At-Large Council Candidates Excited About Challenge

By Alan Van Zandt |

Published 02/05 2014 09:47PM

Updated 02/07 2014 02:03PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) After Tuesday's primary election, six candidates advanced to April's general election for three at-large St. Joseph City Council seats.

Three incumbents, Donna Jean Boyer, Byron Myers and Jeff Penland were among those that will move forward. They are joined by three challengers, each with varying amount of experience in the political process.

"Now, the work begins," said Kent "Spanky" O'Dell.

The political newcomer is as surprised as anybody he was among the top six receiving votes in Tuesday's primary.

"I couldn't believe it with the blizzard and everything," he said. "I didn't know what to expect. I was just amazed."

After living in St. Joseph for more than 50 years, O'Dell felt now was the time to make his first run for a political office.

"I got tired of sitting around and watching it happen," he said. "I figured, what better and get up and try and see if I can make a difference."

Ken Beck also advanced from Tuesday's primary. Beck has been involved in local politics for years, but usually been behind the scenes, helping others get elected. Now it's his turn.

"I decided that, you know what, I think we have an obligation," he said. "I want to continue serving as much as I can. Hopefully, coming in April, people will allow me to serve them."

Beck likes the idea of new blood on the City Council.

"I feel that we just have to get people involved and step up to the plate," he said.

The third challenger is Ken Reeder. Reeder is no stranger to the City Council chambers. He is at almost every meeting and has been a watchdog over current council spending.

"Every common Joe, just the basic taxpayer, he just wants his voice to be heard," Reeder said. "He wants things to be more transparent. He doesn't want to have to dig down to know what's going on with city government."

As for being involved in the political process, Reeder says it's a good time.

"I enjoy every minute of this," he said. "I've been on the phone all day with people saying thanks a lot. We're with you."

O'Dell, Beck and Reeder join incumbents Myers, Boyer and Penland in the general election. The top three will get elected into the at-large council seats.

In the one other contested primary on Tuesday, in District V, Mary Attebury advanced along with incumbent Barbara LaBass.

KQ2 will have profiles on all of the candidates in coming weeks in advance of April's election.

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