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Race is open for new Smithville representative

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The city of Smithville will have a new representative for its 3rd Ward after Election Day.

With the incumbent not seeking re-election, the race is wide open for a new face. However, depending on the winner, it might not be brand new. Candidate Grant Sportsman served on the board 15 years ago. For candidate Jeff Bloemker and Charles Baker, it would be a first-time gig.

Sportsman, who pointed to his previous experience on the board as a strength, said one of his goals is to make sure the city is careful when it comes to taxes.

“If the city tries to add to the current property tax burden, it will not only jeopardize our real estate market but also obstruct the future funding of our schools,” he said. “A better solution is to borrow and leverage our reserves to fund capital improvements and look for alternative revenue sources, including federal and state grants, and leasing opportunities.”

He wants to prioritize capital improvement projects.

Baker wants to put a moratorium on all capital spending for 180 days and does not want to put dollars toward redoing infrastructure issues, such as water lines, to match current Environmental Protection Agency standards, considering changes at the federal level.

“I am fully in favor of a downtown plan in which new businesses are grown here and a Smithville Development Company that will be made up of local businesses and residents to make us a destination to visit and live,” he added.

For Bloemker, the first thing that would be on the to-do list if elected would be to examine the city’s strategic plan based on a recent citywide resident survey. He also wants to look at creating a position to oversee economic growth.

“While economic development is booming to our south, Smithville’s economic development can be best described as missed opportunities,” he said. “Creating an economic development director to focus on economic development will grow tax base and bring the services our growing population has said they want.”

The winner will serve a two-year term.

Jeff Bloemker

Age: 42

Address: 14601 Derryhale Way, Smithville

Occupation: Hospital executive

Education: Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, 1998; master’s degree in health administration from the University of Missouri, 2013

Public experience: Missouri Military Preparedness and Enhancement Commission, 2007 to 2013; Missouri Veterans Commission, 2010 to 2013

Website: www.bloemker.us; Bloemker for Smithville on Facebook

Charles R. Baker

Address: 409 N.E. 144th St., Smithville

Occupation: Retired, formerly a small-business owner in the transportation industry

Education: North Kansas City High School, 1965

Public experience: N/A

Website: N/A

Grant Sportsman

Age: 53

Address: 14609 Derryhale Way, Smithville

Occupation: Sales manager, Best Security

Education: Bachelor’s degree in industrial management from Missouri State University, 1987; master’s degree in public administration from Park University, 1996

Public experience: Smithville Board of Aldermen, 2000-2002

Website: N/A