Camden County Gadfly’s Picks for April 2023

There is a Municipal Election approaching on April 4, 2023 and I realize it can be hard to keep abreast of all of the different local elections so I’m often asked who I would vote for and why. Prior to each election, I try to post a quick list of the Gadfly’s Picks for readers who might be unfamiliar with a particular election and prefer not to vote by random selection.

Depending on how you feel about my opinions, this might serve as a guide for who you won’t vote for as much as who you would vote for. I could care less as long as you do the most important thing and cast your vote.

The first election is for Mayor of Lake Ozark. Dennis Newberry is the clear choice here. While I don’t always align with all of his positions, Newberry has brought an air of professionalism to the office. He has a vision for the future of Lake Ozark and represents the town well. Does anyone want to go back to the way things were before he took office? I hope not.

Dennis Newberry for Mayor of Lake Ozark.

The second election is for the Village of Four Seasons Board of Trustees. I recommend Tony Baldridge and David J. Perdue.

Sadly, the Village of Four Seasons has lately acquired a reputation as one of the most “interesting” public meetings that writers can attend. Bring your popcorn.

A minority on the Board have attempted to withhold funding from the Horseshoe Bend Special Road District, damaged relationships with Camden County, and disrupted communication and trust between the Trustees. Baldridge and Perdue found out about these efforts and stopped them.

You can read about some of that here. You don’t even have to take my word for it. Just ask anybody who serves on the board for the road district. They’ll tell you how poorly they’ve been treated.

Baldridge and Perdue have worked hard to repair the Village’s relationship with both the road district and Camden County. They have fought for transparency and are advocates for conducting business out in the open.

Tony Baldridge and David J. Perdue for Village of Four Seasons Trustees.

Now we come to the School Boards. Over the past few years, these races have transformed from sleepy milk runs to tense, high pressure contests.

Let me say this much. All of the people running for School Board are nice people. None of them are evil. Sitting on a School Board is a huge time commitment and I know I wouldn’t want to do it. I’ve got two children in the SOTO school district myself and I appreciate the excellent job the teachers do.

All of the candidates support the kids and the teachers, and want what they think is best for the students. Nobody has ever run for School Board with the slogan “I’m Putting The Kids Last!” or “Let’s Make Osage Worse!”

From my perspective, the School Board (or Board of Education) election is the opportunity for the voters (taxpayers) to elect a body that can represent their interests in the operation of the school district. The School Board is the only check and balance for an Administration that wields otherwise unfettered executive power. It is important that School Board members ask questions, challenge the Administration, and hold them accountable.

The School Board represents us. It is not part of the Administration, and it is not intended that the School Board should march in lock-step with the Superintendent.

Stacy Neal was elected to the SOTO Board of Education last year and I can tell you from experience that a meeting with Stacy present is probably about thirty minutes longer than a meeting she can’t attend. She comes prepared and she asks a lot of questions.

So when I’m evaluating candidates, I want them to have the courage to ask tough questions, come to meetings prepared, and understand that their role is to be the advocates for parents, alumni, property tax payers, and the students.

So, my picks for SOTO Board of Education are Kelly Frisella, Joyce Bush, and Todd Miller.

My picks for Camdenton R-III School District Board of Education are Troy Risner, Michelle Creed, and Callie Henze.

And that is that.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: