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Mayor, 3 council seats up for grabs on April 4 

Public safety and development are leading issues for the eight candidates 

Posted online

The office of mayor and three Springfield City Council seats are contested races in the April 4 election, with two candidates filing for each seat. 

Only one incumbent, three-term Mayor Ken McClure, is contested in a reelection bid. His challenger is Melanie Bach. 

Running for the Zone 3 seat, to be vacated by Councilmember Mike Schilling, are Brandon Jenson and David Nokes. 

Running for General Seat C, to be vacated by Councilmember Andrew Lear, are Callie Carroll and Jeremy Dean. 

Running for General Seat D, to be vacated by Councilmember Richard Ollis, are Bruce Adib-Yazdi and Derek Lee. 

The mayor serves a two-year term, while council members serve for four years, according to the city’s charter. 

Two council members are up for reelection but are running unopposed. They are Abe McGull of Zone 2 and Monica Horton of Zone 1. Springfield Business Journal did not include unopposed candidates in this Q&A.

All candidates with opposition completed a questionnaire provided by SBJ. Selected answers appeared in the March 20 print edition with full responses below. Candidates were asked to limit themselves to 100 words per response.

What is the most urgent issue that drew you into the race, and where do you stand on it?  

Melanie Bach (Mayor): I decided to run for mayor after experiencing firsthand the marginalization of our neighborhoods and the deep disconnect that currently exists between our city government and its citizens. Fresh, new perspectives on Springfield’s City Council will help effectively implement the new Forward SGF plan, encourage responsible preparation for future anticipated growth and ensure Springfield’s history and identity are preserved. 

Ken McClure (Mayor): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] Springfield’s mayor is limited to serving four two-year terms, and my primary motivation in seeking this final term is fighting and reducing crime. To make meaningful long-term progress on this goal, we must have a fully staffed, well-trained Police Department. We’ve taken some steps in that direction, but there is much more work to do. Talent recruitment and retention is also a challenge for our Fire Department. Council has an important role to play in ensuring there are well-designed plans and resources in place to attract, retain and train the public safety professionals we need. 

Brandon Jenson (Zone 3): Rebuilding trust and credibility with residents and business owners/developers within the city is paramount to our future. The city's development process is not working in today's climate. It doesn't encourage meaningful and actionable feedback early in the process from residents, it doesn't provide predictable outcomes for developers who are putting capital on the line and it doesn't work for the city, as demonstrated by the number of high-profile development cases that have occurred recently. Figuring out how to ensure everyone has an equal seat at the table will allow for the best possible development that is community supported and financially feasible. 

David Nokes (Zone 3): Public safety and crime prevention. I am uniquely qualified to address these issues, which have shown up as top priority on multiple community surveys. My stance is to provide our great Police Department the resources they need and the support they deserve. 

Callie Carroll (Seat C): The most important issue to me is public safety. If Springfield residents don’t feel safe in their homes, neighborhoods and businesses, then we will struggle in all other areas. It is critical that our police and firefighters have fully staffed forces. We must focus on hiring and retaining the best talent when it comes to our public safety. Our officers need to have the right technology and training to adequately support them in their jobs. We need to continue to increase communication between public safety officers and Springfield’s citizens.  

Jeremy Dean (Seat C): Keeping our tax dollars local and maintaining a healthy business environment within Springfield. I believe that we should invest into programs to encourage use of local resources, services and businesses. Favoring Springfield businesses when forming commercial contracts will allow us to keep our tax dollars local, increase job opportunities, allows for development to be done faster and more efficiently and gives us the pride of knowing that we built this city. 

Bruce Adib-Yazdi (Seat D): The most important issue for me is the planning and execution of Forward SGF. There are several items in the hands of council now that will inform the execution plan, such as adopting a new zoning code, downtown parking study, housing study and the study of Lake Springfield. We need to generate a vision that takes all those things into account and that will lead to developing a city that young, diverse people would want to live in. Generating a vision and executing that plan will help solve many of the issues we are facing today, such as housing, crime, poverty and home ownership.  

Derek Lee (Seat D): Urgent issues did not draw me into the race. I have considered running for council for years. My family and I have a heart for service and have served mostly through our church and the schools the entire time we have lived in Springfield. While serving at my church, I was in a children’s school camp where I ended up helping with the face-painting team. I discovered that I am not good at face painting. I decided to serve the community in an area that more aligns with my skill set of working with small businesses.  

