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On the Ballot: April 4 Municipal Election

In anticipation of the April 4 municipal election, St. Charles County candidates in contested races only were invited to answer the following questions:

Why are you running and what are your priorities if elected? What are your qualifications for holding public office?

Mid Rivers Newsmagazine has not verified and does not endorse the statements made by the candidates. Candidates in all races are listed in ballot order; incumbents are identified with an “I” after their name.


Jim Ottomeyer • Director [I]


[3-year term ]

Arnie C. [AC] Dienoff • Director

I will be the steward and watch dog of all district operations. I will be a great advocate for students, families, certified/non-certified staff and the core foundation of the community. I will restore and instill total accountability, responsibility, full transparency and common-sense decision making. I will increase test scores, reduce classroom student/teacher ratio, additional funding for “character education” and STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics]. I will mandate highly qualified teachers, increase teacher professional development, improve school safety [Safe Schools Act] and security, develop a stern policy for disruptive students, add technology and cutting edge resources, cut all waste and mandate an annual balanced budget.

• • •

I am civic-minded, talented and educated. I am an advocate of students. I have a total commitment for students and their education. Education is vital to community/economic development. I want to lead and help make the important decisions that face us. I desire to serve the public and improve the services and programs that are offered. The strength of the community starts with education of its treasure, our children. I am full of honesty, passion and vision, wanting to be a team player on the Board of Education. My talents, tenacity and assets are to serve residents. Students must be our first priority and focus!

John Callahan • Director [I]

I am running for the Board of Education to continue my community service. My priorities are to continue support of district leadership, increase STEM classes and recruit qualified STEM teachers, and continue budget discipline.

• • •

My qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a career as a program and engineer testing planer, and my focus on cost and school performance reports.

Jim Pepper • Director

I believe we need to bring greater fiscal accountability to the operation [Fort Zumwalt School District]. It appears there is a lack of return on investment regarding quality output vs. money spent.

• • •

I previously have held the following offices: Mayor of Berdell Hills, Normandy councilmember, Charter Commissioner for O’Fallon and O’Fallon City Councilmember [two terms].

Louie Gilbert • Director [I]

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Tom Hobday • Director

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Jim Combs • Director

I am running for this office to help secure good public school education for my grandchildren.

• • •

I have a master’s degree in human resources, am a director of a private school religious program and substitute teach in middle and high schools.

Ryan Dean Ozinga • Director

I want to help preserve and improve the quality of our school system. My top priorities are ensuring Fort Zumwalt School District provides the best possible curriculum for all students to help prepare them for the challenges they will face in a competitive, global world. The district should be a leader in adopting the latest technologies for learning in the classroom and make sure our teachers are equipped with the proper training. Lastly, as a district, we need to continue to focus on offering programs that help students maximize their potential.

• • •

My wife and I feel very fortunate that our two boys are students in the Fort Zumwalt district. I believe that a school board must be responsive and receptive to parents, staff, students and the community at large and encourage open dialog. The board must take input from all groups and consider all factors before making decisions. My efforts on the board will be centered on serving all the children within the district.

Erica Powers • Director

Being a kindergarten-12th grade Fort Zumwalt alumni and parent of children in the district, I want the best for our students, teachers, staff and community. I want change. It’s time our voices are heard. Being on the Board of Education will allow me that voice, oversight and the ability to forge partnerships with the board and community, while guaranteeing transparency and accountability. There are three pillars to learning that I will zealously support while on the Fort Zumwalt School Board: parents, teachers, and students. My top priorities are curriculum, communication and empowerment. See our website for more in-depth action plans.

• • •

I value education and understand the issues facing our district from a variety of perspectives. My educational background, professional experiences, experiences working with other boards and organizations, added with my community engagement will add value to the board improving upon existing platforms and working effectively with all stakeholders to serve our community.

Craig Stephen Moore • Director [I]

I have three children that have attended or are attending Fort Zumwalt Schools. I have lived in O’Fallon over 20 years. I am running in order to serve our community, the children and the parents with conservative and sound values. My top priorities are quality of education, financial responsibility and ensuring our children have a safe environment to learn.

