Don Mclaughlin and Larry Chapin were appointed by Mayor Mike Harris to fill two vacant Ward 2 seats on the Carthage City Council.
Larry Q. Chapin
Larry Chapin, at 24, will easily be the youngest person on the Carthage City Council for for at least the next year.
“I bring a younger voice that’s able perceive and interpret things differently,” Chapin said in an interview with The Carthage Press on Feb. 14 prior to taking the oath of office for city council.
“Everyone’s ultimate opinions are a result of their life’s experiences,” Chapin added. “Everyone has a very different life experience and me growing up in the generation that I have and having the experiences that I have had is going to bring something different to the table, a different mindset.”
Chapin, 725 W. Central Ave., lives in an original home from the historic Cassill Place district and will serve for at least one year after the April 3 election.
“I have the one-year term because I’m not sure exactly where I’ll be after a year,” Chapin said. “The history is fascinating, and it’s an honor to live in such a beautiful historic type of landmark. You don’t think about it all the time, but when it comes up, it’s kind of fulfilling.”
Chapin said he came to Carthage originally to care for his grandfather, Virgil Long, 92, a long-time Carthage resident.
Chapin said he owns a small business and decided to run for city council after watching friends get involved in political issues.
“I have a few friends who have been active in politics in the area before with certain key issues, also doing things like city councils and heading up organizations and non-profit organizations,” Chapin said. “I always found it fascinating to hear from them about their input and experiences. I went to college for biology and paleo-anthropology, not politics, so I thought it would be an opportunity to immerse myself in something that I otherwise wouldn’t know that much about. So it’s an experience for me.”
Chapin said it will be interesting representing Carthage’s business strip along Central Avenue, which makes up a big part of Ward 2.
He said it will be a bit intimidating tackling the city budget process, which started last month and will last through June.
“I have relatively little experience with budgeting,” Chain said. “Even with starting my own business, that was the most stressful part of it was all the finances and the budgets and doing all this paperwork, So it’s jumping in feet first and head first in that situation.”
Chapin said it will be fun serving with long-time council member Dan Rife, who helped Chapin earn his Eagle Scout in Boy Scouts several years back.
“It’s exciting to be able to work with him on the council,” Chapin said. “It’s an honor and a pleasure to serve.”
As a graduate of the machine tool technology at Crowder College, Don Mclaughlin is interested in technical thing.
As a city council member, he said he’ll be taking a special interest in things like the Carthage Water & Electric Plant, the wastewater treatment system and making things more efficient.
“I’m really for Carthage Water and Electric, they need to make room for the future and expansion, but I firmly believe that now is the time to do something about that,” Mclaughlin said in an interview with The Carthage Press on Tuesday before taking the oath of office for council. “I know the waste water department has seen some challenges recently and I know they’ve got a lot of equipment that’s really getting dated and there again, that equipment they use costs a lot of money, but it’s only going to cost twice as much in the future.”
Mclaughlin, 40, 725 Olive St., is a native of Neosho and a graduate of Neosho High School.
He said he moved to Carthage about 15 years ago.
“I had actually just bought a house and I started renting it out,” Mclaughlin said. “Then the renters moved out and then I moved in.”
Mclaughlin is self-employed and operates three different businesses, but he decided he had enough spare time to devote to the city council.
Mayor Harris appointed Mclaughlin to the Finance and Personnel Administration Committee and the Public Safety Committee.
He will also serve for now as council liaison to the Civil War Museum board.
Those appointments may change after the elections on April 3, when four other council seats will be decided.
Mclaughlin said he hopes to be able to address what he says are odors still emanating from the Renewable Environmental Solutions plant, which started operating last year using new sources of material other than turkey offal to make fuel oil.
He’s also looking forward to taking part in the process of creating a city budget for the fiscal year 2012-2013.
A lot of people are not going to be happy with me, I’m a real tightwad,” Mclaughlin said. “I would just like to help ensure that the people’s funds are spent properly. I don’t know, maybe I can make a difference there.”