Workforce struggles continue for America’s businesses, and Springfield’s as well. The city’s unemployment rate stood at 1.9% in December 2022, the most recent figure at the time of this questionnaire. As just one example, the co-owner of 19 Springfield-area McDonald’s restaurants, Teresa McGeehan, told Springfield Business Journal she is down 10-20 workers per store. Do you have a specific idea for council action that could attract workers or otherwise to alleviate the workforce problem in the city?  

McClure (Mayor): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] Council’s leadership in prioritizing economic vitality has enhanced our strategic approach to strengthening the ecosystem that fuels a vibrant local economy and grows our working population. Efforts also include more access to workforce training/education/apprenticeships, and investment in infrastructure/quality of place assets like Grant Avenue Parkway and Hammons Field. Springfield was #1 in a recent Wall Street Journal study that identified what remote workers value in a place to live. Strengthening these attributes, like access to broadband, outdoor amenities and housing, make a city a place people want to live. Studying and impacting housing issues is also certainly a current focus.  

Bach (Mayor): The city’s Workforce Development Office could be asked to target potential youth workers in cooperation with Springfield Public Schools and area private schools to bring more high schoolers into the workforce. Springfield could even explore partnering with local companies by matching small sign on bonuses that would become available after continued employment for a specified period. As the parent of three employed children between the ages of sixteen and twenty, I have witnessed my children gain tremendous independence by working part time while in school. Working teens could potentially help Springfield’s poverty level by easing their parents’ overall household financial burdens.  

Nokes (Zone 3): Many business owners have reached out to me with the exact same experience as Ms. McGeehan. This challenge is occurring across all entities from service, retail, governmental and manufacturing. I do not believe there is a local government solution other than providing a business-friendly environment that allows operators to focus on recruitment efforts and allows our citizens to continue accessing the goods and services provided by local businesses. 

Jenson (Zone 3): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] Ensuring that resources are made available for residents in the workforce, including attainable housing and quality, affordable childcare, will be critical to supporting working families and increasing labor force participation. The State of Missouri has recently announced new tax credit programs for childcare and an increased allocation for housing through the Missouri Housing Development Commission. The city should support all efforts to promote the flow of these state and federal funds into our community to ensure working families and citizens not participating in the labor force see reduced barriers to gaining meaningful employment and contributing to our local economy. 

Dean (Seat C): Retention of young people in our city could be vital to solving this issue. Through increased youth support for career and financial preparation, we can ensure we are setting our young people up for a more successful life and increasing the likelihood of them staying in Springfield. By keeping our young people in Springfield, we will have a larger workforce, and one that will fit the necessary requirements to fill these roles.  

Carroll (Seat C): Long-term actions that can help with this problem include investing in quality of place amenities that make Springfield a desirable place to live. Projects such as daylighting Jordan Creek and Grant Avenue Parkway will have that kind of impact. Short-term actions that can be made by council to help alleviate the workforce problem include approving workforce training that the city is investing in through the Workforce Development team and increasing the communication with employers and job seekers about these opportunities and initiatives. It’s also important for businesses and industries to engage with high school and college students before they graduate.  

Lee (Seat D): The struggles at the McDonald’s are also shared by my company, the police department, the fire department, Greene County, Mercy and about everywhere else. It's a nationwide problem with federal and local assistance available. We need to work with small businesses to provide access to the available programs and to see what they need. My focus will be on listening to small businesses and aiding where they need it as opposed to directing programs that suit my background. I would vote to direct existing dollars where stakeholders like the ones mentioned above see the biggest need. 

Adib-Yazdi (Seat D): Our population growth rate has been 1.4-1.7% for decades. To help satisfy workforce needs, we need to find ways to increase that percentage by creating a city where people are attracted to stay and want to live. We have been saying that for many years, and I believe we have begun to turn the corner, as we are starting to see young people move away, then come back. It’s time to take bold action to achieve this goal.   

The U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey from 2022 found that 21.1% of Springfield residents live in poverty, and, based on average home values ($122,200) and average household income ($37,491), that survey ranked the Queen City as Missouri’s poorest. Is council doing the work it needs to do for the city’s poor residents? 

