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Voters in the City of Houston go to the polls next Tuesday to decide two races for the Houston City Council and mayor.
Here are the answers to questionnaires by the candidates, who are listed in alphabetic order.
GLENN MCKINNEY – MAYOR CANDIDATE
Tell us about your background — For over 60 years, I served the public in my careers and volunteer opportunities. Because of the unique nature of my job, including working as a Forest Patrol Officer and serving in the military, I have awards for serving the public, as well as being “A Soldier’s Sergeant,” which I had been awarded for advocating and taking care of the soldiers under my authority.
I volunteered for my local fire departments, and created Standard Operating Procedures for FEMA, Search and Rescue, Flood Response and Rescue, as well as other natural and man-made disasters. Much of my career involved supervising and aiding search and rescue efforts, fighting forest fires, flood evacuations and rescues, and other emergency needs such as avalanche rescue/relief efforts.
My work established rapport with high ranking officials, as well as local government officials. I developed an understanding of how positive, impactful municipalities function, and how local protocols impact communities.
After retiring from the military and law enforcement, I still serve my community in numerous aspects, including a dedicated involvement with my local American Legion chapter and church.
My family roots are in Texas County; my grandfather Austin, and my father, Glen,
raised me to love this community. Every summer during my childhood, I stayed with my
grandparents. I returned as often as I could, and then moved to Houston in 2016. I
care deeply about this town. My family history here is something I am incredibly proud of.
What prompted you to seek a term as mayor of Houston? My observations and experience with the functions of a healthy and positive municipal government contrast greatly with the effectiveness and stalled capability of the current city government.
One of my strengths is my training and ability to bring about conflict resolution in a positive way. In the past, I have been called upon to aid in bringing about mutual agreements in both personal and professional settings.
Discord has been severely evident regarding management of city resources. I recognize the people who truly care about this city as much as I do, and can help create a mission statement, which is the guideline for the city to operate under, as an implemented standard procedure. This will be the basis for maintaining a caring, cooperative environment for the people who serve our city.
What steps will you take to insure residents that the year-long dysfunction of city government will be corrected? I recognize and respect the positions of city government, and can help create a team which works well together. This will go a long way in communicating, and bring an end to the deterioration of the city’s function of the past. A cohesive environment is not impossible to attain.
I can work independently in a responsible, diplomatic manner. I care for the people I want to represent, and am willing to be accountable in all aspects of my position.
There have been some volatile meetings, which have, frankly, gotten out of hand. My ability to maintain self control and maintain a level of grace will aid greatly in conflict resolution. If elected, I will be a respected, reliable leader.
What initiatives to improve the community are on your road map during a term as mayor? My primary initiative is to inspire good communication and respect among the city representatives, as well as employees. Recognizing work well done, listening to concerns, advocating for those who need support, and networking various types of support for our community government, non-profits, and private enterprises are key to developing a solid community. Additionally, effective coordination of all current and available resources into a standard protocol, which can be easily followed, will result in less conflict and more action on difficult concerns.
What is required to improve the economic climate in the town? We need to balance growth and development while maintaining our distinctive rural character. Also, it’s important to find ways to provide more work opportunities, as well as supporting local businesses in ways which increase revenue. We need to continue to create long-term plans that engage locals and civic groups in activities, sports events and celebrations. Building civic pride will have a positive economical impact for years to come.
What is the most critical need in the community? Focusing on a solid foundation for the city starts with housing.
VIKI CASTLEMAN NARANCICH – MAYOR CANDIDATE
Tell us about your background — My name is Victoria (Viki) Castleman Narancich and I am a Houston High School 2007 graduate. I have spent most of my life in Houston except when I went to play Volleyball in College at Missouri State-West Plains receiving my Associates. I met my husband Daniel Narancich while there and married him in 2013 and now have 4 fun and lively boys, 2 which currently attend the Houston School system. I currently manage Little House Gifts, a family business that has been open for 10 years.
I have served on many different boards in the City of Houston, including the City Council, Parks and Rec Board, Houston’s Visionary Committee, Community Foundations of the Ozarks, and The TCTC Advisory Board. I enjoy staying involved and volunteering and seeing how many people also want to keep pushing Houston forward.
