Meet the candidates ­— Maries R-2 School Board, Belle Aldermen

County, city, and school board filings for the April 2018 election closed, Jan. 16. Candidates are as follows: 

Maries County R-1 School Board candidates are David Long and incumbents Mike Kleffner and Dave Garro.

City of Belle had four openings, including marshal, mayor, and two aldermen. The marshal and mayor’s positions will have a three-way race, and two candidates for each of the aldermen positions.  

Candidates for marshal include Kale Sullinger, Chris Faulkner, and incumbent Joseph Turnbough. The three-way race for mayor includes Chris Bray, Josh Seaver and incumbent Steve Vogt. 

John Allen Green and incumbent Aldermen Ken Stanfield have declared intentions to run for the Alderman Ward 2 seat.

Declarations for Ward 1 Alderman are Stewart Darrah and incumbent Alderman Jeannette Struemph.

The seats of Maries R-2 school board directors Thomas R. Kinsey and Larry Walters are available. Incumbent Kinsey declared his intentions to run again. Other declared candidates are Tony Baretich, Kenda Sanders, and Carla M. Butler.

The Advocate asked the candidates for Maries R-2 School Board and Belle Alderman candidates a few questions their responses are listed. The responses for Belle mayor, Belle marshal and Maries County R-1 School Board ran in last weeks edition of the Advocate. To get last weeks edition stop into the Advocates office in Belle or Vienna, you can also call Jacob Warden at 573-619-9073. More in-depth questions and answers will run closer to the April election. The candidates are listed in alphabetical order.


Maries R-2 School Board candidates



What is your experience for the position you are running for?

I previously spent 10 months on the school board and already have the education required by the state.

Why are you running?

I am running because I enjoyed serving the school district during my temporary position and I enjoy serving the community.


Carla Butler

What is your experience for the position you are running for?

I have been fortunate enough that the past 10 years I have worked for government entities that have been supported by tax payer’s money. During the 10 years I have been involved with in helping develop and implement policies/procedures. I believe policies/procedures are important in a workplace as it helps reinforce and clarify the standards expected of employees and help employers manage staff more effectively as it defines what is acceptable and unacceptable in the workplace.

 I have also been involved with planning and following a fiscally sound budget for government entities and helping ensure money is properly spent in areas of need. 

I have served as a Girl Scout troop leader within Maries R2 School and also volunteered as a T-ball coach for our local Tri- County youth program. I believe the more we instill in our youth the better future they have as adults.

Why are you running?

I am blessed to have grown up in a community that has made our school a top priority. As alumna of Maries R2, I want to give back to the district that gave so much to me. I want to be a part of a school board that will lift up the quality of education available to all our students, and I want the community to be involved in that process, every step of the way.

 I feel a board member must be open minded to all students, teachers, staff and parents needs. I believe working together we can make Maries R2 School District exceptional.  As a long- time resident of the district and as a parent, I would be honored to be your voice. My love for kids and wanting to see them succeed has influenced my decision to run as a school board candidate because our children are our future.


Tom Kinsey

What is your experience for the position you are running for?

I have been on the school board for ten years. I have held the position of board president and secretary. I have attended many hours of MSBA training and safe school training throughout my ten year. I have been on the board during the good and bad times and have always kept the students best interest at heart. 

Why are you running? 

I am running for school board because I care about our school, students, staff, and community. We have been through some really rough patches in the last ten years with budget cuts and administration and personnel turnovers but we have been able to overcome these challenges and become a solid board. Whether you like me or not we have to agree my decisions are based on the facts presented to me and the best interest of our students. I will always be there to support our students, staff, school  and community. 


Kenda Sanders

What is your experience for the position you are running for?

My experience solely consists of being a member of this community who truly cares about the district and desires to see things happen that provide our youth with the education they deserve.  

Why are you running?

I have always had a heart for service and a desire to truly make a difference. I think serving the community by being able to serve our children and families in the district on the Maries R2 school board, will allow me to do just that.  I understand that I cannot expect to immediately make a difference, however, with time, dedication and perseverance, I believe I can. 


Belle Alderman Ward 1 candidates


Jeanette Struemph

What is your experience for the position you are running for?

I am working on my second term as alderman ward 1 for the city of Belle. 

I have been a part of the major sewer project that we are in the midst of instrumenting for the city. As a council member, we have completed two other projects in which larger flow pipes (drainage pipes) were installed at two different sites that run underneath highway 28 through town. I have worked on establishing and approving four years of budgets for the city of Belle. We have upgraded city ordinances as needed and changed ordinances appropriate situations arose.

