The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

March 26, 2013

Carthage candidate forum attracts current councilmen

By Susan Redden

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Two Carthage City Council members in contested races — and one without opposition — were represented Tuesday in a candidate forum sponsored by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce.

Speakers were incumbent Councilmen Jim Swatsenbarg and Ed Hardesty, with a written statement delivered on behalf of Councilman Steve Leibbrand.

The forum was moderated by Jake Heisten, of Carthage, who is a field representative for the office of U.S. Rep. Billy Long.

Heisten noted the importance of elections such as the April 2 vote that will choose leaders for local communities and school districts.

“People get all wrapped up on what’s going on in Washington, but these are the people who have a real impact on our lives and what’s going on around us,” he said.

The event, designed to help residents learn more about candidates in the April 2 election, was held at the community room of the Carthage Water & Electric building.

Swatsenbarg is running for re-election to a 1st Ward council seat. He faces a challenge from Trevor Smith, who did not attend the forum.

The incumbent has lived in Carthage for 19 years. He formerly was a member of the California Highway Patrol, but he emphasized his business background, including work in hotel construction and renovation. After moving to Carthage, he worked as a building inspector for the city, then as an electrical inspector for Carthage Water & Electric. He holds a degree in accounting from Golden Gate University.

He is chairman of the council’s budget ways and means committee that oversees the city budget.

Leibbrand, a 3rd Ward councilman, is being challenged by Mike Hutton, who also did not attend the forum.

A statement on behalf of the candidate was read by Lynda Homa, who said he could not attend because he was working in Fort Riley, Kan. Leibbrand is a supply and logistics technician for the Department of the Army, working as part of the ROTC program at Pittsburg (Kan.) State University. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from PSU.

Leibbrand, in the statement, noted his service as chairman of the council’s public services committee and as vice chairman of the public safety committee. He said he wants to stay on the council to continue to work on city projects including a “visioning” program aimed at improving city parks, development of a disc golf course at Kellogg Lake Park and construction of a new Carthage Fire Department south substation.

Also speaking was Hardesty, a 5th Ward councilman who is running without opposition.


OTHER COUNCIL INCUMBENTS running without opposition are Larry Chapin, 2nd Ward, and Dan Rife, 4th Ward.