What prompted you to seek a term as mayor of Houston?
Seeing Houston not become stagnant and continue on with the projects that were slated in Houston’s past vision projects to be completed was a big factor in running for Mayor. Seeing communication and transparency between the city government and the citizens, making sure the 1 cent sales tax is used properly and staying with their designated departments, moving ahead with the ball fields and rec center, making sure our inflow and infiltration project with our sewer plant is finished, looking at completing Fiber, being fiscally responsible for taxpayers money, andfocusing on economic growth has been a driving force in choosing to run.
What steps will you take to insure residents that the year-long dysfunction of city government will be corrected?
Communication, cooperation and transparency is going to be foremost.
This is not going to be just a city council and mayor correction. It will involve everyone in city government from the mayor, council, city administrator and city employees; it also involves the people of the City of Houston and different organizations in town to come together and work together to communicate openly.
What initiatives to improve the community are on your road map during a term as mayor?
We have so many great organizations in the city that I believe if we all come together and work together to push events, fundraisers, and community projects forward it would help. We tend to see overlapping events and fundraisers and that by opening up communication to all the organizations hopefully we can make sure we aren’t competing within ourselves. Growing up here there were things happening quite a bit downtown or family events locally. I think by creating the joy of community and togetherness again in supporting Houston will help showcase the best of Houston.
What is required to improve the economic climate of the town?
When on the council we had an Economic Developer which spearheaded our direction on our economic growth with direction from the council. They helped in both the city aspect and the I.D.A. I have listened to the fact that a town our size does not need an economic developer but without someone having full focus on growing both small business, industry, housing development, grants, and liaison between the school’s tech center and available and future community jobs we are leaving opportunities uncapitalized.
What is the most critical need in the community?
As a member of this community I believe the biggest critical need of the city is communication. With communication comes dialogue between residents, businesses, government, school, and prospective industry. By opening a clear communication line we enable the city to see what Houston needs to promote industry, to help with development, to give a better environment to live and thrive in, and to see what infrastructure needs to be improved and maintained.
WILLY WALKER – MAYOR CANDIDATE
Tell us about your background — Master’s degree in Criminal Justice/Sociology, prior police officer certification (graduating from Missouri Sheriff’s Training Academy. I have served two terms as Houston’s mayor. I have three children and three grandchildren. I have been married to my wife, Carla, for 23 years.
What prompted you to seek another term as mayor of Houston? I know that there are very few people who will stand up to the corruption that our current council has implemented. It seems like an uphill battle at every meeting, but I am by the book- and the 4-2 system that the majority of our council are practicing is wrong, and it is unfair to the city workers and the residents of Houston.
What steps will you take to insure residents that the year-long dysfunction of city government will be corrected? I think you said it best in the wording of your question. This is a “year-long dysfunction” because of a newly elected alderman. I will continue to fight for our town and city employees. What some of the members of the council have done, and continue to do, should not be allowed. I will continue to fight for them until the corruption stops.
What initiatives to improve the community are on your road map during a term as mayor?
I think our town would benefit greatly from a recreation center, specifically for ball fields. I think this would help generate revenue and help our town tremendously. I have already been working on this plan for sometime. I am optimistic that things will start falling into place soon.
What is required to improve the economic climate of the town? More housing is crucial, a recreation center would be significant to economic development.
What is most critical need in the community? Our community needs to be able to trust their city government and know that everyone is working for the good of our town. Right now, we have a couple members of the council who are more concerned with coercing other council members how they need to vote. The system that is in place right now is corrupt. Members of the council who are not in office to help our town need to step down. It is the only way to restore what they have destroyed.
SAM KELLEY – WARD I CANDIDATE
Tell us about yourself: My wife Tracy and I have been married 30+ years. We have four grown children and three granddaughters. We have lived in the City for 6+ years. Our four children and I are alumni of Houston Schools. I was born and raised on a dairy farm in the Bendavis Community. I started helping on our family farm when I was 10 years old. I worked, managed, then took ownership of our family farm. We sold the dairy in 2016 so we would be able to have more time to enjoy our family and travel to see our children. I still own and operate a cattle farm in Bendavis.
