Newly elected candidates reflect on election

The April 6 elections had good rates of voter turnout, especially for a local election, Adair County Clerk Sandy Collop said. 

“I was hoping for 15% [voter turnout], and when I found out that we had 20%, I thought we did really good,” Collop said. 

For the Kirksville City Council, there were four candidates for a single open position, which will last for a three-year term. The candidates were Kevin Alm, Kabir Bansal, John Gardner and Dana (Danny) McDowell. 

There were 1,748 votes cast and Gardner won with 982 votes.

I’m extremely pleased with the results,” Gardner said. “I was able to make a strong connection with many voters and that shows in the election outcome. I’m excited to go to work serving the Kirksville community as we focus on unlocking Kirksville’s potential and making Kirksville a place where all belong.”

For the Kirksville R-III school board, there were five candidates running for two  positions. Each position lasts for a two-year term. These candidates were Nick Billington, Pamela Barnett, Michael Bishop, Angela Caraway and Jaimee Miller. There were six candidates listed on the ballot, but one candidate, Bret Davidson, dropped out of the race. 

Voters could vote for two candidates, with a total of 4,451 votes cast. Angela Caraway won a seat, with 1,181 votes cast in her favor. Caraway has 27 years of experience in mental healthcare and has three children who graduated from Kirksville High School.

“I started my journey with several areas I am passionate about,” Caraway said. “My first objective is to be an active team member to support the administration on a solid recovery plan to maintain a safe environment for students and teachers, evaluate educational challenges and promote wellness throughout the district.”

Billington also won a seat with 996 votes cast in his favor. Billington is a service technician, with five kids in the Kirksville R-III school district. 

“I appreciate the support, thank you all who voted for me,” Billington said. “My plans for the future on the school board is help keep Kirksville students in seats full time, hopefully put COVID in the rear view and get to focusing on other important issues our district faces: retaining a well-balanced budget but also improve our facilities on campus.” said. 

Another seat on the ballot was for the Adair County Health Department Board of Trustees. There were three open seats on the board, each for a four-year term. There were eight candidates on the ballot, with 7,372 votes cast. The candidates listed on the ballot were Kylene Puckett, Robin Jones Darr, Curt Platz, Sharon Tuttle, Theresa Hewitt, Brenda Higgins, Lance Ratcliff and Jason Soseman. 

Brenda Higgins earned a seat on the Adair County Health Department Board of Trustees with a total of 1,472 votes. 

“I felt it was important that people with public health knowledge be on the Board,” Higgins said. “Also, with my upcoming retirement, I felt that I would now have more time for public service and that this was an area where my expertise and experience could be most useful.”

Higgins has volunteered with the Health Department to give COVID vaccinations since the process started. She said she will continue to assist them in that way if needed. 

Curt Platz also won a seat on the board with a total of 1,165 votes.

“I want to thank the citizens of Adair County for supporting me,” Platz said. “As we move forward, it is my goal to build unity, confidence and trust within our community and the Adair County Health Department.”

The final open seat on the board was won by Robin Darr, who received 1,096 votes. 

The Index reached out to Darr and has not heard a response as of April 13. 

There was also a proposition on the ballot for an Adair County Capital Improvement Sales Tax. This proposition would raise sales taxes throughout the county by 0.25%. The additional revenue would be spent on improving the Adair County Courthouse. There were 2,885 votes cast and the proposition was supported by the voters, with 1,609 votes in favor.