On April 2nd Jefferson City residents will decide on a new city council member in Ward 3. Two candidates are vying for the open seat that will be left behind by current councilmember Bryan Pope. Pope is not seeking re-election.
Ken Hussey and Leonard Stella are both vying for the open seat.
For Ken Hussey, his biggest concern for city council to address is current budget problems going on in the city. He said local government should be more transparent with city finances so that recent budget shortfalls don’t happen again. “To me, the biggest impact that we're going to have to make right away is reform our budgeting process, be more transparent when it comes to the budgeting and financial process.” Hussey said. “And, really take a hard look at what services are essential to the city, what can be cut to a certain extent and prioritize how we spend private tax dollars.”
Hussey says he also believes support for small business is a must. Despite never having served in elected office before, Hussey said his passion for Jefferson City and the local government as well as his community involvement are what make him a strong candidate.
Leonard Stella's campaign has focused mostly on the growth of Jefferson City. He said his main goal if elected to city council in Ward 3 would be to see the city expand. “Population-wise, we've been stagnant for too long,” Stella said. “Economic opportunities, I think, are not being pursued or we have to find a way to pursue them better to attract businesses into this town to see, just the economic vitality of the city improve.”
Stella has lived in Jefferson City for 28 years and served on city council for two terms from 1997 to 2000. Even though growth is his main goal, Stella said he also wants to see the city operate within its budget while expanding and improving.
Both candidates have expressed support for a new conference center, but in different ways. Stella would prefer the conference center to go in the area near Capital Mall while Hussey believes placement downtown would bring in more tourists.