WENDELL — Incumbent town Commissioner Ira Fuller announced Tuesday, Sept. 17, that he is withdrawing from the Nov. 5 election, citing recent health concerns.
Fuller, who has a family history of heart problems, learned two weeks ago that he has blockages in the arteries surrounding his heart.
Instead of running for re-election and facing the possibility that he would be unable to fulfill the term, Fuller withdrew from the race.
By withdrawing when he did, Fuller’s name will not appear on the ballot when voters go to the polls.
“I thought long and hard about it, and prayed about it. I’m comfortable with where I’m at,” Fuller said.
His decision means there are three remaining candidates vying for three seats.
Unless someone mounts a successful write-in campaign, incumbent Commissioner Ginna Gray will be re-elected along with first-time candidates Jon Lutz and John Boyette.
Fuller has served the town for more than four decades in several capacities. He worked in the police department for more than 17 years, including nine as the chief. He was the town manager for 19 years. He has served one four-year term on the board of commissioners.
Mayor Tim Hinnant says Fuller’s departure from the town board will be a loss.
“There were any number of times when someone would ask why the town had done something one way or another and Ira was there to explain the reason why we did what we did,” Hinnant said According to the mayor, Fuller was the kind of town manager who didn’t mind pitching in with the work. “I’ve seen him in manholes or driving a front end loader. I remember very well one year during a snowstorm seeing Mr. Fuller on Main Street shoveling snow off the sidewalk in front of the businesses,” Hinnant said.
Hinnant said Fuller was a calming influence on other board members in the wake of a period of unrest on the town board.
“I guess you could say he was the E.F. Hutton of town commissioners. He didn’t speak much, but when he did, everybody listened,” Hinnant said.