• • •

In my career, I have held positions of management and responsibility including director of operations, plant manager, engineering manager and project manager. Those roles have taught me to work as a team player to complete tasks on time and within budget. Those skills directly relate to serving our school board by providing oversight of policies and budgets.


[1-year term]

Tommy George Jr. • Director

I have two children in the district and I want to work to ensure all students have the opportunity to reach their maximum potential of academic success. My priorities are STEM initiatives to ensure our children compete in today’s workforce and technology upgrades to help facilitate this, and communication. Input from our teachers is critical to the success of our district.

• • •

I feel I am qualified because I have served on the IBEW [electricians] Local 1 Apprenticeship Board and we deal with similar issues. My experience on the apprenticeship board along with having two children in the district makes me invested in the district’s improvement so that we can have all students reach their maximum success.

Diane Harlow • Director

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Earl J. Draper Jr. • Director

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Sarah Drake Harashe • Director

I want to ensure that our district focuses on meeting the diverse needs of all students so they can reach their full potential and receive high-quality, relevant curriculum in all grades. It is time to put a stronger emphasis on integrating more STEM and technology at both the elementary and secondary levels. My priority is ensuring we spend less time on operational issues and more time focused on policies to improve student achievement and ensure college readiness. As a lifelong Fort Zumwalt resident, I am passionate about bringing positive change to the district and opening communication between schools and community.

• • •

As a 16-year teacher in the Rockwood School District, I’ve served on numerous district committees including creating curriculum and professional development, allowing me to know how a successful infrastructure of a district is run. Currently as a director for Science Teachers of Missouri, I am a huge STEM advocate helping teachers around Missouri incorporate these practices into lessons. I’ve presented at the state and national level on differentiation. These experiences will allow me to help the board make decisions on adopting the proper programs and policies revolving around student achievement. I look forward to frequent interactions with the Zumwalt community.

Garvis N. Pollard • Director

As a recent Fort Zumwalt retiree who has had a lifetime of varied work and management experiences in state government, private industry and public education, I’d like to assist the district in its continued pursuit of excellence in both academics and trade skills. I envision a school district where the community business, labor and school leaders work together for academic and skills excellence, and where teachers are mutually rewarded for their teaching excellence – all for the ability of each district student to pursue and achieve a productive and fulfilling life. My top priorities are to listen, to learn, and to ask lots of questions.

• • •

My qualifications for holding public office include: Bachelor of Science in Education – University of Arkansas, Fayetteville; Pollard and Associates, franchisee of Sandler Sales Institute providing sales, sales management, and presentation skills training to individuals and corporations in various vocations and disciplines; Ft. Zumwalt School District teacher at Hope High in natural science courses and U.S. history; substitute teacher in five district high schools and two middle schools.

Genelle Speed-Hale • Director

I would like the opportunity to drive change in the best interest of students, educators, support staff and our community. I would like to actively support our district in fostering innovation, investing in training and ensuring our children are well prepared for the future. My top three priorities for the district include equality in education for all students to enable full development of their intellectual and personal potential; ensuring the effective and efficient use of school system resources; and working to increase partnerships with our STEM community to better prepare our students for transitions into an increasingly technological workplace.

• • •

I am qualified to serve in this office because I have over 25 years of experience in scientific leadership and educational advocacy. I have served on several community boards in the district and as a parent of three children at Fort Zumwalt schools, I have a vested interest in the outcome of their educational success. I volunteer on a regular basis in schools in the district and outside. My volunteer activities include presentations on communication, STEM, science outreach, college preparation, personal finance and life skills. My strengths include communication, project management, and strategy development.


Patrick Lane • Director

My top priorities are to maintain academic rigor and educational excellence; a balanced budget and the need for additional revenue; and improve technology.

