The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 12, 2014

Joplin political action committee announces candidates who will receive endorsements, cash

A local political action committee has announced which Joplin City Council and Joplin School Board candidates it will financially support and/or endorse for the April election.

Five of the nine City Council members are up for re-election, and of those five, four interviewed with the Joplin Progress Committee, seeking its support.

Councilman Mike Seibert and candidate Ryan Stanley will receive financial support and endorsement from the PAC. Councilman Gary Shaw and candidate Miranda Lewis will have the committee’s endorsement.

Two council members, Jack Golden and Mike Woolston, were turned down by the committee after their interviews.

Jane Cage, a director of the PAC, said that when the filing period for City Council candidates closed and their filing petitions were certified, the committee emailed candidates to let them know the PAC’s support was available.

Cage said that when the interviews were completed Friday, the PAC selected the four candidates who best represented the committee’s values.

Woolston, who is a real estate agent, was criticized in a report from a council-ordered investigation regarding some property transactions. Woolston told the Globe on Wednesday that he was seeking both endorsement and financial support, but he understands why the committee would want to wait and see how the investigation turns out.

“It’s a little cloudy, and I understand that,” Woolston said. “I don’t think they want to be in the position of supporting someone and then have some wrongdoing uncovered. Hopefully my name will be cleared.”

About $19,000 has been raised so far by the committee, which has about 45 contributors, Cage said.

Initial decisions have been made regarding how much money will be given to candidates, Cage said. But the numbers have not yet been completed for release to the public, she said.

When money is contributed to the candidates, Cage said, there are no expectations that anything is required of them for receiving it.

“We didn’t want finances to be an impediment to someone who is willing to serve,” Cage said, adding that the amount donated will not fund the candidate’s entire campaign.

Seibert said the financial support he’s going to receive from the PAC will go to good use.

“I entered this race to win,” Seibert said. “And I’m going to use that money in ways that I think is going to put me in the best position to win this race, whether it’s additional television spots or yard signs.”

Shaw said that because he is running unopposed, he didn’t need financial support from the PAC. He said he still sought the committee’s endorsement because he would like to have support citywide. He also praised the PAC’s efforts.

“I’m pleased that any group of our citizens will take an interest in our elections, whether it be school board or council,” Shaw said. “I’m thankful to see them do that.”

Councilwoman Trisha Raney said she didn’t interview with the committee because she didn’t want to seek extra money.

“Basically, last time I ran, I ran with only $750,” she said. “I just have the philosophy there shouldn’t be such a large amount of money spent on local campaigns.”

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