Bach (Mayor): Unfortunately, Springfield doesn’t have resources readily accessible to answer questions like these. Many Springfield citizens are concerned about what is being done to help our city’s poor residents but are unable to find detailed information on what funding Springfield receives, how it is being spent and whether the programs it funds are successful. Springfield needs to promote transparency through easy online access to help ensure citizens can have confidence that our city’s investments to help the less fortunate in our community are sound and effective.

McClure (Mayor): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] I am grateful to our nonprofit community for partnering to strengthen the most economically vulnerable citizens in impactful ways. Recent data from Prosper Springfield indicates that Springfield and Greene County continued to reduce the overall poverty level – just 0.4% from reaching its 2025 goal of 5% reduction. American Rescue Plan Act funding provided us with a real opportunity to focus on solutions together and to consider what might work best for our city. In total, with HUD funding, we have approved about $12 million for projects such as affordable housing home ownership programs and a day center.

Jenson (Zone 3): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] The city utilizes its Housing and Urban Development funding according to its Annual Action Plan, and at least 70% of the funding must be utilized to benefit low- and moderate-income households. Council should continue to support these funding streams and ensure programs are structured to adequately meet the needs of these families. Additionally, recent state regulations have created challenges in providing locations where homeless residents may occupy, making it illegal to occupy public land. As a city, we must identify opportunities to provide stable living environments, along with necessary supportive services to assist these citizens in becoming more-productive members of our community.

Nokes (Zone 3): As private business thrives, so do opportunities for uplifting many of our community members from poverty. Much of the great work in our community is fueled by private business and private donations. I trust that as our community sees a need they are much more resourceful, creative and nimble to address the needs of our community. Local government plays an important role to facilitate the paths but should not be solely placed on City Council’s back. We have an amazing community, one of the most generous in the nation. 

Carroll (Seat C): If our economy is not growing, we can’t address the needs of those in poverty. We must ensure we have a good business climate in Springfield in order to help those in poverty. The city has a role in bringing nonprofits to the table to collaborate on reducing poverty. Prosper Springfield is a great example of success. The work council has been doing in focusing ARPA funding on addressing homelessness and housing is also helping address the poverty issue.

Dean (Seat C): The work that the city provides to our poor residents will never be enough. We cannot stop working to make life better for our neighbors until every person has a safe environment physically, mentally and financially. Once that happens, we should continue to work to make life even better. As a city, we must dedicate ourselves to do more to invest into our local nonprofits and city-led initiatives to ensure that the resources we already have available are actually reaching the people they were designed for. 

Adib-Yazdi (Seat D): There are three factors at play here. 1. We need to reinvest in older neighborhoods and increase home ownership in those areas, which eventually leads to lower poverty rates. 2. At the same time, we need to create an environment that brings new kinds of jobs to our city. I think about the efforts to bring places like Lily-Tulip Cup factory and Zenith plant to Springfield. 3. We also need to start the unpopular discussion of annexing all the homes that are just outside the city. Those households need to be counted in the city statistics and become part of the city’s voting bloc. 

Lee (Seat D): The city of Springfield has dedicated significant resources to aiding the working poor. We need to support programs like Restore SGF that seek to bring private businesses and nonprofit organizations together with public funding to provide housing assistance for entry-level workers. We cannot rely on the federal programs associated with COVID relief that will dry up soon. We should emphasize the programs that include cooperative efforts between small businesses and nonprofits to maximize the dollars that are available. 

Some of the biggest sources of friction within the city recently have centered on development. When views of developers and residents collide, what is the main consideration that should drive a council member’s decision-making? Will you propose any council action or policy change related to this issue?

McClure (Mayor): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] As I look ahead, one of our greatest opportunities lies in implementing our Forward SGF comprehensive plan. Updating our codes and cleaning up the zoning map will result in development occurring in the most optimal locations for it, away from the areas that create these challenges. We need to open up the right opportunities, the right way, with these updates. There’s also guidance in the plan around proactive neighborhood planning, maximizing the unique character and safety of neighborhoods. This will ultimately benefit those who live here and those who want to invest in various kinds of projects such as housing, retail and more.

Bach (Mayor): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] The main consideration that should drive a council member’s decision-making in rezoning cases is the potential effect on the surrounding property owners and neighborhood. With a fast-growing, out-of-control rentership rate of 60%, rezoning any property from single family to multifamily should only be allowed where it is welcomed by surrounding property owners. Springfield needs to take a proactive approach to address the high number of vacant single-family homes to help alleviate the need for housing while keeping single-family residential neighborhoods intact. City Council should look for recommendations that would help bring these vacant homes back into Springfield’s housing stock. 

