Independence Mayor Eileen Weir said she never really reached a point of deciding to run for re-election. But she also never reached a point of deciding not to run for a second term.
“When I ran the first time, I didn't intend to run just the one time,” said Weir, who became the second female mayor in Independence history when she was elected in 2014 after two years representing the 4th District.
“I felt the council was accomplishing good things, and citizens are supportive of the program we've tried to implement.”
Last Tuesday was the first day interested citizens could pick up an election packet and begin to gather the necessary signatures – 250 for citywide seats – to become a candidate for the 2018 elections. Filing in Independence can take place Oct. 30 at the earliest (per city charter, a difference from the Oct. 17 opening date in the county), and the deadline is Nov. 22.
At-large council members Karen DeLuccie and Chris Whiting also have taken out election packets. As of Monday afternoon, Jane Sharpie and Michael Huff had taken packets for at-large seats and Sharpie and Andrew Worley had taken mayoral packets, according to the city clerk's office.
The primary election for mayor and the two at-large seats is Feb. 6, with the general election two months later.
Weir said that while she believes her first term has included many positives around the city – steps in economic development, blight reduction and sustainable financial health – many of her plans require time. Earlier this year the council and city staff crafted a five-year strategic plan dubbed “Independence for All.”
“In some ways I feel we've accomplished a tremendous amount, but I feel like we're just getting going,” Weir said. “There's a lot left we would like to accomplish and move along. It's time to crank it up again.”
And the mayor said she's heard enough positive reinforcement to believe she's heading in a good direction.
“If felt like what I wanted to accomplish really wasn't what the city wanted, they I wouldn't have run again,” she said. “We've made a huge dent in the strategic plan, but there's still so many things.”
Weir said there has been some success in revitalizing western Independence, but many plans have not been completed.
“I'm excited to take a fresh look at that,” she said.
She said she's also excited to see what happens with the Independence School District's academy students graduating into the workforce in many areas, and to continue collaborations with municipal leaders around the region.
One of Weir's biggest goals is increasing the city's median income to $50,000 by 2020.
“I want to be here in 2020 to see if we can reach that,” she said. “I think there's some exciting things on the horizon.”