ST. JOSEPH — St. Joseph voters appeared to signal that they are happy with the direction of the city Tuesday, returning three incumbent commissioners to office in a six-way race.
Commissioner Lynn Todman garnered the most votes, at 909, followed by Commissioner Laura Goos with 844, giving each four-year terms. Commissioner Jeff Richards, the commission’s longest-serving member, picked up 789 votes and will serve a two-year term.
Among the challengers, Susan Solon received 766 votes, Al DiBrito received 652 and Shawn Hill picked up 514.
Todman, appointed in December 2017 to fill the unexpired term of Chris Heugel, said she was surprised to be at the top of the ticket.
“I never would never have guessed I would be the top vote-getter,” Todman said.
Todman sees the return of the incumbents as a vote of confidence “that residents want us to keep moving in the direction we set as a commission.”
She wants to see the city put into action the ideas in the overall master plan and the downtown master plan, which is nearing its final draft.
“It’s time to go to work,” Todman said.
Goos, who was finishing a two-year term, agreed that the results show that voters approved of initiatives presented, such as the creation of a sustainability committee on environmental issues, and a non-discrimination ordinance that protects the LGBT community, as well as the focus on fixing the city’s infrastructure.
She believes residents like the mix of views and backgrounds on the commission and don’t want to see that change.
“This community likes continuity, it likes predictability,” said Richards, who first came to office in 1984. “The vote shows we’re doing a good job.”
Richards couldn’t say whether this would be his last race.
“I can never project when it comes to me and public service,” he said. “I enjoy it a lot.”
He did promise to continue to work hard, to be accountable and present the facts to residents, while keeping government efficient and affordable.
“I will give 110 percent effort,” Richards said.
Richards complimented the challengers on running good campaigns.
Solon, retired as the city’s marketing and communications director, was making her first run for public office, as was Hill. DiBrito, a former St. Joseph deputy public safety director, was making his second run at a commission seat, and, along with Hill, had in 2017 sought the seat that was appointed to Todman.
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