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Castle resigns from council

Cary Ashby • Jun 29, 2018 at 10:00 PM

Norwalk Councilman Chris Castle has announced he is resigning from serving as the fourth-ward representative due to a recent change in where he lives.

Castle’s resignation will be effective Wednesday, the day after his last day on council. He started serving in January 2016.

“There is some unfinished business there that I have co-sponsored that I would like to see finished and then, effective Wednesday because of residency requirements, my resignation will go forward,” he said.

Castle is in the third year of his four-year term.

“My wife and children have stood by me for years, in every single endeavor I have chosen and at some point you have to stop asking them to do that. At some point, you gotta do what’s right for your family, so that’s what I’m doing,” he said.

“I’m very happy with this job,” Castle added, referring to being the marketing director at Gaymont Nursing Center. “I’m in a good place with my wife and kids. It’s not time to rock the boat again; it’s not time to throw everything into a tailspin again just because I want to serve on council.

“Being elected by a majority of my peers was one of the greatest honors of my life and I took it very seriously and I put a great deal of time into everything that came across our desk. But the greatest honor of my life is being a husband and a father, so when you weigh the two, there’s no comparison — no matter how much I love serving as a councilman.”

Part of his decision came down to finding the right home for his family.

“If we could have found another middle-class rental property in ward four, we certainly would have done that, but there was nothing on the market. Primarily, as anybody (who) rents in this town knows, there are primarily apartments and it’s hard to find a full house,” Castle said.

“And my 8-year-old (daughter) has a swing set that she deserves to have it in a back yard,” he added. “There are certain things my family deserves. We couldn’t find that in ward four, so we found something else outside of the ward that will work very well for my family.”

During his first year on council, Castle rented a one-bedroom Baker Street apartment in order to live in the fourth ward. However, that kept him from being with his family on a full-time basis.

“I rented my family a home outside of the ward, so I wasn’t there to cook dinner, to do the dishes, (to) make a grilled cheese sandwich in the middle of the day for one of my girls,” he said. 

When asked if he might regret resigning from council, Castle said while he has enjoyed serving Norwalk, he would have more regrets about missing every-day moments with his family.

Since Castle is a Democrat, the Huron County Democratic party will need to choose someone who lives in the fourth ward to serve the rest of his term.

“They would need to run again,” Castle said. “This has happened in the past when Bob Carleton passed away (in November 2014), Erin Smetzer was appointed by the Republican party. There was a vacancy at some point and that’s how Samantha Wilhelm — then Ludwig — was appointed before she ran.” 

Wilhelm represents the third ward.

Despite his upcoming resignation, Castle said when people run into him, he expects they will bring him their concerns — “whether you’re their councilman or not” — and he plans on being active in Norwalk.

“I still will be fully engaged in this community and I will still approach other council members when I have concerns or when I hear concerns,” said Castle, who plans on attending “a whole lot of council meetings. 

Castle said it has been an honor to serve on council.

“Especially for a kid from a trailer park, that you would grow up and get to be a council member in a small city,” he added. “Everyone at city hall understands my decision. They hate to see me go; I hate to see me go.

“I don’t need a status or a title to tell me who I am because basically I know who I am when I look at my kids and the way my kids look at me,” Castle said. “The title (councilman) isn’t nearly as important as doing what’s right and being able to look back and having zero regrets.”

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