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Fulton mayoral candidates introduce themselves, discuss issues

by Anakin Bush | April 1, 2023 at 4:00 a.m.
Anakin Bush/Fulton Sun photo: Fulton mayoral candidate Steve Moore speaks at a forum hosted by the Callaway Chamber of Commerce. The four candidates competing to replace Mayor Lowe Cannell are John Braun, Moore, Steve Myers and Mike West.

A forum was held on Wednesday for Fulton's mayoral candidates, offering them a space to speak about their priorities and views on issues.

The forum was hosted by the Callaway Chamber of Commerce. It began with each candidate having four minutes to introduce themselves.

John Braun

John Braun said he previously served on the Fulton City Council for four years, before taking a year break from the position.

He said he believes the city needs to work on a few things, first of which being a master plan for Fulton.

"If we don't set a master plan, how do we know how to get there? We will be wandering around, making spur of the moment decisions on everything that we do if we don't have some kind of plan in place," Braun said.

He said the plan will be important for economic development and land development. The plan would also hold officials accountable.

Another topic Braun discussed in his introduction was the importance in taking care of people and city employees.

"If you're not taking care of people, we don't have a city," he said.

Braun said pay is extremely important for city employees, and believes that raises should be done with a flat rate dollar amount increase instead of a percent-based increase.

He said there are three documents that are important for Fulton to follow -- the city charter, the Missouri Constitution and the United States Constitution.

Braun said he views the role of the mayor as a liaison between the city council, the constituents and the director of administration.

He finished by saying that he believes building cooperation with all entities within Fulton is important, including the Callaway Chamber of Commerce, Fulton Public Schools and the Callaway County Commission.

Steve Moore

Steve Moore said he ran for city council in 1984, and was a member for 36 years. He agreed with the points Braun presented, specifically the need for a master plan.

"If you have a laid out current plan, it's a lot easier for us to make a decision of what we're doing there," Moore said.

He also said he would like to add disability equipment to Fulton parks.

Moore spoke about some of the issues he has with city hall, mostly with the utilities department. He said he would like to see more safety systems in place.

Steve Myers

Steve Myers said he thinks the upcoming election is "one of the more critical mayoral elections that we've had in recent history, and probably in the course of our history."

He said he was Fulton police chief for 20 years, and that he was very aware of how to operate city government.

Myers said there has been some misspending in the city recently, specifically with Legends Rec-Plex. He said overspending with the Rec-Plex has resulted in increased costs for electric and gas bills. He also said much of the money for the Rec-Plex came out of the city's emergency fund.

"Ours (emergency fund) is gone. It was misappropriated by several that are sitting here today," Myers said. "...It's very important that we put that money back in case we do have an emergency."

He agreed that it is important to take care of city employees.

Affordable housing is another issue Myers said was important to tackle.

"We don't have nearly enough affordable housing right now. We have industry that wants to come into town, but when they do their studies we don't have the workforce to sustain their businesses," Myers said.

Mike West

Mike West said he has lived in Fulton for 43 years, and said he has been on the city council for a total of 16 years.

He said he wants to be Mayor because he has a "desire to serve the people."

One important issue West wants to address is re-opening Callaway Community Hospital. He added he doesn't want the city to own it, but that it is important for it to reopen.

"That's a great need in my mind," West said.

He said he knows of one family in Fulton who is moving to Jefferson City because of the lack of a hospital.

Another issue West wants to tackle is updating the city plan, which he said was last updated in 2000.

One topic he said he was been made aware of by citizens of Fulton is stormwater, and he would want to fix that as well.

After the introductions, the candidates were asked community-submitted questions to answer.

Questions included the topics of the role of the mayor, goals for their mayoral term and what they hope to accomplish, obstacles Fulton faces as a municipal government, a long-term strategic plan and what the future looks like for the city.

They were given two minutes at the end to wrap up their thoughts.

Election Day is Tuesday, April 4. Ballots will be open from 6 a.m.-7 p.m.

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