• • •

I have long been a support of our public schools. As a parent of four children who are graduates of the Francis Howell School District and as an educator for 33 years, I have been involved as both a patron and a professional in our school community. Currently, the Francis Howell School District is going through a financial crisis and is in need of leadership that understands the educational needs of our students. I have 12 years experience as an administrator, which provided experience in working with school budgets at the building level. I know what it is like to make difficult financial decision while keeping the best interests of students in mind. I believe my educational experiences working in curriculum and instruction will help me make constructive decisions to assure our students continue receiving an excellent education.

Rene Cope • Director [I]

I am seeking re-election to help the Francis Howell School District succeed through financially challenging times. The board cut over $12 million and it is nearly at a balanced budget. Helping the district do more with less, while maintaining our excellent school district, is my top priority. I want to ensure that all children are college or career ready by helping each student discover their own talents and ambitions by providing a variety of learning opportunities throughout their educational journey. I am a strong advocate for public education with state/federal legislators, helping elected officials understand the importance of public education. If our district deteriorates, so does the community around it.

• • •

I am an incumbent finishing up my first three-year term. I have dedicated myself to understanding the nuances of school finance and curriculum development, both of which ensure the success of our students. I have a Bachelors of Science in business management and a Masters of Arts in intelligence analysis. I am a fiscally responsible critical thinker, who evaluates each situation thoroughly in order to make the most informed decision I can for our students, staff and community.

Mary Lange • Director

I have an intense passion to ensure our district continues to be top performing. My top priorities are to ensure our students and staff have the resources necessary to remain top tier; be a voice for our children and community by making sure that the children remain a top priority; and make certain that our tax dollars are spent in the most sensible, wise way.

• • •

As a parent to two young children in this district, I am highly invested in keeping the district top performing. I am passionate, motivated and have the courage to stand up for what is right. I have been actively involved in the community, advocating for our schools and creating dialogue amongst the community.

Mike Sommer • Director [I]

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Stephen Johnson • Director

I am running for this office to help bring unity to the Francis Howell School Board, to promote sound decision making to move the district forward, to regain the trust of the taxpayer after two failed tax levies by demonstrating financial accountability and to support the excellent education of students occurring in the Francis Howell School District.

• • •

I served on the Francis Howell Board from 2009 to 2012 and am certified as a Master Board Member by the Missouri School Board Association. I have stayed engaged as a taxpayer by attending board meetings and community events. My past management experience makes me aware of the factors involved in the running of a large business and the financial and human elements. I am endorsed by the SCC Republican Central Committee and Missouri Coalition Against Common Core.


Betsy Anne Bates • Director

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Saundra [Sandy] Garber • Director

I am running to continue the educational fight against the unelected special interest group takeover of our nation’s education system; to stop any new curriculum by any other name that is the same as Common Core; to stop the data mining of our children that could be shared with unknown third parties; to stop raising taxes and demand responsible spending; to force transparency of all land purchases and district spending; to continue to be the watchdog and good steward of taxpayers’ hard earned tax dollars. I want to give you a “seat at the table” when negotiating contracts, salaries, benefits, etc. of the National Education Association and other special interest groups within our district with your tax dollars.

• • •

I previously served on the Wentzville School Board from 2012 until April 2015 election and served as board secretary for my last two years. I brought my conservative expertise, management skills, principles and values to the board for all of the stakeholders. I ran last year not just for myself, but for all of the Wentzville School District stakeholders. I came in third place, but I was met with very strong opposition from the leadership of the NEA.

Barbara Fine • Director

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Heather Reiter • Director

Candidate did not reply by deadline.


Jim Hennessey • Mayor [I]

John J. Stiles • Ward 1 Alderman [I]

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Joel Harper • Ward 1 Alderman

I am running for office to lend my time and talents to the continued betterment of Cottleville and the qualify of life for its citizens. My top priorities include working with stakeholders to complete the amphitheater by city hall and use it as a premier community gathering site. I also want to ensure that Guttermouth Road is safe for citizens using that road to get to Cottleville. The proposed 364 exit ramp and new home construction [I support both] will add traffic to a road that is narrow and hilly with poor sight lines. I believe in measured annexation to increase the tax base.

