By Emma Malinak
Two challengers and one incumbent led the Buena Vista City Council race tonight.
With two of three precincts reporting votes as of 10:20 p.m. Tuesday, Ronald Cash was in the lead with 583 votes. Incumbent Council Member Steve Webb took second place with 558 votes, and Michelle Poluikis followed with 556 votes. There were seven total candidates.
Two other incumbent council members, Stanley Coffey and Cheryl Hickman, did not win reelection, placing fourth and fifth place respectively.
Cash said in a phone interview Tuesday that, even though he has lived in Buena Vista his whole life, he hopes residents didn’t vote for him just because they recognized his name.
“I want people to vote because my platform resonates with them,” he said. “I’m humbled, and I’ll work hard.”
Cash said he’s looking forward to working with Tyson Cooper, a city council member who was elected as mayor tonight. Cash described Cooper as a “tremendous asset” to Buena Vista, and he said he looks forward to working with Cooper to unite council members and the departments in city hall under common goals.
One of those goals, Cash said, is to bring jobs to the city.
“One thing that everyone should have on their list is bringing industry back to Buena Vista,” he said in an interview last month.
Cash has worked for Dominion Energy for 35 years and said he plans to retire next year. That will open up more time for him to “represent the Christian, conservative viewpoint” in local politics, he said.
The third-place candidate, Poluikis, said in an interview Tuesday she is “surprised but thankful” for her win. Even though she has only lived in Buena Vista for about five years, she said it feels like her forever home because of how welcoming and kind her neighbors have been.
“It just seemed like running for city council was a way I could give back to everyone,” she said in an interview last month.
Poluikis, who currently works as a special education assistant at Parry McCluer Middle School, ran on a platform of supporting local schools and the library.
Webb was appointed to council in 2021 and was reelected for a four-year term tonight. After a career in the local fire department, police department and rescue squad, Webb said serving in local government has given him a new way to protect Buena Vista residents.
“This is my home,” he said in an interview last month. “I don’t care if there’s seven people running or 27 people running — I stand on my reputation for what I’ve done in this community.”
While only three council seats were up for grabs tonight, another position will open up in January when Cooper takes on his new role as mayor. Current Mayor Billy Fitzgerald said council members will have to appoint someone to take Cooper’s place and will likely favor one of the runners-up of this election — Stanley Coffey and Cheryl Hickman.