At-large candidates clear up campaign platforms

By Ashley Linder

April 9, 2014

City Council candidates met on Tuesday, March 26, in Missouri Western’s Spratt Hall to hash out the issues.

The six at-large candidates -- Kent “Spanky” O’Dell, Jeff Penland, Ken Beck, Byron Myers, Donna Boyer and Kenneth Reeder -- were in attendance. Bill Faulkner, the only mayoral candidate on the ballot, also appeared.

Unlike the past forums, the Indoor Clean Air Act didn’t take up much time. This forum centered around the issue of poor street quality.

All of the candidates agreed that streets were in need of improvement and should be held high on the priority list, but no one knew exactly where the city would find the funding for such endeavors.

O’Dell started off the forum introducing voters to his blue-collar background. He claimed he was not a politician.

“I’m a blue-collar, old Irish boy,” O’Dell said.

He said the largest problem in the local government was its lack of communication with the people, and that’s what he aimed to fix.

Bill Faulkner expressed excitement for his second term. He informed the audience that much groundwork was laid in his previous term, and his second term should allow for progress and expansion. He’s proud of the work the council had accomplished, but they still had a lot to do.

“I’m eager to get going again,” Faulkner said.

Third at bat was Jeff Penland. Penland was an incumbent seeking his second term. He finished out 8 months of the previous term after the previous councilman passed away. Before taking his seat on the council Penland spent three and a half years in planning and zoning.

Ken Beck started his opening statement with his media background.

“I recently retired from the media where I worked for forty-five years. I was always involved in certain areas of the community at the city level, state level, and local level,” said Beck.

Beck emphasized the need to come together in order to look at what our city has been doing and figure out where we want to go.

Byron Myers is an incumbent seeking his second term on the council. His main concerns remained the same as stated in the previous election. He wants to maintain the 139th airborne wing her in Saint Joseph, he supports the new advanced research science center, and the streets. He expressed to his constituents his moral values.

“I have no hidden agenda. I accepted no outside funding because I will not be a dollar-taker or obligated to anyone especially string-pullers outside our community,” said Myers.

Donna Boyer sat as the only woman on the stage. Boyer is a retired educator, she taught at Benton High School in St. Joseph, and was a graduate of Lafayette High School. She’s currently finishing her fourth term.

“During the next four years, the council must invest in St. Joseph. Job creation and retention is an important concern,” Boyer said.

The last statement went to Kenneth Reeder. He claimed he’d worked as hard as anyone and his “heart is in this fight.” He gained experience in government as a lobbyist. He believes he can accurately represent the taxpayer on the most important issues.