Nokes (Zone 3): Fortunately, there are many resources to guide a council member. Planning & Zoning (Commission) regulations, city staff, Forward SGF and the community. All these guiding principles should play a role in a council member’s decision. I do not have any specific policy changes in mind. I would maximize existing policies to find a win-win and commonsense approach guided by all stakeholders.

Jenson (Zone 3): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] I would work to engage all stakeholders to understand fact-based concerns and ensure the project is designed in a way to address those concerns, from both developers and residents. I would hope to serve as a mediator to ensure we have high-quality, community-supported development. Reviewing the development process and ensuring that it is accessible for residents and predictable for developers requires this collaborative approach. Additionally, I would like to see the city place a greater emphasis in guiding the market to invest in historically underinvested portions of our community through the creation of innovative incentives to assist with promoting development in the areas that need it.

Dean (Seat C): The first thing a council member should think about when making a decision is: “What do the immediately affected residents think about this issue?” As a city council member, I would be dedicated to putting residents and neighbors first. The people who live and invest into their chosen neighborhoods are top priority. As a council member, my first action will be to continue to attend neighborhood association meetings so I can continue to hear from the people of Springfield directly. 

Carroll (Seat C): This continuing division between development and residents is harmful for Springfield. The primary focus needs to be on updating codes as Forward SGF dictates. This would drive development to much better opportunities within the city and reduce the tension between neighborhoods and developers because it would move development to areas that are not in close proximity to neighborhoods. I don’t have a predetermined agenda related to this. I plan to take everything on a case-by-case basis and ask questions, listen to stakeholders from both sides, follow our ordinances, and make an educated decision about what is best for Springfield.

Lee (Seat D): Development is critical to provide jobs and the resources necessary to pay for public safety, parks and schools. Maintaining quality of life within our existing neighborhoods is equally important and should be valued by each council member. As a civil engineer who routinely works on zoning cases, I have a long history of working with neighborhoods to move quality projects forward with the support of most neighbors. I have observed while door knocking that some citizens have become so anti-development that they see victory when development fails. We need leaders who will support both sides and look for compromise.

Adib-Yazdi (Seat D): This is a civic engagement issue. Neighborhoods need to engage with the city to generate or update their urban conservation districts so that development around their boundaries can become more predictable. Then, individual zone council members and senior staff should be involved with projects at the inception to facilitate and mediate when necessary. Civic engagement is a bi-directional conversation. I would also consider a charter change that the Planning Commission be considered a “go-no go” in lieu of recommendation. 

Should the city simplify and accelerate the permitting approval process? Are there other actions council should take to incentivize economic development in the city?  

Bach (Mayor): I have spoken to many skilled workers in the Springfield community that have described our city’s permitting process as terrible, especially when compared with neighboring cities like Republic. Our city’s website needs a complete overhaul, including the eCity permitting portal. Economic development in Springfield is important, but we are already struggling to find workers for the jobs we have. I think the main issues our City Council needs to focus on are crime and homelessness, so that we become more attractive to families that might be considering moving to Springfield for employment. 

McClure (Mayor): The city should always be working to improve and streamline processes. Council’s economic vitality priority certainly includes a broad expectation of process improvement in this area, and there have even been recent reports in SBJ that have praised related efforts/staff. More can be done through utilizing better technology, gathering stakeholder feedback/assessing customer satisfaction, professional development of the city’s staff and/or analyzing and sharing more internal data for the purpose of identifying obstacles and best practices related to current processes.  

Jenson (Zone 3): In my conversations with developers and homeowners, many folks have expressed concerns with the permitting process, whether it's an add-on to their personal residence or the construction of a major commercial development. These issues ranged from comprehensive and coordinated guidance provided by city staff to delays in inspections processes. Building Development Services Director Brock Rowe has made tremendous effort to improve these processes and is especially focusing on having adequate staff to ensure timely inspections that don't delay construction. Streamlining processes should be a continual focus of the city, though streamlining should not come at the expense of ensuring quality development that complies with all necessary regulations. 

Nokes (Zone 3): Springfield is in competition with surrounding communities for investment from homeowners, developers and businesses. I would be in favor of any commonsense simplification that helps us compete for investment in our community. When looking at incentives for economic development, we need to look at what surrounding communities are doing, make sure we are competitive and present a compelling case of why the city of Springfield is the preferred community for economic developers. Our community has a lot to offer and brings a lot to the table. Developers need the community, and the community needs developers, no way around it. 

