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Life hasn't slowed down for Clarksburg's Iquinto

by Gail Marsh

Assistant City Editor

I thought Louis Iquinto's life would be a little calmer now that he's been out of politics for more than a year.

But I found out I was wrong.

Trying to interview the former mayor of Clarksburg can be a circus, with his cell phone going off, pager beeping and people recognizing him and wanting to stop in and say hello.

Despite a full-time job as an investigator for the utility division of the Public Service Commission, Iquinto has managed to stay involved with area civic and social issues.

"Some people say you stay on council and get involved with the community because it looks good to the voters. But I was involved way before I ever served in politics, and I've stayed involved," Iquinto said.

He's president of the board of the Harrison County Senior Center, president of Health Access, president of the Children's Treatment Center and serves on the board of the Heart Association, among other things.

The North View native said his parents raised him to be involved in the community and to give back a little of what he's received.

"I used to watch my dad get up every morning at dark and walk to the Rolland Glass Plant. They both instilled a good work ethic in us.

"We grew up poor and I never wanted to see my family have to live that way. But even though we didn't have much, there was a lot of love in the family," he said.

Iquinto and his wife, Mary Anne, raised four children, Anthony, Adam, Alissa and Anne, and they now have four grandchildren.

Back when I covered city council meetings, I used to wonder if his family minded the long hours that he gave to the city after working all day for the PSC. He gives credit for any success to his wife of 36 years.

"I couldn't have done it without the love and support of my wife. She's been my secretary, helped me with my schedule and got hollered at when I wasn't there. My whole family has been a great support," he said.

What does he miss most about being out of politics? The people, he said.

"I served on council for 12 years and enjoyed being able to help people. When I was growing up, I saw it was the people who had nothing that got shoved around and didn't get things done. I always tried to make sure we considered everyone in our decisions," he said.

What's he most proud of about his tenure? For one thing, the new city municipal building.

"I used to get upset when business people would come into town and we had to walk through the basement of the old city hall to get to council. The citizens can really be proud of that new, beautiful building," he said.

His toughest time on council? Probably when Anchor Hocking closed, putting a couple hundred people out of work.

"I was never more angry that they closed the plant right before Christmas. I called the owner and asked him not to be so cruel. People appreciated what we tried to do for them," he said.

The more Iquinto talked, the more animated he became, and it was apparent that he missed the day-to-day political grind.

"You bet I do! We have a great city here and it's a safe place to live, but I'd like the chance to see a lot more things done.

"We still need a youth center for the kids, and that would be one of my top priorities," he said.

His cell phone rings again and he's out in the news room shaking hands and asking people what they've been up to. I'd say his hat's back in the ring.

Assistant city editor Gail Marsh can be reached at 626-1447 or by e-mail at gmarsh@exponent-telegram.com.

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