Editor's Note: This is the second of three stories, which look at the three Grove City Council races before voters on Tuesday, April 2. Races under consideration include the at-large seat, Ward 3 and Ward 4. Each candidate was given the same questions to answer. The following profile is based upon their submitted responses.
Two candidates, Martin (Marty) Dyer and Marty Follis, are vying for the Ward 4 position on the Grove City Council during the Tuesday, April 2 election.
Dyer, the incumbent, is being challenged by Follis, a former colleague and mayor. Follis moved from his previous ward before the 2017 election and was unable to seek re-election for the same seat.
This is one of three races which have developed for the Grove City Council, and the first time since at least 2013 this seat is contested.
Early voting is set for 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday, March 28 and 29, at the Delaware County Election Board office at 225 South Fifth Street in Jay. Day of election voting takes place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Tuesday, April 2, at precincts throughout the county.
Dyer said he is running for re-election to the council because two reasons: the safety and future of Grove.
"I am committed to see the city reach higher levels in many areas and doing it in a conservative responsible way that protects the lifestyle and vales of our great community," Dyer said.
He describes himself as conservative, level-headed, clear-thinking and "concerned for the betterment of all."
"If re-elected our focus is to continue to see the city improve in marketing/tourism as a destination location," Dyer said. "And to see the significant advantages of Grove have more positive impact on our local economy."
Dyer would also like to see "solid steps" taken to help the city's aging infrastructure.
"The comprehensive plan approach that we are moving into will be critical as we move into the future of Grove," Dyer said. "It represents a level of planning, forethought and execution that will propel Grove to new levels of success in the next 10-20 years."
Dyer said he believes the governing body of Grove, as well as city staff is solid.
"I seek re-election in order to be a part of maintaining the strong direction that has been established," Dyer said.
More about Dyer
Dyer grew up the youngest son of a Southern Baptist pastor, in Baxter Springs, Kansas. He has a bachelor's degree in business administration. His career experience includes working as a store manager for Walmart, serving as a the owner/broker for a real estate company for 13 year.
In 2008, he began serving as the senior pastor at Newsong Church, located between Grove and Zena on Highway 59.
Dyer and his wife, Karen, have three daughters, one son-in-law and one grandson.
"The family unit is the foundation and building structure of the community," Dyer said. "The integrity of the family unit is critical in our community as well as any other."
Dyer has worked in some capacity with Newsong Church since 1996. He is the past president of the ministerial alliances in both Grove and Jay.
He sees the identity of Grove, the aging infrastructure and developing a positive economic impact as the top three items before the incoming council.
He said the identity of Grove determines what the city does next.
"We are moving toward the endeavor of a comprehensive plan to do just that," Dyer said. "This will be a big step for Grove. It will be so valuable now and for decades to come."
In terms of the aging infrastructure, he believes city officials must continue to find funds to address both the streets, and the things below the surface including water and sewer lines.
"In the long term we will need an alternative income stream to finance real improvement on streets," Dyer said. "At our current rate of expenditure on streets we are not even keeping up with the aging streets at best.
"As Grove grows and progresses this must become a significant financial priority. Grove will need to demonstrate improvement in this area in may aspects to move on to higher levels."
For the economic impact, Dyer would like to see the growth continue in both the aerospace industry, as well as other entities within the industrial/business park.
"We need these jobs and we need more of them," Dyer said. "We are blessed to have seen the progress over the past few years. But we need more progress, we need more business and more jobs that hold families in Grove and attract people to Grove.
"With the combined efforts of our chamber and our city we have seen encouraging efforts and results."
Dyer believes his leadership training, as well as his people skills, along with his business ownership experience will continue to serve him as a council member if re-elected.
"I strive to see things from a different perspective," Dyer said. "It's not always as simple as dollars. There are always people involved.
"There are many times more significant things involved in decisions than it may appear."
Dyer said he believes the community has strong values, which have been successfully maintained.
"I see those values as more important than the fast dollar for the community," he said. "These are the values of faith, family and moral direction that will keep us a great place to live and raise a family.
"I do see us moving in a good solid direction of making Grove more of a destination location and successful tourist attraction, however, that is secondary to maintaining the great place to live and raise children. It is critical to protect and serve those that live in Grove."
As an incumbent, he is most proud of the unity which exists within the community.
"We have something very special in Grove," Dyer said. "We are closely knit but at the same time our doors are open to all that genuinely desire to enter. Its a delicate balance for a small city such as ours."
He says the spirit of Grove is the city's biggest asset.
"We are a giving and caring community that demonstrates that in charity after charity," Dyer said. "Yes growth is important and maybe even to some degree inevitable, however not at the risk of losing our identity as a community.
"A strong city vision is one that identifies who it is and builds on that foundation. These are exciting times in Grove as we see things grow and change. We are experiencing the establishment of the foundation identity that will launch Grove to the next level of a regional and national destination."
Follis is seeking another term on the council. Previously, before 2017 he served as the council member for Ward II. He did not seek re-election at that time because of a move to Ward IV.
He is seeking this office in order to continue to make a difference in the community, and to be a voice for residents.
"After serving nine years and having to give up my seat, I realize I have a passion to help make a difference," Follis said.
Follis describes himself as progressive, positive and forward thinking. He also has a "huge passion for the success" of Grove.
If elected, he plans to work to improve the infrastructure of the community, which would then in turn, help recruit more jobs through businesses coming to Grove.
He would also like to increase the number of restaurants and shopping options for residents.
"I know I'm not an incumbent but I don't feel like I'm a new candidate either," Follis said. "I want to continue where I left off: with Society Awards, Wolf Creek, Ferra, etc.."
More about Follis
Follis grew up in Davenport, Iowa. He has a bachelor's degree in industrial technology from Bemidji State University, where he was a four-year starter as quarterback.
From 1996 to 2000, he served as Director of Product Development Woodland Scenics.
Since 2006, he has been self-employed as a entrepreneur with Wetsteps.
He moved to Grove in January 2009.
His family includes a 12-year-old adopted granddaughter.
His memberships include the Grove Rotary Club, where he served as president in 2014, the Grove Area Chamber of Commerce, the South Grand Lake Chamber of Commerce, the Grand Lake Association, the INTEGRIS Grove Foundation board, and the Grand Lake YMCA board of directors.
If elected, Follis would like to see infrastructure, growth and cleanliness be increased in Grove.
In terms of infrastructure, he would like to recruit companies who would then invest in Grove.
For Growth, Follis would like to develop a way to promote and advertise the city.
He would like to reestablish the community's commitment to cleaning up the streets.
As a former council member, Follis said he is proud to have been apart of several successes for the community including: the development of Wolf Creek Park, the City Pool, bringing the Bassmaster to Grove twice, the development of a new airport terminal, establishing the hotel/motel tax, and bringing businesses and tourism events to Grove, including the SDBA races, Society Awards and Cherokee Casino-Grove.
"Because we only make $25 per meeting, two meetings a month, this position is not done for the money," Follis said. "It is someone that has a passion and love for this city and community.
"I have a huge heart for this city and along with great leadership skills."