COLUMBIA – Sixth Ward voters decided no change is necessary when it comes to their representation on the Columbia City Council.
Cheers filled the Pasta Factory downtown at incumbent Barbara Hoppe's election watch party as poll results flowed in. Sixth Ward residents voted in Hoppe's favor. She garnered 662 votes, or 59 percent, to opponent Rod Robison's 460 votes, or 41 percent, far less than the margin she won by three years ago.
Hoppe, who won her second three-year term, ran on a platform of "vision" and "experience." She has a record of community involvement, including founding the Boone County Smart Growth Coalition and being a member of the Green Belt Land Trust, on top of her single term as a council member.
She said she will continue serving the Sixth Ward by continuing to focus on "the big picture."
"There shouldn't be any surprises for the next three years," Hoppe said. "The goal is to make Columbia the shining star of the Midwest."
Those who attended Hoppe's celebration weren't surprised to see her keep the seat. Dick Parker, professor emeritus of political science at MU, said he was happy that Hoppe will be able to continue her service.
"She's moving the city in the direction it needs to be moved ... (to) something that will be here a long time," Parker said.
Robison spent the evening at Sky Hi Bar and Grill off Old 63 South with a small group of friends and family. He said he had hoped his "balance" campaign would win him the seat, and he didn't rule out running again.
"If three years from now I feel my interests still aren't being represented, I'll do it again," Robison said. "I think I learned a lot about how it's done, and I think I'll be a stronger candidate."
Growth and public safety issues resonated throughout the campaign. Both candidates said the Columbia Police Department's budget should not be cut. The Columbia Police Officers Association endorsed Robison.
Hoppe said she views growth throughout the Sixth Ward and Columbia holistically, looking at every angle and working to achieve results that benefit developers and other residents equally and benefit Columbia over the long term.
Robison said he would have taken a hands-on approach to growth and development, examining each proposal before the council for its merits.
Hoppe said last night that she's looking forward to another three years on the council.
"Athough it's a lot of work, it's really rewarding to see the difference you can make in the neighborhoods and the city," Hoppe said. "I'm ready to see what I can accomplish."