MORGANTOWN — Morgantown City Councilor Ryan Wallace, who is unopposed to maintain his 3rd Ward seat in the upcoming municipal election, does not intend to serve a second term on council, though according to the West Virginia Secretary of State’s office he cannot officially withdraw as a candidate this close to the April 30 election.
In a statement issued Friday evening, Wallace said he intends to serve out the current term, which ends June 30. After that, he and his family are moving to Toronto, where he plans to practice law.
“Although I would like to continue to serve in local government, I have not been able to secure employment in the legal field here in the Greater Morgantown area. I will be transitioning to the practice of law in Toronto, Canada. As a result of the unexpected change in our plans, I cannot in good faith continue to campaign for another term on Morgantown City Council.”
After learning from the Secretary of State that candidate names cannot be pulled from the ballot within 84 days of an election, Wallace said he plans to endorse a write-in candidate and essentially campaign against himself.
According to the city charter, write-in candidates must file with the city clerk’s office no later than two weeks before the April 30 Election Day, which would be April 16. The only exceptions to this deadline involve the death, disqualification or court-ordered removal of a candidate.
The Wallace family arrived in Morgantown, from Michigan, in August 2015.
Wallace was elected to city council in April 2017. He graduated from the WVU College of Law last May.
Christine Wallace, Ryan’s wife, is the Program and Outreach manager at The Shack Neighborhood House. She founded the Morgantown Youth Running Club, has been involved with Girls on the Run, coached swimming at the WVU Recreation Center and spearheaded efforts to create Morgantown’s Health and Wellness Commission.
Ryan Wallace said the move to Toronto will not only allow him more opportunities to find employment in his chosen field, it will also be a return to a familiar setting. They previously lived there as Christine is from the area.
She said her parents are excited to spend more time with Grace and Faith, their only grandchildren.
“My parents are there. I have cousins there. It’s where I was raised. My folks are getting older now and we have the only grandkids in the family. I really am a family person, so when Ryan lost his job — that and council were the main reasons why we were here,” she said. “But we really need family and family is very important to us.”
That’s not to say they’ve not felt like part of the family here in Morgantown.
“We just really like the community spirit that we have here. Morgantown is a small enough town that you really can get to know a lot of folks. It’s full of beautiful neighborhoods and friendly people,” Ryan Wallace said. “We wanted to stay. We’re just not able to.”