A jury is slated to hear a City of Houston case in August that alleges that the mayor illegally took health insurance without paying for it. Do you agree that the lawsuit should have been filed? I expressed to the council that I did not agree with the lawsuit against the mayor on his having the city health insurance. There were ample opportunities for the council to have looked into this had it been brought to all the Council when it was discovered. This lawsuit will end up costing the city more money than was paid out on the mayor’s health insurance.
Mayor Willy Walker has repeatedly charged that a majority of the Houston City Council is “corrupt,” and he wants to impeach a council member and fire the city attorney and has also said the majority of the council conducted illegal meetings. Explain what you think? I do believe there is corruption among a majority of the council including the city attorney. I am in agreement with all the charges that were brought to the council against the council member the mayor is wanting to impeach. I also believe there is another council member that has impeachable offenses as well. I do not believe the city should have an attorney as a salary position. He is extremely overpaid for the services he provides. This position should be bid out for the hourly rate of service. This would save the City 10 to 20 thousand dollars a year. I also believe that if our current city attorney was doing the job he was hired to do a lot of the corruption and misdoings among the council would not be happening at this time.
On the question of the council conducting illegal meetings. First of all an “illegal meeting” according to pg. 6 of The Missouri Sunshine Handbook, which each member of council had received states under Meetings of Public Government Bodies — Where a quorum is present (which is four council members ) and public business is discussed are subject to the Sunshine Law. This includes telephone conferences, internet chat sessions, as well as meetings or a series of meetings each involving fewer than a quorum of the members, but collectively involving a quorum of the public body where the body’s members deliberately attempt to discuss public business while evading the Sunshine Law. That being said, I do believe this is happening and the perception of this is being viewed by many within the city.
What are the most critical needs of the community? There are several critical needs for our city. Housing is by far one of our greatest needs. We also need to update Ordinance Codes and enforce them. We need to bring in more industry large and small to create more jobs. We need to maintain the infrastructure we have and improve it where needed.
What steps should be taken to spark growth in the town? Do you favor the hiring of an economic developer? The city needs to explore the different types of grants and federal funding that are available to help our city grow. Through agencies such as State Economic Development, U.S.D.A. Rural Development, ARPA funding along with our local groups — IDA, Chamber of Commerce, our City Administrator and other local leaders. I do not believe hiring an Economic Developer is necessary. We have a current City Administrator that has an abundance of knowledge and experience in this area. There again we would be spending taxpayers’ money for a position that is not necessary.
Anything else? As a Council Member for the past two years, I have tried to do what I believe is right and in the best interest for the city employees, the citizens and the city itself. I would like to see our city grow and prosper.
FRED STOTTLEMYRE – WARD I CANDIDATE
Tell us about yourself: My name is Fred Stottlemyre. I was born and raised In Houston. My parents were Hooch and Faye Stottlemyre. I was 28 years old when my job with Walmart took me outside of the state. I returned to the Houston store two years ago to finish my career and be close to my son, Brett, and my granddaughter, Aliyah.
A jury is slated to hear a City of Houston case in August that alleges that the mayor illegally took health insurance without paying for it. Do you agree that the lawsuit should have been filed? City of Houston resolution #93 states that authorized elected officials, retired employees and permanent part-time employees of the City of Houston do not qualify for health insurance benefits unless paid for by the individual. My understanding is that the attempts made by the city council to request that the mayor reimburse the taxpayers’ money to the city failed. Under the circumstances, I believe the city council had no choice but to file the lawsuit in order to recuperate the taxpayers’ money.
Mayor Willy Walker has repeatedly charged that a majority of the Houston City Council is “corrupt,” and he wants to impeach a council member and fire the city attorney and has also said the majority of the council conducted illegal meetings. Explain what you think? I have observed these council meetings either in person or virtually for several months and I have not witnessed what I would characterize as a corrupt council. I know a lot of the votes have been 4-2 on council — not favorable of the mayor’s agenda but, nothing that warrants corruption, to the best of my knowledge.
