Five people have registered as candidates in two Holts Summit aldermen races that will be decided during the April 2 municipal election. Three candidates will seek a Ward 1 seat; two are seeking a Ward 2 seat.
Those registered for the Ward 1 are: incumbent Larry Fedorchalk, Michael Harvey and Archie McDaniel. Candidates for Ward 2 are: Christopher Redel and Lisa Buhr. The terms for each position are two years, and the deadline to register as a candidate was Tuesday.
The ballot will be more crowded for Holts Summit residents than in recent years. The last competitive aldermen race was in 2015. In the 2018 municipal election, incumbents ran for two aldermen seats and the mayor’s position without competition, with 169 votes cast out of 2,733 registered voters, according to the election report by the Callaway County clerk’s office.
Larry Fedorchalk, who as served as a Ward 1 alderman since 2017, said he wants to continue in the position so he can help finish work the city started during and before his first term.
“I’ve actually enjoyed my term,” Fedorchalk said. “There are issues that I think the city is dealing with at the moment that I’d like to hang around for and make sure that they’re handled in a productive manner for the city, and there’s also a couple of other projects I brought to the board that I’d like to see through.”
He pointed to a multi-million dollar sewer project planned to connect all of Holts Summit’s sewer system to send the city’s wastewater to Jefferson City. The project has been an ongoing effort for more than 10 years, with the plan likely coming to fruition soon.
He decided to run for a first term after realizing the coffee shop he and his wife ran in Holts Summit would have to close soon, Fedorchalk added, while “looking for a way to still maybe be able to make this community (better) and help in any way that I could.”
Michael Harvey said he wants to bring his experience in public service to the position, serving as a Jefferson City Council member for eight years before moving to Holts Summit and working on the Cole County Republican Central Committee for seven years, including time as the treasurer and one year as the chair.
“I thought, with the experience I have, I might be a good fit,” Harvey said. “Not really thinking (the aldermen are) not doing a good job, I just think I’ve got enough information or suggestions that I might be of value.”
Harvey said he wants to encourage more “streamlining and transparency” with Holts Summit’s leadership, including plans to ask the Board of Aldermen to meet twice per month instead of once. The change would allow the city to take an ordinance from introduction to final passing much quicker instead of a two- to three-month process, he added.
Another goal of Harvey’s would be to encourage aldermen to be more involved, serving as liaisons between committees, city hall and constituents. He said this would give residents more say in the city.
Archie McDaniel said he wants to see Holts Summit focus more on itself, being distraught with the decisions to annex Lake MyKee and contract with New Bloomfield for the use of Holts Summit’s police department.
“In the future, I would just like to see any effort or resources that the city government takes is solely for the citizens of Holts Summit,” McDaniel said.
It is not that he does not understand New Bloomfield’s struggles, McDaniel added, but it is the role of Callaway County, not Holts Summit, to provide the town with a law enforcement presence. That agreement, as well as the work involving Lake MyKee, make Holts Summit seem “more like a company than a city,” he said.
McDaniel said it was “coffee shop talk” that encouraged him to run, often serving as the peacekeeper in those conversations. He’s lived in the Holts Summit area around 50 years, having worked as a general contractor.
Christopher Redel said he decided to run when no one seemed to step up to fill the vacancy left on the Board of Aldermen after Charles Chamberlin resigned last month. Redel said he hoped to “represent the people and do something good.”
He said he has no specific agenda items, but believes Holts Summit has made good decisions recently and wants to continue that work. Redel intends to focus on best representing residents, he added, listening to “what they want, what they’re telling us they want.”
“I think (the aldermen have) been doing a good job,” he added. “I think the acquisition of a contract with New Bloomfield, continuing that, was a good move. Things of that nature … those types of things are the things that we need to continue to look for.”
Redel said he has not served in city government before, but has experience working in committees at several jobs during his career in IT.
Lisa Buhr, who lost a race for Missouri House District 49 representative in November, said she decided to run as an alderwoman in preparation for a followup state representative campaign.
“I decided to run because I think that it’ll give me that much more insight and perspective and experience for when I run again in 2020,” Buhr said. “(Gain) a little more experience with municipal budgeting and how that process works, and it’ll all be good experience to carry over into the Legislature.”
She said she has no particular goals in mind, but plans to develop an insight into what Holts Summit needs through the position. Her experience as a legislative assistant at the Missouri Capitol should translate well to the municipal level, she added, being familiar with state procedures and functions.
Buhr has lived in Holts Summit for 10 years, she said, but has been close to the city throughout her life because her grandmother lived in the area and she attends the Union Hill Baptist Church.