Born and raised in St Joseph. Educated in St Joseph until I went to Missouri Military Academy, MU for college, and an MBA from Pepperdine University. Married and have raised two children here. Forty-Eight years in business in sales/marketing and other management positions.
Served on Buchanan County Tourism Board, United Way, Family Guidance Center (Board Chairman), Bishop LeBlond High School (Board), Missouri State Chamber of Commerce (State Board), Allied Arts Council (Allocation Committee & Trails West), Albrecht Kemper, Pony Express Museum and other advisory boards for the wire rope industry.
Our Candidate Summary
These assessments are based on the answers or lack of answers supplied by the candidates. John’s responses indicate a socially conservative and fiscally conservative position.
John on the Issues
What qualifies you for Mayor of Saint Joseph?
My strengths are business experience and the ability to communicate and lead people. I have worked with people in both a business environment and the community. I have run a business, balancing a budget and solving tough challenges.
How do you feel the mask mandate went in St. Joseph?
Was it well executed? No. Was it the right direction? No. It’s difficult to say, looking back. Part of the problem with the vaccination rollout was the mandate. The misinformation and changing info from the federal government made it difficult. In this part of the country especially, when you make something mandatory, it makes people skeptical.
Do you support policies that would permit males and females to share the same public restrooms, locker rooms, and showers, based on their self-identified gender instead of their natural born gender?
If faced with a budget deficit, would you support or oppose cutting spending rather than increasing taxes?
Part of my platform is fixing the budget. My history in business has taught me a lot in this regard. I do not believe in raising taxes. I am a hand-up person, not a hand-out person.
If the council were given $1M to use to fund projects in St. Joseph, what would you fund?
The city has been given $19M this year, and $19M last year, in various forms of COVID funding. The city took about half of that and put it towards the sewer to to lower the payments so we don’t have to raise the sewer rates again. The new children’s center is going up. Some of the money is going to Missouri Western. Some is going to the law enforcement branches. Pivotal Point and Mid-City Excellence also received money. All that money was allocated by a committee, made up of citizens from around the community, who had a say in where that money went. I like that, that’s the way it should be. It shouldn’t be any one person’s say, where the money goes.
Priorities for using the 2022 America Rescue Plan Act monies coming to the city.
Within the rules set out by the government (these need to be better explained to the people) we should use the money for opportunities to grow the city and support the organizations that have been impacted by the pandemic. I believe establishing a strong recommendation committee and letting them do their job is important.
Do you believe in equity (equal outcome) or equality (equal opportunity)?
Equal opportunity. I don’t believe in communism. I don’t believe in socialism. Give people opportunity to succeed. Like I said earlier, a hand-up, not a hand-out.
How does St. Joseph compare to Kansas City? What lessons can each city learn from each other?
St Joe is not KC. People tend to be negative about Saint Joe, but the problem we have is that we don’t know what we’ve got. We have a nice community with a smaller town feel, but all the amenities you could want, and just a 45 minute drive to the big city for everything else. Kansas City does have an advantage in that they can offer more white-collar jobs. In St. Joe we need to do a good job training for white-collar and bluecollar jobs. We are working to attract businesses that would bring more white-collar opportunies.
Merrick Garland stated that the greatest threat comes from racially or ethnically motivated violence, “specifically those who advocated for the superiority of the white race”. Do you agree or disagree?
BS! I have traveled all over the world and seen very different cultures and ways of life. Folks don’t know how good they have it here, with freedom to interact and express themselves. It seems like the first excuse everybody throws out is race, and the second excuse is the “have’s and the “have-nots”.
Are there circumstances where the city council can restrict the church from assembling? If so, under which circumstances?
No. Under no circumstances. People of faith, I don’t care what it is whether its Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, or what, that is their source of hope, and you can’t interfere with that.
Other remarks: Saint Joe is a “city manager” town. There is a full time, paid city manager. The city council is more like a board of directors if you compare it to a corporation, the Mayor being the chair of the board, while the city manager may be like the president of the corporation who actually runs the business. The city council sets policy. The Mayor needs to be the leader. The city council needs to be a team, and work well together. It’s not about one person, party, or agenda, it’s about the people. It should be the city management team’s responsibility to work with all the organizations in town to help them be successful.