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ELECTION PREVIEW: Get to know the candidates in the April 2 election

By: Kate Uptergrove


In anticipation of the April 2 municipal election, St. Charles County candidates in contested races only were invited to answer the following questions:

1. Why are you running and what are your priorities if elected? 2. 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 asterisk after their name.

COUNTY AMBULANCE DISTRICT

District 2 • Board of Directors

Raymond Bauer*

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Arnie C. [AC] Dienoff

Advocate by restoring the control and power of the ambulance board back to county residents. Watch-dog of all spending with no tax increases. Building of a reasonable Central District campus, control spending by cutting waste with balanced budgets. Add state-of-the-art equipment, vehicles and stations. Negotiate fair contracts with the union. Mandate excellence by restoring accountability, honesty and responsible transparency back to the district.

• • •

I feel the calling and need to serve our County Ambulance District. Affordable medical care and ambulance services are vital to the entire County. I bring diverse, vast knowledge and keen skills that will be an immediate asset and vital team player as a director to the continued success of the Saint Charles County Ambulance District. I am community and civic-minded, talented and college educated in business administration/management. I have worked or been appointed at the municipal, township, county and state levels. I have managed multi-million dollar organizations, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions and making sure citizens are the first priority and focus.

O’FALLON

Ron Williams • Ward 1 Councilmember

I am running for O’Fallon City Council with a major priority being to keep the city of O’Fallon moving forward in a dynamic environment with unprecedented future challenges, smart growth, fiscal responsibility and with a common-sense approach to resolving complex issues. I understand the issues facing local government, from affordable housing, a safe place to live and raise a family to infrastructure, traffic congestion and demands associated with a rapidly increasing population. I will push for improving city services by maximizing technology and accountability and will fight for economic growth.

• • •

I hold a Master of Science degree from the public administration department of SIUE. I teach college classes at UMSL and St. Charles Community College and have taught graduate level courses at Lindenwood University. I have over 30 years experience in professional business experience, including in operations management; B-2-B marketing in the construction industry; as director of marketing and market research for the 11th largest band in the country; and as the marketing director for the National Education Association in Rockville, Maryland. I have been a resident of the city for 24 years and grew up in Florissant.

Jimmy Loveless • Ward 1 Councilmember

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Rick Lucas* • Ward 1 Councilmember

I feel I understand the needs of the city of O’Fallon. I have lived here a long time and have been involved for many years. The top priorities are preserving our infrastructure including streets, public safety and new sources of revenue that are not new taxes.

• • •

Being a long time resident of O’Fallon and serving the community for more than 15 years qualifies me for this position.

Deana Smith  • Ward 1 Councilmember

I am a servant leader. I have the heart to serve my city and its residents. Making a long-term positive impact and helping O’Fallon prosper and continue to be a wonderful place to live, work and raise a family is my overarching goal. I will always make it a priority to listen and be responsive to residents, while representing their best interests. Top priorities are fostering an environment that helps businesses to grow; partnering with our police department keeping our city and neighborhoods safe; and ensuring fiscal responsibility with the funds that have been entrusted to the city to serve its residents.

• • •

I am an experienced business leader with a bachelor’s  degree in accounting and over 20 years in accounting, finance and technology. I have managed budgets in excess of $100 million; and delivered business and technical solutions that optimized processes and enabled the business to make data-driven decisions to support operations and achieve enterprise goals and objectives. I am skilled at bringing groups together on common goals. As the wife of a law enforcement officer, I have an appreciation for what it takes to keep our city safe. My experience and heart to serve will bring a fresh and professional perspective to move O’Fallon in the right direction.

Arnie C. [AC] Dienoff  • Ward 1 Councilmember

To provide much-needed leadership by making the correct decisions, always putting people first by advocating for you! Integrity by restoring honesty, accountability and common-sense responsibility back to the city council/administration and every taxpayer. Balanced budgets,
audits and no tax increase. I will be the “watch-dog” and identify all waste. Public safety, adding police officers with community-based policing and D.W.I. enforcement with “No Tolerance.” Pay raise for patrol officers. Needed economic development and annexation for growth. Capital improvements and a street repair program, a traffic control plan, additional street lights that work, Citizens First Response Bureau and needed intergovernmental relations with neighboring communities.