Carroll (Seat C): Absolutely. Simplifying the permitting approval process removes unnecessary red tape and delays, which are costly to business owners and to customers. I would like to see more transparency around how long the process is taking on average and trend data related to permitting. That kind of data can be monitored and creates accountability. The city has an approved list of well-balanced economic development incentives that help attract new business/industry or help existing businesses expand. I think more data/reporting around use of enterprise zones and other kinds of incentives would be helpful in terms of understanding whether options are being used.  

Dean (Seat C): Springfield is due for revisions on many of our processes, including that of the permitting approval. As a city, we should make our city more inviting and less intimidating when it comes to bringing new business and development. Although it is important that we continue to involve the community in these decisions, we must also make it appealing for outsider individuals and companies to want to move here and residents to stay here to continue their investment in our city. 

Adib-Yazdi (Seat D): The process needs to become more predictable, but also more thorough. A more comprehensive environmental assessment should be established that goes beyond the standard checking of the boxes listed in the zoning code on how projects could affect their immediate environment. To facilitate economic development, we should identify potential “catalyst sites” throughout the city, not just the ones (as noted in the Forward SGF plan) located downtown. 

Lee (Seat D): Yes! The city code needs to be updated to encourage redevelopment. Codes are good and necessary to provide a functioning city. However, they continue to drive development away from our already developed corridors like Campbell, Glenstone and Kearney. I would like to use my expertise of working with the city code to provide practical solutions to zoning, parking, subdividing and many other regulated activities to provide the necessary codes without encouraging our small businesses to relocate to our surrounding communities with fewer cumbersome regulations. Springfield small businesses have choices and should be encouraged to redevelop here. 

In a 2021 survey to determine how to spend the city’s American Rescue Plan Act funds, 55% of Springfield respondents identified public safety and crime prevention as their top priority. What is your assessment of safety in Springfield, and what is council’s role in improving it? 

McClure (Mayor): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] Fighting and reducing crime is my top priority. Public safety is also one of council’s top priorities, which ensures focus and allocation of resources. Council approved $6 million in ARPA funds for police retention pay and made policy changes to remove other obstacles to hiring additional officers. That’s a strong start, but there’s more to do. A fully staffed, well-trained police department is the most important element of a plan to reduce crime. Having the police chief report to council routinely is creating more visibility and accountability. Police department collaboration with neighborhoods and the business community is also key to progress.  

Bach (Mayor): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] The survey also revealed that the lowest priority of choices provided was public facility preservation and enhancement. While City Council did approve the use of $8 million in ARPA dollars for retention pay for all full-time fire department, police department and health department staff in January 2022, it also allocated the largest percentage of ARPA funding for the lowest priority indicated by survey respondents (approximately $20 million for [park and] facilities projects). Springfield needs to raise the pay of all existing officers and explore hiring bonuses using ARPA funding, and respect the input received from citizen surveys. 

Nokes (Zone 3): My assessment is not near as important as the assessment of our businesses, residents and visitors. My assessment reflects what I hear from the public feedback, which is they are concerned about rising crime. Five-year trending data from the Missouri Incident Based Reporting System (MIBRS) shows violent crime is trending up in Springfield. Council’s role is to make sure the police are provided the resources they need to fight crime and educate the public. As leaders the council also has a unique role to remove any barriers the police encounter in fighting crime.   

Jenson (Zone 3): Everyone wants to live in a community where they feel safe, can access the services and amenities they need, and have opportunities for their future. Reducing crime, and especially violent crime, is a top priority. We should feel equally as safe in our homes as visiting restaurants or shops. Our community also needs to support a rich diversity of businesses, parks and other amenities that are accessible by car, bike or transit. Once those two items have been established, we can begin to see economic opportunities that are available in our community, whether it’s a startup or entering into one of our well-established professions and trades. 

Dean (Seat C): Public safety is always a top priority. Without a safe community, we have nothing. I am dedicated towards working to fully staff our police department and fully funding them to ensure they have the supplies and training that are needed to create and maintain a safe community. I would like to see the [police area representative] officer program expanded for a more direct, community-based policing system and increasing the use of our local mental health providers, thus allowing us to have a direct response to our citizens’ most urgent needs.  

