Four candidates – Josh Crocker, Laura Dominik, Tom Van Camp and Tim Watkins – are vying for the District 4 seat on the Independence City Council. The top two vote-getters in Tuesday’s primary election advance to November’s general election.
The District 4 seat has been vacant since Eileen Weir was elected in April as mayor of Independence. November’s winner will finish the final two years of Weir’s term.
• Crocker, 39, is a delivery driver for FedEx, 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.
He said he decided to run again after Weir’s election because of his “true passion” for the city, and because he wants to encourage revitalization of the business along Noland Road and U.S. 40. Having a strong business tax base helps maintain a solid school district, something Crocker also considers a top priority.
“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, 45, has worked as an accountant and paramedic and now is the director of human resources for the Great Plains Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. She is a member public safety services committee and said she is running because she wants to be part of a team – with the Council and Mayor Weir – that she believes is primed to move things forward in the city.
Her background in accounting and health and public safety would bring a good perspective to the Council, she said.
“I’m not a career politician; I just want to represent the 4th District,” she said during her closing statement at last week’s candidates forum. “We can do more as a whole than individually.”
Dominik has received endorsements from the Independence Labor Coalition, IBEW Local 53 and Carpenters’ District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity.
• Van Camp, 68, is nearing retirement from YRC Freight, has also worked as a criminal investigator with the state’s Department of Revenue and earned his master’s degree in public administration. He now wants to devote time to community service.
“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.
“I’m working for the endorsement of the people.”
Van Camp said he is concerned about seeing unwanted development at the former Rockwood Golf Club property, which he lives next to, as well as utility rates he believes have risen too high over the years.
• Watkins, 51, currently works as a real estate investor, and said he found himself in a better position as far as time and service to run Council after considering so in the past. He has stressed that citizens must take priority over city hall with the Council, and that District 4 citizens would be his foremost priority.
“I’ve lived here my whole life,” said Watkins, who has been endorsed by Citizens for Effective Leadership. “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.”