• • •

My career has been one of civic engagement. I have worked in a city manager’s office. I have worked in a governor’s office. I have made numerous presentations before city councils and planning and zoning boards. I offer Cottleville a skill set in understanding how city government works, what local government does and cannot do, and how to get things done.

Robert [Bob] Ronkoski • Ward 2 Alderman [I]

I am currently an alderman for Ward 2. I am seeking re-election because I would like to continue supporting Cottleville businesses and promote positive commercial growth to ensure that the city has the funds available to provide the best services for the residents. I will continue to promote the improvements to our city parks and the development of additional Greenway Trails and pedestrian walkways for the safety of our community. Maintaining a safe community and increasing police department patrols in our residential neighborhoods so that we remain one of the safest cities in Missouri are also among my priorities.

• • •

I have serves as an alderman for Ward 2 for the past four years. I have hands-on experience from working for municipal governments for many years. I make it a priority to know the residents and business owners and to make sure that they are satisfied with their city government. I truly enjoy being a public servant. I am fiscally conservative and have many years of experience managing large budgets. I possess a Master of Science dgree in criminal justice administration from Lindenwood University and have over 35 years of experience as a first responder.

Serall Chezem • Ward 2 Alderman

Candidate did not reply by deadline.


David C. Zucker • Mayor [I]

I am running for re-election to continue the work of restoring public trust in the Dardenne Prairie city government. We are managing tax money carefully while improving city services. We are managing growth and development to provide for the city’s financial future while maintaining the charm that attracted so many of us to live in Dardenne Prairie. We want to continue expanding the city’s Parks and Recreation programs for residents of all ages and interests. We will continue repairing and replacing, or building, streets and sidewalks to improve safety and enhance residential property values.

• • •

I have been the city’s full time mayor since May 2015 and served previously as a city alderman. I have 46 years of real world experience in government and private sector jobs, including 20 years active duty in the U.S. Army [Colonel, Judge Advocate General’s Corps]; 21 years as an attorney in private practice in a very large law firm and in solo practice; and have held positions in senior management in two large corporations and one nonprofit.

Harold [Sonny] Wilson • Mayor

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Kevin Klingerman • Ward 1 Alderman

Blake Nay • Ward 2 Alderman

John Gotway • Ward 3 Alderman


Kathy Schweikert • Mayor [I]

My priorities are to provide extensive street repairs, reconstruction of Lake Louis Boulevard to the dam and Freymuth Lane; more parks projects and a new 40-acre park; and adding new businesses for our residents’ convenience. I will use residents’ inputs on developing the comprehensive plan for the future of the city. I will continue attending Public Water Supply District No. 2 meetings and providing input on the Lake Saint Louis Sewer Project that is satisfactory to all impacted residents. I will set up meetings for residents with the sewer board and contractors to provide pipe status of our small lake.

• • •

As mayor for 2.5 years, I am proud that the city’s sales tax revenue increased over $600,000 and its General Fund [day-to-day budget] increased 13 percent in one year – 2016. This additional revenue enables more road and park projects. Residents are informed by my biweekly column in Newstime and on our city Facebook page. We are in the best financial shape the city has ever seen, and I am the candidate to continue this!

Eric Oman • Mayor

I am running to provide the leadership necessary to maximize the efficiency of every tax dollar spent and make the appropriate cuts in spending prior to ever asking the taxpayer to approve a tax increase. My priorities, if elected, are to provide video of city meetings online; create an honest, well-trained and highly respected police department, and not put Lake Saint Louis taxpayers $30 million in debt converting a poorly planned parking garage into a city building.

• • •

I am the former president of the Lake Saint Louis Sailing Club. I helped bring the U.S. Junior Olympics Sailing Festival to Lake Saint Louis. The festival objective is to allow all level of junior sailors to compete in a sanctioned sailing competition. I have six U.S. Patents, ranging from IED detection on the battlefield through commercial aircraft laser strike elimination. I am a member of the Saint Louis Woodworkers Guild. I am married and have four successful children.

