of the city’s leadership positions are up for grabs. City Manager Joe Warino is also retiring.
Before announcing his candidacy, Duffett was invited by Kosar Sr. to sit on a search committee tasked to find a new city manager. He declined the position due to his mayoral ambitions.
Duffett said he and his wife, Brenda, decided it was “the right time” for him to run, and he expects other Canfield citizens will feel the same.
“There’s a lot of complex issues that need attention – rising water prices, the JEDD [Joint Economic Development District], Redgate Farm. There’s a lot going on,” Duffett said. “But I think Canfield is the best city in the Youngstown-Warren region, and I’m sure there will be plenty of citizens that feel the same way who will want to help lead the city.”
Duffett said his experience and training as a leader – fostered during his tenure as a naval officer in the ’80s – would be one of his strongest contributions to the office.
Duffett ran for public office once before, seeking the position of committeeman in the 21st Republican Precinct in 2002. His run was marked with controversy, as he claimed at the time he was being harassed by individuals opposing his candidacy. The same year he was arrested for possessing a small amount of marijuana as well as a pair of pipes, which ultimately cost him his job as a substitute teacher.
“I’ve had some ups and downs in my life like anyone else, and I wish I could get a mulligan on that situation, but that was 15 years ago, and I’m focused on moving forward,” Duffett said. “I’ve got a great relationship with the city, with the schools, and I intend to forge one with the township as well.”
Duffett also runs the Canfield Alumni Till Open, a nonprofit golf outing that has raised $113,000 for Canfield schools over six years.