• • •

I feel the calling to serve the 19,000 citizens of Ward 1. Affordable city services and economic growth are vital to the entire city.
I have been at all city council meetings for the past 10 years. I bring diverse, vast knowledge and keen skills that will be an immediate asset and vital team player as a councilman to the continued success of our O’Fallon. I am community and civic-minded, talented and college educated in business administration/management. I have worked or been appointed at the municipal, township, county and state levels. I have managed multi-million dollar organizations, saving taxpayers hundreds of millions, making sure citizens are the first priority and focus. I am your public advocate and watch-dog!

Tom “Duke” Herweck* • Ward 2 Councilmember

I am running in order to serve the city of O’Fallon as a public servant. My goal is to do my best for the city and the residents, by making the best possible decisions based on the facts presented and researched. All in order to continue to live in a safe city; a city that is fiscally smart and responsible; a city that continues to move infrastructure improvements and enhancements forward; and a city with smart growth and economic development. Not just for today, but more importantly for our future.

• • •

My qualifications for holding public office include currently serving the city of O’Fallon as a Ward 2 councilmember. During my tenure, I have served the O’Fallon as council president and have represented the O’Fallon at DARE graduations, veterans’ ceremonies, community events and at council meetings. In addition, I hold an MBA degree and am a CPA. Both of these are important in order to ensure that the O’Fallon’s financial budgets and future outlook are well maintained, especially as sales tax revenue remains steady now and as projected in the years to come.

Lisa Thompson • Ward 2 Councilmember

I am running for City Council because I want to fully engage and communicate with our community. My top priorities include hearing from and listening to all of our residents and business owners. I also plan on working closely with the O’Fallon Police Department and city officials to keep our neighborhoods safe and vibrant. Lastly, I will work hard to prioritize and spend the city’s budget in a way that is responsible and appropriate. I genuinely want to give back to a community that has given me and my family so much.

• • •

I have been an O’Fallon resident since 2002. I have an MBA degree and 18-plus years of business experience, including managing budgets of $50 million-plus. I have nine-plus years in a leadership role at work and am an active volunteer at the local schools [PTO, room parent, coaching basketball, assistant coach for middle school cross-country]. I regularly volunteer for various charities and organizations throughout the area and am a supporter of local businesses.

Dale Kling* • Ward 3 Councilmember

I am running to address important issues facing my constituents in Ward 3 because they impact their quality of life. My priorities are traffic congestion and improving residential street safety; economic growth and smart community growth; and maintain infrastructure including street, sidewalks, curbs and ADA compliance. My moral pillar is “Service Before Self.” My duty is to serve, defend and secure a bright future for our citizens.

• • •

I have a proven track record of being accountable, responsible, reachable, always available and professional in conduct. I listen to my constituents and advocate for their interests. I am pro-business and especially value the small business entity.

Jeff B. Yelich • Ward 3 Councilmember

I am running for office to be an independent voice for the residents in Ward 3. I will not accept contributions or endorsements from special interest groups. When politicians accept money or endorsements, they stop representing the residents. My priorities are to ensure that the residents tax dollars are spent wisely. Also, an effective solution to the recycling situation needs to be devised. My opponent has failed to address this issue even though it has been ongoing for months. I am committed to protecting our community and the residents’ tax dollars. My only special interest is to represent the residents.

• • •

I have 30 years of experience fighting waste, fraud and abuse in government programs from my work with HUD. I have been involved in our community having served as a volunteer firefighter for 18 years with the O’ Fallon Fire District. I have served as a Firefighter Hero at Twin Chimneys Elementary teaching students about fire safety. I was a youth soccer coach at the YMCA and served on the Public Works Commission and as a councilmember for the city of O’Fallon. This background provides me with the experience and knowledge to be an effective representative for the residents of Ward 3.

1-year unexpired term

Nathan Bibb • Ward 3 Councilmember

Economic development and public and traffic safety. Smart development is critical to maintaining a balanced tax base, we can attract businesses by having efficient processes. O’Fallon’s traffic management policy is nearly 11 years old and needs updating. Facebook @BibbforCouncil to learn more.

• • •

I have a background in construction management and being an active business owner. I have the practical experience in the private sector necessary to be successful in the public sector.

Samantha Smith • Ward 3 Councilmember

I want to ensure that O’Fallon stays one of the safest communities with continued economic and residential growth. My focus is on public safety, infrastructure and economic development. O’Fallon is one of the fastest growing cities and with that success requires updating and maintaining our infrastructure and acquiring businesses that meet the demands of a growing community.

• • •

I have been a licensed attorney for over 15 years with public service experience. I have worked in federal, state and municipal government and have been an election judge in O’Fallon. I bring my enthusiasm, experience, integrity and perspective to represent the voters.

