Four candidates filed for the Aug. 5 District 4 City Council primary election, hoping to eventually fill the Council seat left vacant in April when Eileen Weir was elected to be Independence’s mayor.
Josh Crocker, Laura Dominik, Tom Van Camp and Tim Watkins are vying to finish among the top two in the primary and advance to the Nov. 4 general election. The winner then will finish the final two years of Weir’s term. All four candidates plan will be at Thursday’s Candidates Forum, sponsored by the League of Women Voters, at 6:30 p.m. at Trails West Library.
Crocker had been a candidate for the Council at-large seats late last year but withdrew, saying he wished to spare taxpayers the cost of an election. His decision handed the at-large seats to incumbent Chris Whiting and Karen DeLuccie, both of whom he endorsed. After Weir was elected, he said, he decided to run again.
“I have a true passion for my city,” said Crocker, who drives around his district every day while working in delivery for FedEx. “I’ve had chances to move elsewhere and chose not to.”
Crocker said he is concerned about the trend of business loss on Noland Road and U.S. 40 and how a fluctuating tax base could affect something like the city schools.
“I’ve got a junior and a freshman at Van Horn High School,” he said, “and I’d hate to see anything happen with the Independence School District.”
Dominik, whose is a member of the public safety services committee and whose background is in accounting and public health and safety, said she is excited about having Weir as mayor and wants to be part of a team that moves the city forward.
“We want to grow and expand, and I believe Eileen is the right person to lead us there,” Dominik said, adding that Weir is a neighbor. “I’ve considered her in many ways to be a mentor, and not just for campaign purposes.”
Van Camp said that, at age 68 and nearing retirement from YRC Freight, and with a master’s degree in public administration, he wants to devote some time to community services.
“The time was right and the opportunity was there,” he said. “I’m just interested in serving the community, and this is a great opportunity.”
Van Camp said he has heard citizen concerns about the future of the former Rockwood Golf Club property.
“There are no definite answers,” he said, “and I’d like to be in a position to get some answers.”
Watkins, who currently works in real estate, said he has considered running for office before but this time “found myself in better position as far as time and service.”
The city is in good shape overall, he said, but there always is room for improvement. Among the priorities he listed are maintaining safety and property value in neighborhoods, improving the quality of life for seniors and promoting a friendlier environment for small businesses.
“I’ve lived here my whole life,” he said. “It was a great place to grow up and a great place to raise kids, and I want to make sure it stays a great place to live and raise kids.”