By two votes, Mount Airy Mayor Patrick Rockinberg secured another term.
Rockinberg retained his position with 804 votes Monday, barely edging Town Council President Larry Hushour, who finished with 802 according to Bruce Walz, chairperson of the board of supervisors of elections.
Stephen Domotor, and Lynne Galletti won seats on the Town Council with 969 votes and 956 votes. Heather Hobbs had 787. Altogether 1,621 votes were cast.
Walz announced the results at about 10:15 following Monday night’s Town Council meeting, with the candidates present in Town Hall and the announcement streamed live on Facebook.
Earlier in the day, each candidate running for Mount Airy mayor or Town Council could be seen under or by their tent happily greeting voters as they walked inside to cast their ballots. Each has shared why they would be an ideal choice for Mount Airy voters.
Hushour was making his first run at the mayor’s office while incumbent Rockinberg has been in the position since 2010. The two Town Council seats were sought by three candidates — Domotor, Galletti and Hobbs — all seeking their first terms on the council.
The polls opened at 7 a.m. on Monday and remained open until 8 p.m.
“It’s been steady, very steady,” he said about Monday’s turnout in the early afternoon. “I think there’s going to be a good turnout.” He added there’s no way of knowing for sure since the pandemic has changed the dynamic.
Walz said there are approximately 7,000 voters in Mount Airy.
The first tent to the left when facing the reception hall was standing over Hushour.
“I feel cautiously optimistic,” he said shortly after noon. “But who knows? The voters get to decide.”
The council president said during his time on the council, they have lined up a lot of grants and bond bills. He said they also made plans, studies and surveys.
“And I think it’s time for someone to step in to the mayor role who can accomplish some of these grants as well,” he said.
On the opposite end of Hushour was Rockinberg. He said he’s remained the mayor for 10 years because they have been happy with his service and the council’s. He said pushing teamwork has led to his success. When there are opposing views, he said both parties learn something most of the time and realize they have similar opinions. It motivated his motto, “together we can.”
As mayor, among the accomplishments Rockinberg noted was bringing the town through the pandemic. He helped restaurants adjust to curbside pickup, created drive-thrus and made the establishments more inclusive to people with disabilities. He said he’s also responsible for the high-speed electrical charging stations and the first McGruff safe house, to name a few. He said he’s running because more improvements will be made in the future and he needs to see them through.
“Why change when everything’s going smooth?” he wondered.
The mayor said later that if he wins, it will be the last time he runs for mayor. And if he loses, he will not run again but find time to relax.
Domotor’s tent was next to Hushour’s. He said they arrived at 6:30 a.m. By mid-day, he said a number of voters stopped by to enthusiastically say they like what he has to offer.
He was on the town’s growth and development task force which sent a 2020 survey to residents. It told him some of the issues residents face. It inspired his platform, which is to “put their wishes into action.”
Hobbs’ tent was next door. She said the turnout could be better and she was hoping it would pick up after people finished work. Hobbs said her two goals in life were to be an elementary school teacher, which she is, and a council member like her dad, Delaine Hobbs. He was on the council for 36 years. “So I don’t know any different,” she said.
If elected, Hobbs said she wants to bring an independent voice to the table, help make Mount Airy a place people want to raise a family and to “leave people and places better than you found it,” she said. It’s her slogan and was also on the back of the campaign shirt she was wearing.
Galletti said she has been active in Mount Airy for decades, while she raised her four children she also worked as a teacher, had a radio and TV show and helped young people through sports, school and girls and boys scouts.
People have suggested she run for town council in the past but she turned it down because she isn’t a politician, Galletti said.
“I’m a numbers person,” she said. “I want to know the things everyday tax people want to know.”
If elected, she said she wouldn’t’ be anyone’s “yes man.” But she’d ask thorough questions and will not settle for “this is how it’s always been” answers.
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Galletti said she’s put her campaign bookmarks in the doors of 95% of the Mount Airy residents and found that people just want to be heard. That’s why her campaign slogan is “your town, your choice.”