The Martinsville Chamber of Commerce recently hosted a forum for mayoral candidates for the city of Martinsville. As a chamber, we care about the future of our city and our goal for this forum was to understand where our candidates are on various issues that significantly affect our membership and the broader community.

We are grateful to Mayor Kenny Costin and mayoral candidate Scotty Manley for recognizing the importance of civil discourse and accepting the challenge of addressing some major topics of concern and interest to their constituents. A third candidate, Shannon Kohl, chose not to participate.

*Time stamps noted next to topics are approximate, but should allow you to check out the specific topic areas that you are most interested in hearing candidates’ views. Topics that were addressed by the candidates include:


• 8:52 About the Candidate – After a brief bio, Mayor Costin and Candidate Manley spoke of their overall vision for the city and their top priorities.

• 15:15 Community & Economic Development – Because we are a member organization for businesses and organizations, many of the questions will fall in this area. The mayor can set the tone and share his or her vision to influence the conversation, playing a significant role in all these areas, but he or she is not directly responsible for many of the things discussed below.  

• Residential growth – addressing housing needs at all price points

• Commercial and industrial growth – bringing businesses to our city in spite of land challenges

• Workforce development • Transportation • Promotion of our community

• Partnerships – Regional, state, and local

•49:07 Parks & Recreation – Did you know? The mayor appoints the park superintendent, but from then on, the superintendent reports to the park board. The park board, with the superintendent’s help, prepares a budget request to present to the common council for approval. The mayor may certainly share his or her vision and priorities with the parks board and the superintendent, especially since the parks and trails reflect on our city and contribute to our quality of place.

PART 2 – We continued the discussion with these topics:

• Parks & Recreation Cont.

• 10:55 Public Safety – While the mayor appoints the police and fire chiefs, each of the two departments has a merit board to oversee personnel decisions and discipline.

• 16:17 Budget & Staffing – The mayor may make suggestions and share his or her budget priorities, but the common council is responsible for the final approval of the budget

• 20:07 Funding Your Vision and Priorities

• 23:55 Each of the two candidates participating then gave closing remarks.

Thank you to Mayor Kenny Costin and Mayoral Candidate Scotty Manley for taking the time to join us for this valuable conversation! We so appreciate that their discussions were friendly and positive. Please take a few minutes on or before May 2nd and #VoteYourVoice.