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New Bloomfield mayoral candidates present goals

New Bloomfield mayoral candidates present goals

March 13th, 2019 by Helen Wilbers in News

Photo by Submitted

NEW BLOOMFIELD — Three mayoral candidates are on the ballot for the City of New Bloomfield's April 2 municipal election. One candidate, Cheri Wilson, has announced her withdrawal from the race.

This is part of a series of profiles on the candidates running in contested races across the county. More profiles are coming soon.

Jennifer Graves

"I grew up in and around New Bloomfield all my life. I grew up on a nearby farm and my two kids graduated from school in New Bloomfield. I've been in nursing for 20-plus years and am now the director of activities at Jefferson City manor. I love people."

Q. Why are you running?

"I started going through the City Council minutes and noticing things that are not quite right. I really care about what happens to my town. We don't always have to agree but we do have to be on common ground, and the one thing we do have in common is that we all live in the same town. We really need to bring it up to the 21st century. I don't want our little town to die. You need to be able to balance it, keep it alive, keep it growing."

Q. What qualifications do you have as a candidate?

"I have a lot of knowledge of budgets. And I believe in transparency and an open-door policy. I think as mayor, being able to delegate things and oversee things like we should is key. I'm willing to learn. Anything I don't know, I research it until I'm able to understand and execute it. I took a class on personalities and teams and that's something I feel like someone in a position like that should take. You're not going to be able to make everybody happy but you need to know how to deescalate situations."

Q. What do you think is the biggest issue you'll need to solve in this position, and how do you plan to solve it?

"Transparency is the biggest issue. I think we need to make a communication board and we need to also update our website and ordinances, and post the ordinances online. We'll need to have a Facebook page for when we have community events and meetings, so we can post things live. Transparency and communication are the keys to success. Right now, we don't have that. We can't talk to each other without yelling. We need to be able to have civil conversations."

Q. What other goals do you have?

"It's hard to answer that question until I get in there and really truly see the things going on, because we're not getting answers at the moment. But those are the main things I see as highly important at the moment and the rest will fall into place. Things like, making sure that when we pass a city ordinance, we don't pass it all in one session, and the community has a chance to give input. Having that community feedback is important.

"A (local) child ran away last year or the year before. Everyone in the neighborhood was out there looking for her, and that's what a community is about. We need to get that unity back."

Terry Shaw (Incumbent)

"I grew up in a small farming community in Illinois and went into the U.S. Navy when I graduated high school. I served eight years on nuclear submarines. After leaving the Navy in 1970, I went to work for various utilities at nuclear plants, including the Callaway plant. I retired from there in 2000. I also served several terms as mayor in New Bloomfield in the early 2000s."

Q. Why are you running?

"I want to have some continuity. Basically, I want to provide some common sense direction to city government. I think we're heading in that direction and I'd like to keep things headed in that directions."

Q. What qualifications do you have as a candidate?

"I've got a lot of life experiences. I've worked in various industries throughout my career. I have a degree from what is now Evangel University — a bachelor's in general Biblical studies. I've worked for Commonwealth Edison at several nuclear plants I've had my own business for 10 years in New Bloomfield. It's a lot of experience to add to the mix and I think I have the common sense to influence the city board in a positive way. I look forward to working with them for the next three years."

Q. What do you think is the biggest issue you'll need to solve in this position, and how do you plan to solve it?

"I don't think we have any big issues. We're working on things we work on cyclically, pretty much all the time, like the condition of the infrastructure — streets, water and sewer, etc. We're taking the measures we need to take on a routine basis to maintain those. We're hoping to raise the city's sales tax by 1 percent in the coming election to give the city a little extra money, so we're not as tight in city general. We have a mandated state audit that's going to cost us $20,000 to $40,000. We also put a bond issue in there for storm water and streets."

Q. What other goals do you have?

"Just to continue to provide the government that the city residents want. I know there's been a lot of noise made by a few that we're not open, and we're not straightforward and we go into the hole on the budget, but we've never went into the red on a year's budget. We've maintained good spending practices, and we have an audit annually that we pay for. Those rumors are simply untrue. I hope to continue to represent the city in an honest and forthright fashion. That sort of talk is really damaging."

Cheri Wilson

Wilson said she has withdrawn from candidacy, though it's too late to remove her name from the ballot.

"When I filed to run for mayor, there was no one else running against the current mayor and I felt that changes needed to be made," she said. "Jennifer Graves then filed to run for mayor. After going back to work at the (Missouri) House of Representatives, I didn't feel confident that I would be able to dedicate the time that I feel is needed to give to both positions, and feeling confident that Jennifer was a qualified candidate, I withdrew."