On the issue of illegal council meetings, the question has been asked of the mayor “who, what, when and where?” but, to my knowledge, it has not been revealed by the mayor where these meetings are being held.
As for the city attorney, I have not heard of any allegations that would warrant termination.
What are the most critical needs of the community? Some of the most critical needs of our community would include the following: affordable family housing; workforce retention; expansion of manufacturing; high-wage jobs for career ready high-school graduates who are wanting to stay in the community and affordable child care. The addition of an Economic Developer, as mentioned below, could alleviate a portion of these needs, including expansion of manufacturing and development of affordable family housing.
The development of a Career and Technical Center as an extension of the Houston R-1 School District would provide opportunities for workforce retention, high-wage jobs for career-ready high school graduates and offer affordable child care services through programs such as Family and Consumer Science Child Development courses, Welding programs, Construction and Building Trades programs, Auto Mechanic/Auto Body programs, Agriculture, Health Science and Occupations and Business and Technology programs.
What steps should be taken to spark growth in the town? Do you favor the hiring of an economic developer? I am definitely in favor of hiring an Economic Developer. It is an important position that must work in harmony with city council, the mayor, the city administrator, the school and the Chamber of Commerce to bring jobs to the community. Housing is also a big issue in moving the city forward. It is a key element in the expansion of Durham to create more manufacturing jobs and in bringing new industry into the community.
Anything else? As most people know, I am a big supporter of Houston Schools and the students. I would really like to see an addition of a civic center or facility that could be used by the city and school to host functions for adults and students.
I would also like to take the opportunity to recognize our exceptional police and fire departments and first responders for the outstanding job they do. We are very fortunate to have these people working and living in our community.In closing, I would just like to encourage everyone to make sure your voice is heard by getting out and voting on election day on April 4!
ANGIE GETTYS – WARD III CANDIDATE
Tell us about yourself — As a lifelong resident of Houston, Mo., I have always been deeply invested in the success and well-being of our community. My family has a long history of service to this area, with my father having served as the U.S. Forest Ranger for Houston, and my husband’s family having been in the Houston area for over 150 years. I am proud to call this place my home, and I am committed to doing everything in my power to help it thrive.
My experience in public service at the State of Missouri Family Support Division has given me a unique perspective on the challenges facing our community. Early in our careers, both my husband and I worked for the City of Houston, and we have always had a vested interest in its success. I have also been involved in a number of community organizations, including Sorosis, the Houston School Alumni Association, and the Houston Education Foundation. Through my work with the Opportunity Sheltered Workshop board, I have also gained valuable experience in working with individuals and organizations to improve their lives and achieve their goals. In addition, I have served on the City Planning and Zoning Committee for 12 years, and have spent the last 2 years working to set our city back on the right path as a City Councilwoman.
If elected to the City Council of Houston, I will bring this experience and dedication to bear on the issues facing our community. I am committed to improving our community, promoting economic development, and ensuring that our city remains a safe and welcoming place to live and work. I believe that by working together, we can achieve great things for our community, and I am excited to be a part of that effort.
But I cannot do it alone. I need your help to make this vision a reality. Whether you are a lifelong resident of Houston or a newcomer to our community, I urge you to get involved in this election. Your voice and your vote are critical to the success of our community, and I am counting on you to help me make a difference.
So, I ask you today, to join me in this effort to build a better future for Houston, Mo. Together, we can achieve great things for our community and create a brighter tomorrow for all who call this place home. Please vote for me on Tuesday, April 4, and let’s work together to make Houston the best it can be.
A jury is slated to hear a City of Houston case in August that alleges that the mayor illegally took health insurance without paying for it. Do you agree that the lawsuit should have been filed? I made the decision to vote to have the City of Houston’s Mayor Willy Walker pay back his health insurance premiums. I would vote the same way, regardless of who held the office.
I expressed concerns when the city council started the FY2022 budget process, questioning why the insurance expenses were no longer shown on the city budget as separate items broken downs. After numerous requests to our City Administrator and City Clerk, I finally received verification of the individuals whom the city pays their health insurance. The current mayor was listed on the Anthem Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance statement. This report was immediately put on the next City Council agenda for discussion.