Carolyn Yelich • Ward 3 Councilmember

I am concerned about the recent changes to O’Fallon’s recycling program. My highest priority is to ensure that all viable options have been explored regarding our recycling program and to work towards continuing this program in a manner more convenient to our residents. I will make sure our police department is fully funded to ensure they have the tools, training and equipment necessary to continue to make sure our city remains one of the safest in the country. I pledge to be a voice for the citizens and not special interest groups. I am not accepting any campaign contributions.

• • •

I have been an O’Fallon resident for over 20 years and am also employed in our community as a paraprofessional with the Fort Zumwalt School District at Twin Chimneys Elementary. Prior to working with the school district, I was a program director at the O’Fallon Family YMCA. I have also served our community as a member of the O’Fallon Parks Board and am a graduate of Leadership O’Fallon.

Jim Ottomeyer • Ward 4 Councilmember

To put it simply…..I love this city! I own a business and live in O’Fallon. So I have a vested interest in keeping O’Fallon relevant, prosperous and a great place to live, work and play. I have a wonderful, supportive wife of over 25 years and raised four awesome children. I am a firm believer that we all have a responsibility to the community we live in. I have a long history of serving that belief. If elected, I pledge to do everything I can to keep our community safe, fun and a community others will look to for inspiration.

• • •

I have had a long history of community service. I have lived and owned a business in O’Fallon for over 25 years. I currently hold an elected position as a director of the St. Charles County Ambulance District. I have served as president of the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce for over two terms and was also elected as president of the St. Charles County League of Chambers for over two terms. In the last 25 years, I have sat on over 15 civic, profit and non-profit boards. I love this city, and I will serve you well!

Greg Fisher • Ward 4 Councilmember

There is more that can be done to make O’Fallon a fantastic place to live, work, and raise a family or retire. This will require fresh prospective and vision which new leadership can provide. My top priorities when elected are to slow down vehicles in our neighborhoods; attract new businesses; find a solution to the recycling crisis; solve the problem of derelict buildings in Ward 4 that are causing safety issues; and tend to need of first responders. The businesses that are landing in neighboring cities need to know what O’Fallon has to offer. O’Fallon is open for business!

• • •

I have a unique perspective of government from living in a number of cities in St. Charles County. I have seen what works in neighboring cities and what needs improvement. Every day throughout my career I have visited and met with business owners. I have learned what these businesses need from their elected officials and what is burdensome.

Debbie Cook* • Ward 5 Councilmember

My top priorities in running for O’Fallon City Council are to continue to keep O’Fallon the Safest Places to Live and to make sure our police officers have the means to accomplish this. I also want to continue to see new business come to O’Fallon to help make a good tax base to support our parks, programs, infrastructure, and other projects in O’Fallon. I also want to continue revitalizing our Downtown/Main Street area with our new Downtown Overlay District zoning. But mostly, I want to continue to listen to the residents and be their voices.

• • •

As the incumbent, I have held the position of O’Fallon City Council Ward 5 for the past five years and sat on the Parks Advisory Committee for three years prior to that.

Mike Swaringim • Ward 5 Councilmember

I am running for the O’Fallon City Council to give the Ward 5 residents a strong voice at city hall. For too long, our residents have heard the message that the population isn’t great enough on the northside to receive certain benefits such as street lights or a grocery store. My priorities are to open up communication with the residents and keep them informed; create an environment to entice viable, job-creating, tax-paying businesses to town to increase the tax base; and find a way to bring the long-awaited benefits to the residents of north O’Fallon.

• • •

I have served on the Fort Zumwalt Board of Education for 18 out of the last 20 years. Most of those years have been as vice-president or president.

Margie Newsom • Ward 5 Councilmember

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

ST. PETERS

Joyce A. Townsend • Ward 1 Alderman

I am fiscally conservative and want to protect our tax dollars by using them to the greatest good. I want to lower our property tax rate and issue no new taxes. I want to assist staff and our mayor in filling empty storefronts and increasing available jobs. I want to maintain the high living standard that St. Peters residents have come to expect by ensuring that our police-to-resident ratio is strong and our roads are safe. I want to keep families first and quality of life high in St. Peters by maintaining our parks, arts programs and trail systems.

