By Debby Woodin
JOPLIN, Mo. —
There will be no change in faces on the Joplin City Council.
Joplin voters on Tuesday re-elected three incumbents at a time when the city is striving to recover from massive damage caused by an EF-5 tornado last year.
William “Bill” Scearce and Morris Glaze were returned to general seats, and Melodee Colbert-Kean won the race for the Zone 2 seat, according to complete but unofficial returns.
Scearce, 70, 626 Jaccard Place, won a second consecutive term with 2,862 votes. Glaze, 61, 3321 Delaware Ave., received 2,561 votes for his second consecutive term, following a two-year term he served by appointment.
Their challengers were Ryan Jackson, 29, 1729 S. Wall Ave., 2,413 votes; Jim West, 61, 1602 Valley St., 2,394; and Shaun Steele, 40, 230 N. Sergeant Ave., 1,393.
Colbert-Kean, the current mayor pro tem, outpaced a bid by challenger Harvey Hutchinson by 900 votes. Colbert-Kean, 44, 527 N. Moffet Ave., garnered 3,573 votes, and Hutchinson, 67, 4512 W. 27th Place, received 2,622 votes.
“Wow,” Colbert-Kean said of her margin of victory. “I am extremely thankful. I am extremely appreciative.”
She was appointed to the council in 2006 to fill an unexpired term and was elected to a full term in 2008.
Scearce, who carried the largest vote total of the five candidates in the general race, said: “I’m very pleased the people of Joplin feel I have done what they put me there for. I’m happy that they returned me for another four years. They felt good enough about the things I have done in the past that they saw fit not only to re-elect me but to be the top vote-getter.” He served two previous terms.
Glaze carried 677 votes in Newton County, more than any of the other general seat candidates. He, too, was appointed to an unexpired term in 2006 and elected to a full term in 2008. “I am excited that the citizens had faith in me and gave me their vote. I appreciate their support,” he said.
All of the incumbents said the vote means people are generally satisfied with the city’s status.
“The people of Joplin are happy with the incumbents, and they chose to put them onto the council again,” Scearce said.
Colbert-Kean said it will allow her and the council to continue moving Joplin forward. “The citizens’ voices continue to be heard,” she said of her return.
Zoning issues, specifically the redevelopment of some residential properties for commercial use along with specifying that more commercial development be planned districts to buffer residential zones, are one of the council’s recent key projects. Another is signing a letter of intent to negotiate with a Texas firm to be a master developer for tornado damage recovery.
BENJAMIN ROSENBERG was unopposed for re-election to a Zone 3 post on the Joplin council.