City council is currently working on a block grant to add curbing, sidewalks, and proper drainage on Johnson Street. As council members we work closely to maintain the best interests of the city as far as safety, budget, communication and commitment.

Why are you running? 

I was born and raised in this small town, I have a life long goal to want the town to continue, to prosper, and grow. I would like to see us maintain that small town, family values for our future generations to continue to have a safe and healthy community in which to live in. I am proud of our small town and the commitment we have to make it a better place to live. As far as a former business owner, I was glad to be able to retire and continue to live in Belle. My intentions as a council member are to provide the best representation for the tax payers and the residents of this town.


Stewart Darrah

What is your experience for the position you are running for? 

I served one term as Mayor of Belle, was chairman or vice-chairman for my home church for approximately 20 years, was on the Grant Committee for the Franklin County Sheriffs Department for about 10 years, and was Chairman for one of the largest Neighborhood Watch groups in Franklin County for nearly 20 years. 

My family has had a history of public service since nearly the American Revolution, national, state, and local. 

Why are you running? 

I talked to the current Councilperson, Jeanette Struemph, and she said that she wasn’t going to run again this year. Subsequently I asked several individuals to consider running for the position, but all of them declined. Rather that having an open position, I reluctantly filled out the paperwork, so that our election wouldn’t be like several of the nearby communities, with no one running for office. When I filed the papers, I learned that Mrs. Struemph had decided to file. That was fine with me. At least it looked as if, on paper, there was a race, and not an open seat. 

Jeanette Struemph has been a good Councilperson, and should be retained.


Belle Alderman Ward 2 candidates


John Green

What is your experience for the position you are running for?

I have been in the public service sector for about seven years now, either as a member of the Maries County Emergency Management team under Ken Ramsey, to serving on the Belle Volunteer Fire Department since I moved to Belle 6 years ago. I am employed full at ECS 66 at Fort Lenard wood MO where I serve on the Safety council. In terms of political experience, this would be my first time if elected serving as an elected government official. 

Why are you running? 

There are really three main reasons for my choosing  to run first and foremost to serve the people of my ward and the city of Belle. Second there are things that have been done in recent months I don’t agree with and rather than engage in ridicule I chose to take steps to effect change as a council member if elected I will be a one voting member of the board of aldermen, giving me a voice in what’s being done. Third reason is I feel that the younger generation needs to start taking an interest in the direction our town is going help our town grow.


Ken Stanfield

What is your experience for the position you are running for? 

I am serving currently as Alderman Ward 2 on Belle’s City Council. I agreed to serve as alderman for Ward 2 because I wanted an opportunity to serve the people of Ward Two and to represent them to the best of my abilities. 

It has been an interesting two years. During my tenure, we have seen the citizens of Belle approve a bond issue which will fund a new lift station at our city lagoon. This new lift station will reduce expenses and increase our capacity. We are currently working on the s project. Last year, the Missouri Department of Transportation, with the assistance of MRPC, approved our request for a grant for Johnson Street which will provide new curbing, sidewalks, and solve some of our drainage issues on Johnson Street. We will see this project start this summer. This grant was for approximately $275,000.

In 2017, we received a grant which provided benches for Alvarado Avenue. This has added a pleasant place for people to gather and enjoy our city. 

Another grant was received by the City Council to add new picnic benches to our city park. In addition, with the help of Barb Schaller and other volunteers, we have improved the playground, added flower beds, and new trees to our park. We have many visitors to our park over the year and it now presents a pleasant place to pause and enjoy our city lake. 

We currently are in the process of trying to get a demolition grant which will pay for the removal of some uninhabitable housing in town. The owners have to be willing and there have been no services to the housing in the last year. This is a small step toward making our town a better place to live.

My experience includes being an Army veteran, serving two years of active duty and five years in the reserve. My active duty time was spent in Germany with an artillery battalion. During this time, I was promoted to sergeant and gained leadership experience. 

After leaving the military, I worked for 47 years at the same company before my retirement. I have some experience running a department and managing people. We have lived in Belle for 40 years. 

All of these projects have given me experience in the financial, political, recreational and beautification aspects of the city. 

Why are you running? 

I believe in Belle and the many improvements we are making to improve our city. I am running again as a citizen of Belle wanting to serve my community. I can see many positive things happening in our community.

My community associations include the Belle Community Betterment Association and Friends of the Belle Library.