The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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March 30, 2014

Joplin City Council candidates to appear on live forum

JOPLIN, Mo. — “Candidate Connection,” a forum for Joplin City Council candidates, will be held Monday night at Missouri Southern State University.

The forum is being conducted by The Joplin Globe in conjunction with MSSU’s KGCS-TV. It will be broadcast live on KGCS from Corley Auditorium in Webster Hall. KGCS is broadcast on digital Channel 22, Cable One Channel 7 and Mediacom Channel 2.

Free tickets for seating are available at the Globe, 117 E. Fourth St.

The forum begins at 7 p.m. Doors open at 6 p.m. to ticket holders; those without tickets will be admitted at 6:45 p.m.

There are six candidates for three general seats on the council and two candidates to fill one seat in Zone 4 in the April 8 election.

Incumbent Gary Shaw is unopposed for a Zone 1 seat.

The general candidates are Ryan Stanley, Harvey Hutchinson, Miranda Lewis, Jim West and incumbents Trisha Raney and Mike Woolston. Zone 4 candidates are incumbent Mike Seibert and another incumbent, Jack Golden, who currently holds a general seat.

Council candidates were asked a number of questions in a Globe questionnaire. Some of those questions and the answers are:

What city issues are you concerned about and why?

Hutchinson: “Of primary concern is rebuilding 8-plus square miles of 9,000 structures. This should be done based on sound business principles, not the ambition of a career politician. I am also concerned with the lack of sound management principles exhibited by some on the council, specifically a history of excessive travel and other expenses that seem to advance career political goals as opposed to serving the community and city. I plan to provide sound business and management practices accompanied by personal integrity, family values and conservative principles to the council and community.”

Lewis: “Hiring a new city manager is a high priority in my view. The role of city manager is a pivotal one in determining the potential success of city projects as well as its direction. Choosing the right fit for the city manager will be of utmost priority for the new council.”

Raney: “We need to continue the momentum of rebuilding after the tornado. At the same time, we need to keep the focus we already had on improving the quality of life for Joplin citizens. We need to continue our efforts to put in more sidewalks and walking trails, revitalizing downtown, growing the trolley system, and providing affordable amenities and entertainment for citizens to enjoy. All of these are important for creating a city we can all enjoy and be proud to call home.”

Stanley: “I am concerned that we are allowing ourselves to be distracted by personal agendas and distractions. I am concerned that we are not moving toward what I would consider to be our necessary focus — rebuilding this city and wisely using our time and energies. Recently, a new focus was presented to the council, hiring a new city manager that is worthy of our city. I am obsessively concerned about these two issues.”

West: “I think the most important issue I am hearing from the citizens that I have come in contact with on the street is the fact that we have heard of plans for the rebuild totaling millions of dollars and would like to see progress start moving and that is a big concern of mine.”

Woolston: “I’m concerned about absolutely everything related to the tornado recovery from our community’s impatience to see projects being constructed to our desire to rebuild and grow our population base to our hiring of a new city manager.” Woolston said population loss was one of city’s concerns in the aftermath of the tornado. The city created a homebuying program, J-HAP, to help bring people to the city. “I feel that probably our best asset for repopulating is the work ethic of our citizens,” which he said brought two new companies to Joplin after the tornado. “I believe that over time, other employers will be attracted for that same reason.”

Golden: “A significant portion of the immediate downtown renovation has been completed and certainly beautified and enhanced the downtown area. The most difficult work lies ahead. The attraction of small business to the downtown area is essential and necessary to financially stabilize the area. The Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Joplin, investors and interested persons or groups will need to work together, support each other and develop a business concept that welcomes the customer base to multishop for goods or services when in the downtown area. Recruitment of specialty or single-purpose businesses or services that generally attract a customer base not benefiting from being located within a specific location should be undertaken.”

Seibert: “The new seated council will be responsible for replacing a nationally recognized city manager. The new city manager will be critical in the success of the rebuild. I want to be a part of that decision process. The city of Joplin has been awarded approximately $192 million in federal and state support. We need to remain focused on the projects. Their success will set the stage for Joplin’s future growth. Successful reinvestment of that money will attract new business and industry to Joplin. That means jobs.”

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