Core Issues of our Campaign
Quality of Life
We cannot succeed in the coming year, or in the coming 25 years, if we do not have a vision for our future. We must protect and enhance the essential elements of our city: our small businesses; our parks, trails, and recreation areas; our close-knit neighborhoods; our roads and bridges; our public services; and our downtown. We cannot be a great city if we endanger what is great about us.
We should respect the city’s sound and thoughtful comprehensive plan as a model by which to manage smart growth and preserve and extend invaluable green spaces. Protecting green space is the key to attracting economic growth to our area and enhancing the quality of life for residents.
Our city and state face new challenges in the coming years. We must seek innovative solutions to make sure we aren't missing out on valuable sources of funding for projects all over the city. The city should hire a grant writer - or designate me as its grant writer. Millions of dollars in grants are available to cities like Morgantown to support everything from public-land purchases to enhancements to community theaters to innovations in community responses to problems with drug abuse and crime. We should pursue all of them.
An outstanding city advocate could also be hired to engage with the governor and the legislatures in Charleston and Washington to ensure that we receive our fair share, to advocate for projects in our area, and to extend home rule.
A city cannot move forward if its residents don’t know what their city is doing.
Case in point: Many concerned residents are working to save the Haymaker Forest, the .5 square-mile woods and trails behind the Circle K on Dorsey Avenue that extends to upper South Park. We learned it was scheduled for destruction because someone found a map in the woods of plans to raze it, thus giving us time to organize to save it. We should never have been left in the dark about what was literally happening in our backyards. Had we not made this discovery, the forest likely would be gone now—and out-of-control traffic would be pouring into South Park and other quiet residential neighborhoods.
I am an educator, a community advocate, a grant-writer, a board member of two nonprofit organizations, a coach, a husband, a father, and the author of seven books. As a city council candidate, I am running to write a new and dynamic chapter in Morgantown's story.
My name is Mark Brazaitis, and I am running for a position on Morgantown’s city council.
I have devoted my adult life to helping people—values I try to instill in my children.
I'm a professor of English and direct the West Virginia Writers' Workshop at WVU. I've taught more than 2,000 students and am proud of their success. I'm a former WVU Faculty Senator and have written successful grants totaling thousands of dollars.
As a young man, I served in the Peace Corps as a volunteer and technical trainer in Guatemala, where I worked with subsistence farmers and community health advocates. I'm a founding member of the Appalachian Prison Book Project, which has sent more than 17,000 books to imprisoned people in six Appalachian states. I believe in the power of education to redeem and redirect lives.
One of my proudest associations is with Mountaineers for Integrity and Responsibility (MIR), which worked to convince WVU's then-president to resign in the wake of an image-tarnishing degree scandal and, afterwards, to encourage our university to become more accountable to the vast number of people it serves.
I would like to see Morgantown's city council reflect values of integrity and accountability—and to work tirelessly to sustain and enhance our community's health and prosperity.
Mark with his wife Julie and their two children.