5th District Candidates Reflect on Primary, Look Forward to April

By Alan Van Zandt | avanzandt@kq2.com

Published 02/06 2014 10:45PM

Updated 02/07 2014 01:58PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Running for her first political office, you would think city council candidate Mary Attebury would have been glued to the television Tuesday night watching election results.

But she was working at the Northwest Missouri Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center and hadn't heard she had advanced to the general election.

"I actually got that through an email from a friend who had seen early reports," Attebury said. "Then I got a call and then the texts, my phone started to ding."

Attebury says it's good timing for her to enter her first political race.

"I want to aspire to make my community a better place."

Much of Attebury's platform has been centered on St. Joseph's smoking ban discussion. She said, while she's disappointed the current council didn't enact a ban, she had been planning to run for the council anyway.

"It was time for something different," she said. "That we are so far behind the times, and not just because of tobacco. There are other things we need to be doing in focusing on and reinvesting ourselves."

Meanwhile, incumbent Barbara LaBass is running for her third term on the council. After seeing election results Tuesday, it wasn't a first-place finish that first caught her eye.

"My first reaction was, how sad that so few people voted," LaBass said. "Voting is a privilege and sometimes I don't think we remembered that."

It wasn't long into her eight years on the council that Labass found she enjoyed her job.

"I just love serving the people," she said. "I can't always give people what they want even though I'm on their side. I can be a voice, though."

The MGE employee has spent most of her professional career in St. Joseph. She says the city has some great resources.

"We have wonderful people," she said. "It's a fantastic asset. We need to capitalize on that and show off our city for what it can be."

With the bad weather, only about eight percent of eligible voters turned out.

In the fifth district, LaBass received 45 percent of the vote, Attebury garnered 30 percent and third-place finisher Michael Grimm received 25 percent.

The general election will be in April.

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