The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 2, 2013

Two council races on Carthage ballot

By Susan Redden
sredden@joplinglobe.com

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Five posts on the Carthage City Council will be decided in Tuesday’s town and school elections, but voters will make the choice on only two of them.

There are two races on the Carthage ballot — for council seats from the 1st Ward and 3rd Ward, while the remaining three council members will run without opposition.

And the two races are the only contests on the radar of Carthage area residents. There is no Carthage School Board election because only two candidates — the current board members — filed to seek the two posts to be filled.

In the race for the 1st Ward council seat, incumbent Jim Swatsenbarg is facing a challenge from Trevor C. Smith.

• Swatsenbarg, 58, 601 Howard St., has lived in Carthage for 19 years. He is retired from the California Highway Patrol, where he was a traffic sergeant. He later worked in hotel renovation and management, and as an electrical inspector with the Carthage Water and Electric Plant.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Golden Gate University.

Swatsenbarg, chairman of the budget ways and means committee, is completing is first two-year term on the council. He said he wants to continue on the council because “it’s a way I can serve the community.”

• Smith, 33, 1124 Valley Ave., has lived in Carthage for 24 years. He is a graphic designer and a graduate of Carthage High School. He attended Missouri Southern State University and the University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg. He also served with the 203rd Engineering Battalion of the Missouri National Guard.

He said he wants to serve on the council “to give back” to the Carthage community. He ran for council two years ago, losing in a close race to Kirby Newport.

In the 3rd Ward council race, Steve Leibbrand is facing a challenge from Mike Hutton.

• Leibbrand, 65, has lived in Carthage for near 30 years. He is a supply and logistics technician for the Department of the Army, working in the ROTC department at Pittsburg State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from PSU.

He is completing his first two-year council term and is chairman of the council’s public services committee and co-chairman of the public safety committee.

He said he wants to serve an additional term because there are projects he wants to see through to completion, including a new south fire substation.

“We’ve been discussing it for 15 years; it’s past due, and when it’s done, it will help homeowners with their insurance rates.”

• Globe attempts to reach Hutton were unsuccessful.