Carroll (Seat C): Council needs to continue to monitor safety metrics. This helps us reinforce what’s working and devote additional resources to areas that aren’t improving. Communication with stakeholders is crucial. Neighborhood watch programs need to be actively engaged and have open communication with officers. The police department recently responded to the concerns of a number of businesses by directing some available resources at targeted policing efforts in a specific geographic area of the city. While it is still new, indications are that it may be an effective approach. Ultimately, though, to sustain these strategies effectively, council must prioritize a fully staffed force.  

Lee (Seat D): Public safety is the number one issue facing Springfield. It's the issue I hear most about when I am out knocking on doors. It affects us all. My business has had repeated vehicle break-ins and catalytic converter thefts. The straightforward fix is to provide a fully staffed police force. We are down too many officers to be proactive. Springfieldians know that when they call SPD with property damage that nobody responds. My goal is that the city will have sufficient public safety resources to ensure residents and business owners will receive a meaningful response to crimes that affect our property. 

Adib-Yazdi (Seat D): This is a complex topic and requires many stakeholders’ inputs and collaboration. In short, I believe that City Council’s role in improved safety will take 3 steps: 1. Ensure that the funding for officers, their training and other needs stays in place and grows to stay competitive in the market. 2. To help fill the current open positions on the force, the city should cast a vision that will attract a young, diverse population. 3. The city should support neighborhood associations in being formed and becoming more cohesive, which, over time, will also reduce crime.  

Please explain your ties to the business community and affiliated organizations and how those ties will inform your actions on council. 

Bach (Mayor): My ties are predominantly to Springfield residents, neighborhood associations, small businesses and local workers. I support businesses and neighborhoods working together to foster strong relationships that are beneficial to both. Businesses exist to make money and serve the community, and I don’t believe they deserve more influence on elected officials or over council decisions than any other stakeholder in this community.

McClure (Mayor): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] I grew up working in my father’s small business in downtown Springfield. I learned the fundamentals of economic development as deputy director of administration for Missouri Department of Economic Development. As chief of staff for a governor, I learned more about setting policy priorities and crafting legislative solutions. Working with numerous local nonprofits/community organizations and peer public servants around the state has also expanded the breadth of my local and state networks that provide data, perspective, and best practices. Ultimately, though, it is often the interaction I have with Springfield’s citizens, who reach out to share their concerns/solutions, that is the most impactful.

Jenson (Zone 3): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] In my previous role at the Southwest Missouri Council of Governments, I led the writing and implementation of the regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy. In that process, I worked with major stakeholders about their workforce and infrastructure needs. I've also assisted in securing grants that have supported economic expansions, including the recent Economic Development Administration award to the city of Springfield for access improvements to Springfield Underground. I have also previously participated in the Springfield Contractors Association to understand the challenges for local contractors in meeting demands of economic development, though I'm heartened by the collaborative efforts for the Build My Future event.

Nokes (Zone 3): My 35-year law enforcement career in Springfield (28 years policing and seven years as probation and parole officer) enabled a lot of interaction with businesses and nonprofit supportive organizations. These past ties have enabled communication built on trust and credibility. The experience I gained by working closely with these stakeholders has given me an understanding of their powerful positive impact they have in our community. Decisions made by council need to empower businesses and all organizations to be successful in their purpose.

Carroll (Seat C): I have a diverse array of ties to the community. I am active professionally in the business community through The Network and other organizations. I understand the importance of a healthy business climate. I’ve also connected with many different aspects of our community through the nonprofit and other boards I serve on. Being involved with many different organizations positions me well to convene stakeholders to find well-integrated solutions. There’s very little the city can do on its own – it takes collaboration. I’m very proud to be supported by several business and industry groups as well as the police and firefighters.

Dean (Seat C): I have no official ties to any business other than my employer, of which I am not an executive or purchaser, nor do I have any official titles within organizations that have direct ties to our city government. I live on the basis that transparency is key, and when it comes to our City Council, there should be no gray area in regard to possible conflict of interest or undue pressure from outside sources. I have a background in student leadership, health care operations and nonprofit work, and I intend to use this experience to help guide me when making decisions. 