Gary M. Turner • Ward 1 Alderman [I]

Michael Potter • Ward 1 Alderman [I]

John Pellerito • Ward 1 Alderman [I]


Bob Howell • Mayor

I believe O’Fallon leadership has become stagnant, complacent and indifferent. Thousands of residents whom I have worked with, numerous business owners and my fellow councilmembers have urged me to run for mayor and I have gladly accepted the challenge. If elected, my top priorities would be to eliminate waste in city government and use those much-needed financial resources for overdue infrastructure improvements; ensure responsible development and smart growth while always keeping the needs of the residents in mind; and protecting the quality of life in O’Fallon through constant coordination between city hall and our many residents and business owners.

• • •

My qualifications include being president of the Bryan Valley Homeowners Association [1998-present], an O’Fallon Planning and Zoning commissioner [2000-2009], O’Fallon City Councilmmember [2009-present], elected President Pro Tem by fellow councilmembers [2012], voted “Best Public Official” by St. Charles County residents [2014], and most recently elected executive board member of the St. Charles County Municipal League [2016]. This experience has helped me to understand the problems we face, the needs of our community and the goals we must achieve.

William [Bill] Hennessy • Mayor [I]

My goal in running for mayor is to maintain our safety, and continue fiscal responsibility and insight for O’Fallon into the future. My top priority is public safety. O’Fallon is once again one of the safest cities in the country. Our new Justice Center is scheduled to open this August. My second priority is infrastructure. Renew O’Fallon will repair and maintain our roads and sewers over the next decade. My third priority is our parks. With the passage of Prop P, we can begin work on O’Day Park and the St. Charles County Veteran’s Museum.

• • •

I was elected as an alderman/councilmember in 1999 and served until 2009 when I was elected mayor. Under my leadership, the city achieved unprecedented growth with a new city hall, new road and interstate exchanges and water/sewer system expansions that modernized the city. O’Fallon welcomed thousands of jobs to the region with growth in every business sector, changing O’Fallon from a bedroom community into a city with more than 1,600 businesses and global connections. I have the proven experience and leadership with a vision for the future of O’Fallon. I will continue to keep O’Fallon a great place to work, live and play.

Dave Hinman • Ward 1 Councilmember [I]

In my career as a manager for QuikTrip Corporation, my entire time is spent on customer service. I enjoy serving the public and helping in my community. If selected to remain your councilmember, my priorities are infrastructure, economic development and our park system. We need to continue to repair and replace aging water lines, stormwater sewers and replace damaged concrete streets. We need to work with our planning department to make it easier for businesses to locate in the city. We need to work with economic development to offer the best package possible to attract new high paying jobs. Finally, we need to develop our new and exciting parks.

• • •

My qualifications include serving as an O’Fallon Ward 1 Councilmember from 2014 to present, an O’Fallon Planning & Zoning commissioner for 9 years, an O’Fallon Fire Protection District director for 4 years, an O’Fallon Alderman for 4 years, an O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce director for 4 years and purchasing director for the No Hunger Holiday for10 years. I also have experience in managing a large business, which has given me an opportunity to work with budgets, staffing and customer service. I have learned to be fiscally conservative and budget minded. I appreciate the opportunity to serve you as Councilmember for Ward 1.

Arnie C. [AC] Dienoff • Ward 1 Councilmember

I am running to provide much needed leadership by making the correct decisions, always putting people first by advocating for you! I want to restore honesty, accountability and common-sense responsibility back to the City Council, administration and every taxpayer. I will work for balanced budgets, audits and no tax increase. I will be the watch dog and identify all waste. I will work to improve public safety, adding police officers with community based-policing, DWI enforcement with “no tolerance” and a pay raise for patrol officers. I will support needed economic development and annexation for growth. My other priorities are capital improvements and street repair program, traffic control plan and additional street lights that work, Citizens First Response Bureau and needed intergovernmental relations with neighboring communities.

• • •

I feel the calling to serve the 18,200 citizens of Ward 1. Affordable city services and economic growth are vital to the entire city. I bring a diverse, vast knowledge and keen skills that will be immediate assets. I would be a vital team player as a councilmember to ensure the continued success of O’ Fallon. I am community, civic-minded and talented, college educated in business administration/management. Have worked or been appointed at the municipal, township, county and state levels. Have managed multi-million dollar organizations, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands making sure citizens are the first priority and focus. I am your public advocate.

