Voters throughout Carthage hopefully will be going to the polls on Tuesday to vote for city council candidates for the next two years, although voters in only two wards will actually face choices.
The Carthage Board of Education would normally also be holding an election this Tuesday, however, only the two incumbents, Justin Baucom and Mark Westhoff, filed for reelection for two open seats, so no election is necessary.
On the Carthage City Council, there are five, open, two-year terms, with incumbents Lawrence Chapin in Ward 2, Dan Rife in Ward 4 and Ed Hardesty in Ward 5 running unopposed for their seats.
Two people each have filed for the Ward 1 and Ward 3 seats, setting up a choice for voters in those parts of the city.
The incumbent Jim Swatsenbarg, 601 Howard St., will face Trevor C. Smith, 1124 Valley St., for the Ward 1 seat.
Incumbent Steve Leibbrand, 1654 Connor Dr., will be challenged for the Ward 3 seat by Mike Hutton, 709 Florence St.
The Carthage Press sent questionnaires to all the candidates for Carthage City Council, and the questionnaires that were returned appear in this issue.
At a Candidate forum on Monday, March 26, Jake Heisten, an aide to Congressman Billy Long and chairman of the Carthage Chamber of Commerce's Public Policy Committee, said local elections are just as important, if not more so, than the more heavily attended federal elections that happen in November every two years.
“A lot of folks like to pay attention to what happens in Washington and what happens in Jefferson City, but there are also discussions at the Carthage City Hall that will directly affect citizens even more so than some of the decisions made in Jefferson City and Washington, D.C., Heisten said. “So we also think that's why it's very important that you get out and cast your vote for your city council member.
“We would like to encourage you to talk to your friends, your neighbors, your co-workers, to get to know these candidates, get out and get the vote out and have a good turnout on Tuesday, April 2.”
Jasper’s Mayor and two seats on the four-member Board of Aldermen are up for reelection this year.
Incumbent Mayor Paul Nelson has filed for reelection and will face a challenger, Bill Hulstine.
On the Board, Incumbent East Ward Alderman Mike Smith and Incumbent West Ward Alderman Mark Weng will run unopposed on the ballot for their seats.
Jasper Board of Education
Four people will run for the two open seats on the Jasper R-5 Board of Education.
Challengers Alicia Rives and Matthew Dumm filed as well as incumbents Carolyn Corle and Joe Heger.
Page 2 of 2 - The top two vote getters will take the three-year terms on the board.
Sarcoxie Board of Aldermen
Two seats, one in the East Ward and one in the West Ward, are up for reelection on the Sarcoxie Board of Aldermen.
In Ward 1, Incumbent Johnny Mendera will face two challengers, Rick Mize and Alesha Harrison.
Incumbent Cole Cummins is the only person who has filed for the Ward 2 seat and will appear on the ballot unopposed.
Sarcoxie Board of Education
Two three-year seats, currently held by Jeremy Caddick and John Lewis, are up for reelection on the Sarcoxie Board of Education.
Lewis has filed for reelection along with J.T. Roberson, Gary Turner, and James (Jim) Acheson, who filed before the deadline.
Avilla Board of Education
Avilla will not have to have an election this year as two people have filed for the two open seats on the R-13 Board of Education incumbent Travis Gubser and newcomer Hal Andrews filed for the two three-year terms.
Linda Fix, the other incumbent, did not file for reelection.
Jasper County Clerk Bonnie Earl said some polling places will be changed throughout Jasper County specifically for the April 2 election.
None of these changes affect Carthage polling places, however, voters in the rural North Madison Precinct and in the Jasper R-5 School District will be voting in the Zion Baptist Church, 9013 Sumac Road, Jasper.
Affected residents should have received a letter about this change.
Earl said the other changes involve voters in Joplin and Webb City.
Others not holding elections this year are the city of Joplin, Waco, Fidelity, Reeds and Joplin R-8 School District.