Editor’s note: Candidates for mayor of Springfield, City Council and school board were invited to submit a column in their own words explaining why they are seeking election April 4, or focusing on a topic of their choosing. All guest columns will be published by March 30.
As the daughter of a businessman and a schoolteacher/coach, I learned at an early age what it means to work hard and work as a team. I was born and raised in Springfield. My high school years were spent mostly in a gym competing in volleyball and basketball. I grew to understand that you have to develop relationships to build the trust needed for a team to function well.
Since the age of 12, I knew I wanted to be a news anchor. After high school, I attended Drury University, then Missouri State University, where I graduated with a degree in Broadcast Journalism. I landed my first job in Greenville, Mississippi, working at the local CBS affiliate as a morning anchor, producer, and reporter. (I will answer this question because people are always curious — I woke up at 1:00 a.m. every morning to go to work.) I worked in two different markets over the next few years.
While I was working in news, I was able to learn a lot about city government and what goes into running a city. I attended numerous city council meetings and other public hearings. I really enjoyed those experiences. Living in other parts of the country helped me see how wonderful my hometown really was. I loved working in news, but I loved my Daddy even more and as he started to have health issues, I returned to Springfield in 2017 to be closer to my family.
My dad has since passed away, but growing up he was the hardest working person I’ve ever known. His job was demanding, but he always found time to give back to the community. I grew up watching him volunteer for many civic and charitable organizations. He taught me to invest my time, talent, and resources into the community and that example still motivates me every day.
After returning to Springfield, I took a job as the Director of Athletics Development at Missouri State University. I was able to get my master’s degree in Professional Studies in 2019. In my role at MSU, I really got to pour myself into the community. At that time, I was able to serve on numerous boards such as Champions Committed to Kids, Ozarks Regional YMCA, Council of Churches, Springfield Police Foundation and Leadership Council for Springfield’s Young Professionals.
In 2021, I went to work for OMB doing Business Development. OMB was a great fit for me because it’s a locally owned bank that takes pride in being committed to the community, with a focus on agriculture and small business.
Those early lessons in the importance of building relationships and having a team mindset have stayed with me and served me well. I am running for City Council because I care about the future of our city. I know that for us to thrive, we must feel safe in our neighborhoods, homes, and businesses. Reducing crime is my top priority. I have been endorsed by the Springfield Police Officers Association because I believe it is important to prioritize fighting and reducing crime in our city. In order to fight crime, we have to have a fully staffed police force. We need transparency in how we plan to recruit and train the best officers.
I had the opportunity to do a ridealong recently with the police department. It was very eye-opening, and I learned so much. I am committed to ensuring our police have the right technology and training to support them in their jobs. We also need to engage neighborhoods more and have open communication when it comes to neighborhood watch programs.
As a professional in our community, I understand the fundamentals of a healthy business climate needed to ensure we have the resources to fund our most vital city services. As Springfield continues to grow, we need to invest in quality-of-life assets that help make our city a great place to live, work and play. This also is key to attracting and keeping the top talent here in Springfield.
My diverse career background has honed my communication and relationship-building skills and I hope to use those to build trust within the community. Trust is built through strong two-way communication and transparency. Even when we disagree, we need to be reminded we are all on the same team. I would like to connect stakeholders in ways that build relationships, creating the trust necessary for us to work collectively to find solutions to our challenges. I would also like to see data about city operations, processes, and finances more accessible to our citizens.
I don’t have all the answers, and quite frankly you should be afraid of anyone running for office who claims to have them all. But I will listen to all stakeholders and make educated, common-sense decisions for our city. My dad instilled his love of Springfield in me, and his work ethic. I want to put both to work for you on City Council. It would be a privilege to serve you and I ask for your vote on Tuesday, April 4.
In their own words: Council General C candidate Jeremy Dean
As a Springfield native, I have watched Springfield grow into the vibrant, amenity-filled city that it is today. However, we must recognize that this growth has, at times, been at the expense of some of our very own citizens. … I am dedicated to re-opening that door, welcoming citizens, and allowing us to use our…