VANDALIA — For the first time since 2011, Vandalia will have a new mayor next year. Arlene Setzer, who has been Mayor for two terms, is not seeking a third term.
Richard Herbst, the city’s current Vice Mayor, will become mayor in January by default as the only candidate to file for the office before the February 6 deadline.
“I’ve had a long run,” said Setzer. “I began with the city in the 1970’s and was elected to office in the early 1980’s. I’ve loved every minute. This community has given so much to me.”
Setzer said her primary reason for declining to run is to spend more time with family. That doesn’t mean she will completely fade from public service – she intends to remain serving on committees while staying active in volunteer organizations.
“I don’t think you can get rid of me that easy,” she laughed while telling a story of a student who offered to “wind me up” like the Energizer Bunny during her teaching days.
Setzer has had a long career in public service beginning as a teacher in the Vandalia-Butler City Schools. She retired in 2000 after 33 years. She was elected to the Vandalia City Council in 1982 ans served until 2000. From 2001-2008 she served four terms as the Ohio State Representative for the 40th District.
Setzer was recently selected as the 34th annual Marvin Link Distinguished Service Award recipient.
“Arlene has given so much to our community and I think she’s at a point she wants to focus on some things besides the city,” said Herbst. “She has a lot of interests outside the city and I thin she has some things she wants to do that being in this position prevents her from doing them.”
Setzer said one of her biggest satisfactions is the growth the city has experienced while not losing its small-town feel.
“This is a tight knit community and that’s not an easy thing to do,” she said.
Setzer is grateful for the experiences she’s had and looks forward to more. She said the key is to always take advantage of the opportunities put in front of you.
“Follow anything that comes in front of you, the doors are always being opened,” she said. “You have a decision to make – are you going to go through it or are you going to stay behind. I say go through it because you never know what that’s going to lead to. Sometimes its good, sometimes its not, but at least you’ve made that attempt and you will never say you wish you had.”
Reach Darrell Wacker at (937) 684-8983 or on Twitter @VandaliaDrummer.