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Shepherdstown council member backs out of municipal election, supports new candidate

By Staff | Jul 17, 2020

Shepherdstown Town Council member Deb Tucker has decided to step away from seeking reelection, to help her restaurant, Bistro 112, survive the pandemic. Tabitha Johnston

SHEPHERDSTOWN — During a virtual forum on July 8 featuring candidates for the Shepherdstown Municipal Election, town council member Deb Tucker announced her decision to stop campaigning for reelection.

According to Tucker, her decision was in the best interest of her restaurant in downtown Shepherdstown, Bistro 112.

“I opened the Bistro last week for the first time — we closed for three months,” Tucker said, referring to the restaurant’s closure in accordance with the state’s former COVID-19 guidelines. “Our staff’s really amazing, but it’s really hard. I quite honestly don’t feel like I have the energy needed to both do all of these things and run my business in these difficult times.

“I am stating now that I would really not like to run for the council,” Tucker said. “I think we have a lot of people who are currently running for the council who have a lot of energy. I do ask you not to vote for me, but I would please ask you to vote for Marty Amerikaner. I think he has the strategic intelligence needed to lead this community.”

A few hours after the forum ended, Tucker announced her decision in writing on her Facebook page.

Bistro 112, like other downtown Shepherdstown restaurants, has expanded its seating outdoors, to offer a social distanced, relaxing dining experience during the COVID-19 pandemic. Tabitha Johnston

“I need to focus on the Bistro and fight for its survival, and the town needs engaged council members to tackle its fiscal, strategic and tactical challenges, for which I won’t have the bandwidth,” Tucker said, mentioning she is excited to see six-time former town council member Jim Ford running, along with Amerikaner. “Jim Ford’s return gives me solace. I do give my support to a lesser known candidate, Marty Amerikaner, and suggest you get to know him and his capabilities. And don’t forget to vote on July 21.”

During the forum, Amerikaner expressed his appreciation for Tucker’s support.

“I must say, I was completely surprised by Deb’s comments earlier – we’ll chat later – but thank you for that,” Amerikaner said.

“I’ve just loved being here, I’ve love the opportunities I’ve had to contribute here and work in the community with the wonderful people that live here,” Amerikaner said of his years in Shepherdstown, mentioning he has volunteered with a number of local organizations, including the Shepherdstown Film Society, Shepherdstown Area Independent Living, the Speak Story Series, Lifelong Learning and the Shenandoah Community Health Center board. His previous experience as the chair of the psychology department at Marshall University led him to found the Coping With the Crisis support group at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While Amerikaner acknowledge this will be his first time running for public office, he believes that, through the work he has done in his career and retirement years, he has developed the necessary skills to serve on the town council. He encouraged anyone interested in talking with him to email him at amerikan@marshall.edu.

“I think the people who have known me throughout my career would agree that I am pretty good at balancing and juggling a lot of balls at the same time,” Amerikaner said, mentioning he is known for basing his decisions on data and expert opinions. “Regional and state governments have to consider not just the voices of the people who speak loudly and speak often – we also need to seek out input from people who are typically more quiet. People who are typically more reticent in sharing their opinions, but actually have a lot to say.”