Adib-Yazdi (Seat D): As an architect and partner at Butler Rosenbury & Partners (now BRP Architects), I worked with corporate clients such as Bass Pro Shops, O’Reilly (Hospitality) and Hammons Hospitality and have had insight to many visionary business leaders in our community as well as experience working in other cities across the country. My current work with Vecino Group has taught me a lot about real estate development and the affordable housing industry. My involvement with Springbike Bicycle Club and Ozark Greenways brought Springfield to become a Bicycle Friendly Community as designated by the League of American Bicyclists, and I currently sit on the Downtown Springfield CID Board. 

Lee (Seat D): On a weekly basis, I have a small-business owner call me to help expand their business, subdivide their property or better utilize their land. I routinely work with the city's regulations and know the obstacles they create to economic growth. Forward SGF has already prioritized revising codes, however nobody on the City Council routinely uses them. Individuals on the City Council appear to want economic growth but lack the familiarity with the codes to know how to achieve it. I can add practical experience in this area.

Please use this space to tell our business audience anything else they should know about you and your candidacy.    

McClure (Mayor): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] Data shared by a Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis economist in August of last year showed that our economic growth is trending above that of the state and nation. As mentioned, with unemployment low, it is vital we grow our working population. One of Springfield’s key strengths related to workforce, noted by the economist, was that our area population growth is increasing faster than in Missouri overall. The city’s financial position is strong. Year-to-date sales tax revenues are up 10%, compared to budget through January 2023. The 12-month trend, actual revenues are up about 15% compared to budget.  

Bach (Mayor): As mayor of Springfield, I will use my experience in public service, along with my education in criminal justice, law and mediation, and make decisions to help Springfield face its challenges head on. I will concentrate on rebuilding confidence and communication between our city government and the community. I will bring a community-first perspective to help ensure all Springfield’s challenges are viewed through the lens of the average citizen, not a special interest group. I will prioritize quality of life issues like crime, housing and poverty by enlisting the help, ideas and opinions of our community’s strongest asset – our citizens. 

Nokes (Zone 3): Thank you for your support during my law enforcement career in Springfield. No community can support public safety efforts without the tax dollars a hardworking business community contributes. My parents were small-business owners, and I understand the long hours, hard work and uncertainty that business owners face. It is now time for me to give back to the community with the unique skills I have learned from my successful law enforcement career. 

Jenson (Zone 3): The city of Springfield has a bright future if only we will let ourselves achieve it. To do that requires bold leadership and a strong command of how to make government work for those it serves. My experience as a local economic developer, city planner, and community advocate has uniquely situated me to work collaboratively with both the business and citizen community. On April 4, I hope that you give me the opportunity to leverage my experience and passion to get the job done. 

Dean (Seat C): [Editor’s note: Answer edited for length.] I believe in the power of investing in our next generation. By directly engaging with our young community, we can increase retention, spur community involvement, and ensure we are creating a community we can be proud of. Keeping our tax dollars local and putting residents first will be my top priorities. We need someone to be a voice for the 60% of renters, the 29% of individuals between the ages of 20-29 and someone who knows what it is like to be within a few paychecks of not being able to make ends meet. Everyone in Springfield deserves a voice, and I am dedicated to ensuring this happens.  

Carroll (Seat C): I’ve been at the table and engaged in a lot of community problem-solving and business initiatives to help grow our economy and attract and retain talent. I know how to bring people to the table to strategize, set goals and move forward to desired outcomes. I care about all of Springfield, and I’m not doing this with a narrow agenda. I know it is important to communicate, create benchmarks for accountability and have transparency in decision-making – that is what builds trust. I’m proud to be part of this community, and I want to serve.   

Lee(Seat D): I love Springfield! I'm not running for City Council because it's broken. I’m running to work with stakeholders and city staff to make it better. I have experience in meeting neighborhood needs and bringing multiple parties together to fix real-world problems. Successful collaboration between neighborhoods and small-businesses owners does not make the news, but it is the rule and not the exception. I have experience facing challenges and coming up with real-world solutions. I want to give back to a community that is thriving, and I desire for that success to continue. 

Adib-Yazdi (Seat D): As an architect, I see things holistically. My professional skills and experience developing complex projects in other cities will translate directly to helping council navigate the process of implementing new zoning code, and execution of the Forward SGF comprehensive plan in a meaningful way. It’s time for some fresh, long-term planning. I believe I have trained my entire career to be in this position, and I’m ready to serve. 


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Anyone who has worked with Derek Lee on any project knows that he is more than qualified for this position. While I am disappointed he can't paint faces, I do know he's a great engineer and always goes above and beyond for his clients!

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