• • •

I’ve lived in Ward 1 for 33 years. We’ve raised our family here, and now I have the time to serve you. I know what is required, because I’ve done this job before. I’ve owned three successful small businesses, and have a bachelor’s degree in business administration. I have no special interest affiliations. I want to use my passion for listening and finding solutions to implement the best choice for the residents in Ward 1. I enjoy meeting and talking with people, and will promptly return calls and emails.

Terry Hawkins  • Ward 1 Alderman

As a past two-term alderman and board president, it is my wish to start by taking profits from the Lakeside 370 project and creating more benefits for our residents for their investments of millions of dollars, such as free trash services. I believe there is more that can be dome to continue to keep St. Peters on the move! I am asking for your support so I can help St. Peters reach its full potential as a center for entrepreneurship, high quality development and a clean, safe community for people of all ages.

• • •

I am a current member of the St. Peters Parks and Recreation Advisory Board. I have served two terms as a Ward 1 alderman and one year as the aldermanic board president. I have been an area resident for over 50 years and a business owner. I attended Truman State University and Lindenwood University. I have been a high school football coach. I am a member of All Saints Catholic Church. I have been married for 40 years and have four children and six grandchildren.

Judy Bateman* • Ward 2 Alderman

Terri Violet* • Ward 3 Alderman

1-year unexpired term

Melissa Renee Reimer • Ward 3 Alderman

Nicholas [Nick] Trupiano • Ward 4 Alderman

St. Peters offers great services and amenities to its residents. I look forward to being a part of the team that works hard to see that this continues. Growth in the city needs to ensure that the community remains one of the best places to work, play and raise a family. Keeping the people updated on current issues and getting their opinions are crucial. My top priorities include the development of Premier 370 to provide more jobs, increasing residential recycling; and always responding to the concerns and questions from the residents. Also, I’ll continue to support programs for our seniors and veterans.

• • •

I’m a longtime resident after moving here in 1983. I have the required background and experience for this position. I was nominated by Mayor Pagano and unanimously approved by the Board of Aldermen to serve on the St. Peters Planning & Zoning Commission and Board of Adjustments. Both groups deal with land use, developments and a wide variety of zoning issues. I regularly attend various city meetings so I’m very familiar with current issues and the annual budget. Most importantly, I’ve been able to talk to the residents over the past several months in order to listen to their concerns and get to know them better.

David Nelson • Ward 4 Alderman

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Donald L. “Don” Kohl • Municipal Judge

COTTLEVILLE

John Stiles* • Ward 1 Alderman

Robert “Bob” Ronkoski* • Ward 2 Alderman

DARDENNE PRAIRIE

Kevin Klingerman* • Ward 1 Alderman

Blake Nay* • Ward 2 Alderman

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Mike Costlow • Ward 2 Alderman

Dardenne Prairie is growing. Aging infrastructure, development of vacant properties, and an influx of new residents provide opportunities and challenges that have to be navigated properly to protect our future. The residents of Ward 2 need a representative that will listen to their concerns and work diligently to find a solution. If elected, my top priorities are keep property taxes low by identifying alternate sources of funding for infrastructure projects instead of taking more from our residents; and protect residential areas from the encroachment of commercial development through enforcement of responsible development plans.

• • •

I live in Dardenne Prairie with my wife and two children. I serve as president of the Canvas Cove Homeowners Association and have provided leadership and counsel through a variety of difficult situations, including the introduction of a widely contested multi-million-dollar commercial development in the neighborhood. Through good-faith negotiation and collaboration, a compromise was forged that satisfied both the neighborhood and developer. I holds a master’s degree in business administration and other industry-recognized certifications in management and process improvement.

John Gotway* • Ward 3 Alderman

WELDON SPRING

Donald D. Licklider* • Mayor

Bruce J. Robb • Ward 1 Alderman

Running for this position is a way for me to give my time and talents back to my community. This position will allow me to help Weldon Spring continue to grow and develop into a great place to live and raise a family. My priorities are to continue to see Weldon Spring grow while maintaining our great rural environment, the city park grow and develop for the benefit of all of Weldon Spring’s residents and plan to develop a five year plan to optimize our planning and budgeting.

• • •

I have a Masters of Science degree in pharmacology from the University of Iowa and spent 30 years working in the pharmaceutical industry. I was an alderman in Weldon Spring for eight years and was president of the Board of Alderman for five of those years. I have been a resident of Weldon Spring for 27 years and have spent two years on the Home Owners Board at Whitmoor Country Club. I also spent five years on the finance committee at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Cottleville.

