BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) — Beckley Mayor Rob Rappold has won every election he’s entered in his home city of Beckley, where he’s served on the Common Council and as city treasurer.
He’s been mayor since 2016. He and his wife, Barbara Rappold, grew up in Beckley, got married and reared their own family.
Many in Mayor Rappold’s hometown question if he’ll seek re-election this coming May. Barbara said even she is not sure.
“I told him that if he ran again, I would divorce him, and he got a smile on his face, and then I thought, ‘uh-oh,'” she joked.
The mayor said he’s proud of spearheading the purchase of the former Black Knight Country Club in 2018 and launching construction of multi-million dollar police and fire stations.
Those decisions didn’t come without public pushback, the Rappolds added.
“It hurts my feelings when they criticize Rob. He takes it really well, I think,” said Barbara, adding she believes media coverage of the mayor’s decisions and statements has sometimes been unnecessarily harsh.
Mayor Rappold said on Tuesday, October 10, 2023, that amending the city’s non-discrimination policy to include those in the LGBTQ community in 2019 was a controversial moment, but one which he would make again and does not regret.
Rappold said he has not decided whether he’ll run for another term as mayor.
“We do have time. If I were to file, I don’t have to file until January, I think, so we’ve got time,” he said. “We’ve got plenty of time, and we have to see how things materialize.”
On Friday, Ward 3 Beckley Common Councilman Robert Dunlap announced he is running for mayor in May.
Both Rappold and Dunlap agree a current priority is moving the city from a strong mayor figure into a weak mayor with a city manager.