Jimmy Loveless • Ward 1 Councilmember

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Rose Mack • Ward 2 Councilmember [I]

Stacey Decker • Ward 3 Councilmember

My education and prior experience working in municipal government make me the perfect candidate to represent the residents of O’Fallon-Ward3. My top priorities include: 1) Improving the relationship between the Police Department and the City Council and providing mutually agreed upon benefits to our officers; 2) Educating O’Fallon residents about public safety concerns, especially the heroin epidemic in St. Charles County; 3) Preserving our public greenspace and expanding our parks

• • •

I previously served as a city clerk for a small municipality in St. Charles County. The training that I received from the state and municipal levels have provided me with the necessary foundation to be a successful Councilwoman. I have a full understanding of the state statutes and importance of providing transparency and open communication with the residents that I represent.

Reid Cranmer • Ward 3 Councilmember

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

John J. Haman Jr. • Ward 3 Councilmember [I]

I am running for re-election to continue the strides I have made, since my first term, of safe streets, O’Fallon continually ranked as one of America’s safest cities, and lower taxes that I have helped lower. Real estate taxes in O’Fallon have been lowered by 24 percent since 2006. I also will have a focus on infrastructure. When I was first elected, the city had zero set aside for road improvements. After years of cutting and streamlining, this year alone we have $4 million for road improvements. These top three priorities are key to keep our residents’ home values high. I am not finished.

• • •

My experience with city government gives me a unique insight on how to get things accomplished. My record shows that my decisions do not cater to a few but rather benefit the whole of the city. As some decisions are very difficult, my tireless research allows me to put all the pieces together for the future of the city and not for a short-term gain that dissipates, leaving the residents holding the bag. I truly believe you should not have to work hard for the city, the city should have to work hard for you.

Jeff Kuehn • Ward 4 Councilmember

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Dave Goewert • Ward 4 Councilmember

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Mike Pheney • Ward 5 Councilmember


Donald D. Licklider • Mayor [I]

I am running for mayor because I have a real heart for the city and want to continue to work to keep Weldon Spring a great place in which to live and do business. Some of my top priorities are to upgrade unsafe arterial roads, implement our park master plan, finish the trail system, complete our high tech corridor and expand police presence. I plan to continue to protect property values and support our green space policies.

• • •

I have served as mayor for the past 20 years and I have made a habit to study the issues and vote in every election since I could vote. Before being elected mayor, I frequently attended board meetings and served as a volunteer on various committees in the city. I served as a trustee in past subdivisions where I lived. My background is in engineering and I worked in the F-15 design group. I owned and ran a small business for 35 years. I am retired and that gives me the time required to devote to the office of mayor.

Jeff Bush • Mayor

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

William [Bill] Hillmer • Ward 1 Alderman

Janet Kolb • Ward 2 Alderman

Gerry Baker • Ward 3 Alderman [I]

I would like to continue serving as an alderman in support of the citizens of Weldon Spring by responding to inquiries, needs and comments from residents; supporting the city’s comprehensive plan of a residential-focused community; and work on future city development and financial plans, including expanding the city’s parks and trails.

• • •

My qualifications include being a Weldon Spring alderman from 2010 to the present; serving on the Weldon Spring Planning and Zoning Commission from 2008-2010; serving as a Blackjack councilmember from 1979-1985; and serving on the Blackjack Planning and Zoning Commission from 1977-1979.

Phil Martiszus • Ward 3 Alderman

I am running to improve the transparency, responsiveness and communication of city government with residents. I will uphold and follow the city’s comprehensive plan for low density residential and commercial development to preserve the city’s rural character, natural beauty and family-friendly atmosphere. I want to ensure fiscal conservatism and continue with no city property tax. I want to enhance and grow the parks, trails and greenways, and continue and improve the July 4th Celebration and Senior Day.

• • •

Qualifications not provided.

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