City of Houston Resolution #93 dated Jan. 20, 1997: “AUTHORIZED ELECTED OFFICIALS, RETIRED EMPLOYEES AND PERMANENT PART-TIME EMPLOYEES OF THE CITY OF HOUSTON TO PARTICIPATE IN THE CITY’S GROUP HEALTH/LIFE INSURANCE PLAN AND SUCH PARTICIPANTS IN SAID GROUP PLAN SHALL REIMBURSE THE CITY 100% FOR THE PREMIUMS.”
The city ordinance clearly states that Mayor Willy Walker could be on the City’s health insurance plan, but he would have to reimburse the City of Houston for 100% of his premiums. Prior to this date, they could not participate at all in the City’s health insurance plan and receive coverage.
Numerous attempts were made by the past council, current council and a municipal law attorney to work out an agreement for payment with the Mayor Willy Walker. The mayor adamantly refused each and every offer. It was voted by the past council and current council to take legal action for repayment of the insurance premiums.
I believe elected officials are stewards of the taxpayer’s money. I feel we have a moral obligation to pursue this.
Mayor Willy Walker has repeatedly charged that a majority of the Houston City Council is “corrupt,” and he wants to impeach a council member and fire the city attorney and has also said the majority of the council conducted illegal meetings. Explain what you think? It’s unfortunate that our Mayor, Willy Walker, has repeatedly made unfounded accusations about the Houston City Council being “corrupt.” However, the Mayor’s allegations are merely an attempt to distract attention from his own legal troubles.
Rather than addressing the real issues facing our community, Mayor Walker has been fixated on personal vendettas with the city attorney and concocted theories about why a majority of the council consistently votes in opposition to his personal preferences. As a result, he has been unable to work collaboratively with the rest of the council to find solutions that benefit all residents.
The council is focused on tackling real issues that affect our community, such as providing better recreational facilities for our residents, increasing economic development activities, and ensuring our citizens are protected by a well-equipped police and fire department. All of our residents benefit from working together to find practical solutions.
I believe that by focusing on the real issues facing our community, instead of fabricated falsehoods, we can make Houston a better place for all residents. Allegations such as these are merely a distraction from the real issues that our community faces. This means putting personal vendettas aside and working towards a common goal — creating a thriving, prosperous community that we can all be proud to call home. It’s time for us to focus on what really matters and work together to build a brighter future for Houston.
What are the most critical needs of the community? As a candidate for the City Council, I firmly believe that understanding the most critical needs of our community is essential to effective leadership. When asked about the most critical needs of our community, my answer is simple: infrastructure, economic development and public safety.
Infrastructure is the backbone of our community, and it’s vital to ensure that our roads, bridges and other public works are well-maintained and up-to-date. By investing in infrastructure, we can make sure that our residents can get to work, school and other important destinations quickly and safely. It also makes our community more attractive to businesses and encourages economic growth.
Economic development is another critical need for our community. We need to attract new businesses, support our existing businesses, and create more job opportunities for our residents. By fostering economic growth, we can strengthen our community and provide a better quality of life for everyone.
Public safety is an essential need for any community. We need to ensure that our residents feel safe and secure in their homes and neighborhoods. This includes providing adequate resources to our police and fire departments, as well as investing in programs that help prevent crime and keep our community safe.
In addition to the critical needs mentioned earlier, the City of Houston has been working on a fiber internet project that is crucial to the economic growth of our community. The fiber network will bring high-speed internet access to homes and businesses, providing faster and more reliable internet connections than what is currently available. This project will attract new businesses to our community, help our existing businesses to thrive, and provide our residents with greater access to online resources, education, and telemedicine. As a member of the City Council, I fully support the fiber internet project and have worked hard to ensure its successful implementation. It is a vital infrastructure project that will help position our community for long-term success.
While these are the most critical needs of our community, I understand that there are many other issues that our residents are concerned about. As a member of the City Council, I will listen to the concerns of our residents and work to address their needs.
