A vacancy for Zone One is visible on a set of official portraits of the mayor and city council members that hangs in a hallway at Springfield Historic City Hall. A portrait of former councilwoman Angela Romine was removed from the frame shortly after she vacated her seat in February 2022. (Photo by Rance Burger)

The Springfield City Council will meet and interview four of the five applicants for one vacancy representing northwest Springfield on April 12. One of the five is out of the running because she is running for the Missouri House of Representatives.

From the four interviews, one person will be chosen to serve for approximately one year representing Zone One. The term expires April 4, 2023.

On March 28, Amy Blansit announced she filed to run as a candidate for Missouri’s 133rd House District. Blansit filed as a Democrat to run against Republican candidate Melanie Stinnett. The current representative for District 133 is State Rep. Curtis Trent, R-Springfield, and he is running for the Missouri Senate in District 20.

“I had thought the best way for me to serve our community was by serving on the City Council. Having spoken to other candidates, I believe that there are great leaders ready to serve in that role,” Blansit said.

Mayor Ken McClure and City Clerk Anita Cotter compiled a set of questions for each applicant to answer in writing before the interviews. Seated members of the city council have had the opportunity to provide questions they would like asked of the applicants. The seven seated members of the city council and the mayor will be able to review those questions and answers before the interviews happen on April 12.

“All of those answers will be put in a notebook with the application, resume, all of the different things, and they’ll all be provided to council,” Cotter said. “From that interview, they’ll appoint, and usually they will appoint that day.”

At the next city council meeting after the interviews and decision, the new Zone One city councilperson will take their oath of office at the start of the meeting and begin serving immediately.

This means that the new councilmember will likely be sworn into office and begin serving at the start of the city council meeting April 18.

The 5 applicants, reverse alphabetically:

Stephen Sexton is a veteran of the U.S. Army who retired to his hometown of Springfield in 2015. He is active in efforts to organize cleanups in the Woodland Heights neighborhood. He has also volunteered as a Meals on Wheels driver and as an election judge in Greene County.

“Although all of my school friends and neighbors have moved elsewhere, I moved into the now very different neighborhood I grew up in. Since I want to leave the house to my grandkids, I want to improve Zone One to be a safe and desirable place to live,” Sexton wrote in his initial application.

Kathy Hubbard is a retired nurse who worked in the Mercy health system for more than three decades. Hubbard wrote on her application that she is a member of the Missouri State University Founders Club, which is for individuals, businesses or organizations who make a minimum commitment of $10,000 in cash, securities, or real or personal property to the Missouri State University Foundation.

On top of her nursing career, Hubbard has five years of experience in business as co-owner of Red Top Oven, LLC, selling jams and relishes at Farmers Market of the Ozarks.

Monica Horton is a self-employed consultant and music therapist, and a contributing researcher to the Springfield Inclusion Study funded by Community Foundation of the Ozarks.

“My high degree of civic engagement and awareness in Springfield-Greene County (in multiple domains including poverty) certainly qualifies me to serve Zone One residents and make significant contributions to municipal governance and public policymaking necessary to make Springfield an extraordinary place for all to live, work and play,” Horton wrote on her initial application.

Amy Blansit is a kinesiology instructor at Missouri State University and the CEO of the Drew Lewis Foundation, which focuses on urban development through educational and support efforts in underdeveloped areas. By running for the Missouri House of Representatives, she disqualifies herself from running for city council, per the same terms of the Springfield City Charter that led to Romine stepping down from holding office.

“With the filing deadline closing, I didn’t see a candidate that I could support for my state legislative district, and determined that ensuring Springfield and our community’s interests are represented in Jefferson City was the best way I could continue to serve the families and students I’ve worked so closely with,” Blansit said.

Karen Banta managed and owned a retail store and family farm for 35 years. She also worked in the Parents as Teachers Program in the Lamar and Golden City school districts, and worked as a Head Start resource specialist in Lamar. Banta has been on international mission trips to seven countries. Politically, she notes her activism as an election judge and in the Republic Party.

On her initial application, Banta said she brings, “a wide experience base, early childhood training, training in critical conversations and communications, training in conflict resolution and assisting people reach their goals,” to her bid to join the Springfield City Council.

Springfield City Council Zone One, shown here on an official map provided by the Springfield city government, encompasses the northwestern quadrant of Springfield. (Photo by Rance Burger)

Springfield City Council members are not paid salaries or stipends for their service, according to the Springfield City Charter. The charter specifies that they may be reimbursed for “any necessary specific expenses incurred in connection with their duties as provided by ordinance or resolution of the Council prior to incurring such expenses.”

Qualifications for Springfield City Council Zone One seat

  • Must be a registered voter in the city of Springfield.
  • Must have been a resident of the city of Springfield for at least two years prior to appointment.
  • Must have been a resident of Zone One for at least one year immediately prior to appointment.
  • Must not be disqualified from serving after being convicted of a felony.
  • Must not be disqualified from serving due to being delinquent on state and local tax payments.
  • Must have completed and filed Missouri Department of Revenue form 5120 per state law RsMO 115.306(2). Applications without Missouri Department of Revenue Form 5120 will not be accepted. 

Rance Burger

Rance Burger covers local government for the Daily Citizen. His goal is to help people know more about what projects their government is involved in, and how their tax dollars are being spent. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia with 15 years experience in journalism. Reach him at rburger@sgfcitizen.org or by calling 417-837-3669. Twitter: @RanceBurger More by Rance Burger