William “Bill” Hillmer* • Ward 1 Alderman

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Janet Kolb* • Ward 2 Alderman

Gerry Baker* • Ward 3 Alderman

FORT ZUMWALT SCHOOL DISTRICT

Mike Swaringim*

I have served on the Fort Zumwalt Board of Education for 18 out of the last 20 years. Most of those years have been as vice-president or president.

Arnie C. [AC] Dienoff

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, integrity, full transparency and common-sense decision making. I will increase test scores, reduce classroom student/teacher ratio, additional funding for “Character” and “S.T.E.M.”-Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, mandate highly qualified teachers, increase teacher professional development, improve school safety [Missouri Safe Schools Act] and security, develop a stern policy for disruptive students, additional technology and cutting-edge resources, cut all waste and mandate a $280 million annual balance 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 success of community and economic development. I want to lead and help make important decisions that face us. I desire to serve the public and improve services and programs that are offered. The strength of the community starts with the education of its treasure, our children. I am full of honesty, passion and vision, wanting to be a team player on the board. My talents, tenacity and assets are to serve residents. Students must be our first priority and focus!

Gary Wester

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Garvis M. Pollard Jr.

I am running for school board to utilize my lifetime of previous experiences and working knowledge in the fields of education, IT-directed business improvement, curriculum development and workforce training to help oversee a budget of $225 million in the sixth largest school district in Missouri. My priorities are to oversee all policies, especially classroom and personal discipline; provide direct lobbying in the state Capitol for public school financing and other educational issues; apply the differences in federal, state and district mandated requirements; assist in implementing programs among the business and labot communities and the district; and ask questions of the administration.

• • •

I am a former teacher of sciences and history at Fort Zumwalt Hope High [2005-2012]. I was an Army captain and faculty instructor, team leader and curriculum writer at the Army Intelligence School. I was a health physicist, instructor and traveling science teacher for AZ Atomic Energy Commission. I am a lifetime retired member of the Missouri NEA and was recommended for the board of education by the Fort Zumwalt Education Association. I am a substitute teacher in district middle schools and all five high schools [2012-2019] and am volunteer teacher at Junior Achievement of St. Louis.

Scott Alan Grasser*

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

Thomas Emmons

Candidate did not reply by deadline.

FRANCIS HOWELL SCHOOL DISTRICT

Michelle Walker*

I am Francis Howell, through and through! I am an alumni, parent and longtime district volunteer. I am running to continue the progress that our school district is making towards fiscal responsibility and quality education. I am excited to continue working on the implementation of our new strategic plan and bringing our educational experiences into the 21st century. Hands-on and real-world learning are both critical to keep our students at the top.

• • •

I am currently serving on the Francis Howell Board of Education and have gained immense school board experience over the past three years. I am certified by the Missouri School Board Association and am currently working toward an advanced board member certification. In May 2019, I will graduate with my master’s degree in real estate. As the broker/owner of STL Buy & Sell, REALTORS® and a past president of the St. Charles County Association of REALTORS®, I understand the crucial role that school districts play in determining property values.

Sandra [Sandy] L. Ferguson

The education of our children is the only way to secure a bright future. Our children need the best education possible. We can provide this by using our tax dollars wisely. I have the experience, integrity and accountability to get the job done. I will work diligently to get the information on the pros and cons on the issues. This is how I can help make the best decision for our students, teachers, staff and the taxpayers in our district. I ask for you to vote for me.

• • •

I have been honored to represent the Francis Howell School Board from 1995-2001 and 2015-2018. This experience has taught me that I can make a difference even though it is an extremely challenging, uplifting, at time funny and fun – sometimes not, exhausting and frustrating experience. I would not trade this experience for anything. I am passionate about education, I care about the future of our country, and I care about our children.

Mike Hoehn*

I’m running to make sure our kids get a great education. The top priorities for the district are keeping our focus on the continually changing needs of our students; maintaining a balanced budget; and implementing the new strategic plan that will provide a roadmap so that the district will continue to provide great educational opportunities for our students. We must continue to effectively manage the resources provided by the community. We need to monitor our aging infrastructure and may need to revitalize some of our buildings so that they will meet the educational needs of our students.

• • •

I have the experience needed with nine years of service on the board. I will continue to balance the many needs of the district and always put students first. I have served on many district committees including facilities, communication, the district design team and the safety task force. I have three children that have graduated from Francis Howell and was an active parent volunteer while they were in school. I have a grandchild is in the district and am committed to seeing that every child that attends Francis Howell will receive a great education.

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