To achieve these goals, we need the support of the entire community. We need to come together and work collaboratively to create a better future for Houston. I encourage everyone to get involved, attending city council meetings, and speaking out on issues that matter to you. By getting involved, we can ensure that our voices are heard and that our community’s needs are met. Together, we can make Houston, Mo., a better place to live, work, and raise a family.
What steps should be taken to spark growth in the town? Do you favor the hiring of an economic developer? As a candidate for City Council in Houston, Mo., I strongly believe that hiring an economic developer is a critical step in spurring growth and development in our community. An economic developer is a professional who specializes in identifying opportunities for economic growth, attracting new businesses and industries to the area, and promoting the local economy.
An economic developer can play a vital role in revitalizing our community by working with local businesses, developers, and government agencies to identify new opportunities for growth and development. They can help create and implement economic development plans that align with our community’s goals and priorities, such as creating new jobs, improving infrastructure, and attracting new businesses to the area.
One of the key roles of an economic developer is to identify and pursue grant opportunities that can fund economic development projects. Grants can be a crucial source of funding for projects that may otherwise be unfeasible due to limited resources. An economic developer can help secure grants that can be used to fund infrastructure improvements, job training programs, business development initiatives, and other critical projects that can stimulate economic growth in our community.
In addition to securing grants, an economic developer can also help attract new businesses to our area by promoting the unique strengths and advantages of our community. They can work with local businesses and industry groups to identify opportunities for growth and help develop marketing and outreach campaigns that promote our community as an attractive place to do business.
Overall, hiring an economic developer is a crucial step in spurring growth and development in our community. They bring valuable expertise and experience to the table and can help identify and pursue opportunities for economic growth that might otherwise be overlooked. By investing in economic development, we can create new job opportunities, attract new businesses to the area, and improve the overall quality of life for our residents.
Anything else? I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude to the residents of Houston for their continued support and trust. I am honored to have served as a City Councilwoman for the past 2 years, and I am committed to continuing to work tirelessly on behalf of our community.
I believe that by working together, we can overcome the challenges facing our city and build a brighter future for all of our residents. I am committed to transparency, accountability, and collaboration in all aspects of my work, and I will always put the needs of our community first.
If elected, I will continue to advocate for policies that promote economic growth, strengthen our public safety efforts, and improve the quality of life for all residents of Houston. Thank you for considering me for this important role, and I look forward to working with all of you to make Houston the best it can be.
I would appreciate your vote, thank you!
DAVID HIGGINS – WARD III CANDIDATE
Tell us about yourself — David Higgins. I have lived in this community since 2005 and within city limits since 2013. I am a veteran, education in criminal justice. I have been a supervisor in the military and Corrections. I believe in structure, respect and policies and feel our city needs this at this time.
A jury is slated to hear a City of Houston case in August that alleges that the mayor illegally took health insurance without paying for it. Do you agree that the lawsuit should have been filed? No. I don’t agree that taxpayer dollars should be utilized for something that should have been dealt with in-house without all this negative attention.
Mayor Willy Walker has repeatedly charged that a majority of the Houston City Council is “corrupt,” and he wants to impeach a council member and fire the city attorney and has also said the majority of the council conducted illegal meetings. Explain what you think? Allegations are not proof. I have attended the meetings the last two months and I have heard no proof or actual city business being conducted at these meetings. If something is brought up it is never resolved it continues to get tabled.
What are the most critical needs of the community? Growth which means employment, more businesses and housing so we can continue to have the resources to increase the quality of life for all citizens and meet the needs of a growing community.
What steps should be taken to spark growth in the town? Do you favor the hiring of an economic developer? I would need to hear and research what this title would demand and if it’s within our scope to have that expenditure. Has the city exhausted all avenues of what this job consists of and what we as a town expect from this applicant?
I am a long time citizen of Houston and I am tired of the negative and horrible behavior that has been displayed. I am not perfect but I can tell you my intentions are to better this town not to hinder. I will conduct business to improve and better the lives of all citizens in this town and focus on actual city business. We have lots of needs in this town that needs addressed that no one seems to talk about. My vote will always be my vote and not of another council members.