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Columbia voters hit the polls

Tuesday, April 5, 2011 | 11:56 a.m. CDT; updated 2:53 p.m. CDT, Tuesday, April 5, 2011

COLUMBIA — It's election day and Columbia voters hit the polls early in the morning to pick candidates for two City Council ward seats, three vacancies on the School Board, a Boone Hospital Board of Trustees seat and decide the fate of two propositions.

Election judges at several polling locations said turnout was light, but here's what those who took the time to vote this morning had to say about the candidates and the issues:

The importance of voting

"It's a sin to pass up the opportunity to vote, especially as a woman. We've had that right for less than 100 years." — Mary Margaret Coffield, 59, Columbia Public School teacher, voted at Bethel Baptist Church

"People have died so we could do this. It's pretty important. These are the seeds that lead to the big election." — John Rentschler, 49, financial adviser, voted at Rock Bridge High School

"If you don't vote, then your voice isn't heard." — Randy Rinehart, 52, sales, voted at Rock Bridge High School

"I always vote for every election. It's my American way. If you don't vote, you don't have no say." — Jimmy Joe Stoots, 51, unemployed, voted at Paquin Tower

"Voting is a big responsibility and it's important to help with this process. It's a part of your civic duty." — Libby Miederhoff, 69, Republican election supervisor at Paquin Tower

"The candidates for school board and City Council included people who should be voted for, but also some that needed to be voted against." — Stephen Brietzke, 55, physician at University Hospital, voted at Bethel Baptist Church

“I feel like this is my civic responsibility to come to the polls, even if it's this early in the morning.” — Shaun Harper, 18, high school student, voted at Rock Bridge Christian Church

"I always try to vote. I guess it's just something that's important to me. It's empowering." — Julie Drury, 29, MU coordinator for Greek life, voted at the Boone County Health Department

"We vote all the time. If one doesn't vote one can't complain about the outcome of elections. It is important to have a vested interest in the community." — Jacqueline Kelly, 66, UM system, voted at Rejoice Free Will Baptist Church

“I try to vote all the time. The issues aren’t often sexy things, but they’re important. Often times, the sexy issues aren’t that important.” — John John, 58, real estate agent, voted at the Columbia Public Library

City Council race

"I came out to vote for specifically two things today - (Glen) Ehrhardt and Jerry Murrell.  If Jerry doesn't win, there won't be a single physician on the board. I also came out because a fire fighter knocked on my door, and I figure if they are out campaigning, I should get out to the polls."  — Jonathan Musco 34, resident physician, voted at Rejoice Free Will Baptist Church

“I’m a teacher, and I care about the school board, and I really like Helen Anthony. I’d like a woman on the council who really cares about development and planning — better planning than we’ve been having lately. I think we need to think about what Columbia’s going to look like in 20 years and not just where we’re going to put the cars next year.” —Jennifer Wax, 58, teacher, voted at Forum Boulevard Christian Church

"Are we going to let the development community push things through whatever they want or are we going to have some real discussion? To me, that's what this city council election, as was the last city council election, is all about." — David Brodsky, 29, Law student, Chairman of the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission, voted at the Boone County Health Department

"I came to support Helen Anthony. I think everyone should vote, so I try to be a cheerleader for it." — JoAnn Vessell, 55, oral surgeon technician, voted at Rock Bridge High School

"Glen Ehrhardt is a friend of mine. I vote in every election." — Sherry Corwin, 51, MU Health Care accounting manager, voted at Bethel Baptist Church

"I'm interested in the Fifth Ward race.  I like to have intelligent people on the council who can think for themselves." — Ted Farnen, 45, Missouri Department of Revenue, voted at Bethel Baptist Church

“There is important local issues involved in this poll. I voted for Helen Anthony mainly because of her position on infrastructure.” — Douglas Novinger, 41, resource scientist at the department of conservation, voted at Rock Bridge Christian Church

"I was paying attention to the First Ward. For me, a big issue here is sprawl. Are we going to figure out some way to develop the city in a sensible and sustainable way? I think that Fred Schmidt, for me, articulated the best way forward in that regard." — Charles Reineke, 48, MU research publications editor, voted at the Boone County Health Department

"I was really disappointed by that campaign in the fifth ward. Towards the end there were lots of negative sides and very few concrete suggestions.” — Tom Frankman, 48, advisor at William Woods University in Fulton, voted at Rock Bridge Christian Church

"I voted for Fred Schmidt so that Mitch (Richards) doesn't win, cause I don't think that he'll be productive. I think he'll just stand up there and puff his chest out and be anti-tax constantly, which isn't really always good. Old Darrell never really turned out for nothing, and Pam, I don't know, she had a pink stool. That didn't really do it for me." — Patrick Earny, 37, structural engineer, voted at the Boone County Health Department

School Board Race

"I voted for Liz Peterson only. Choosing three people on one ballot is a poor way to vote for school board." — Rick McGuire, 63, former MU track coach and head of the MU sports psychology program, voted at Bethel Baptist Church

"I don't want to have someone on the School Board with a religious agenda for public schools." — Mary Margaret Coffield, 59, Columbia Public School Teacher, voted at Bethel Baptist Church

"There are lots of tough issues on the school board with the financial bind we are in. Strong leadership on the board is a necessity." — Deanna Weiner, 56, human resources, voted at Bethel Baptist Church

“I payed a lot of attention to the board of education election because my grandkids are going to school here. I was really affronted by the candidate who mentioned that she was Christian on her campaign boards. This is a secular election for public schools. The fact that she is Christian doesn't have anything to do with this.” — Carol Fleisher, 63, director of the MU veteran center, voted at Rock Bridge Christian Church

"We need people who want to improve the schools and fund them appropriately; provide the funding adequately for robust education programs for our children." — Graham Higgs, 58, MU psychology professor, voted at the Boone County Health Department

"Whoever is on the School Board needs to be concerned about all of the issues in Columbia and not pushing their agenda." — Jennifer Howard, 27, teacher, voted at the Boone County Health Department

Proposition 1: Stipends for City Council members

“I supported Proposition 1. I think that council members put a lot out there. Believing that they can do all the work for free is just not enough.” — Barbara Churchill, 53, retired, voted at Rock Bridge Christian Church

"The mayor and the council people should get paid because everybody else gets paid. It's not fair. The only people that can do it are rich people then." — Steve Rae, 59, housekeeper, voted at Paquin Tower

“It is about time to give people who serve this city at least a small compensation." — Bob Parks, 86, retired, voted at Rock Bridge Christian Church

“The stipends for the council members we are talking about are such a little amount of money that it doesn't really matter.” — Sheldon Shade, 34, works for the Republican party in Jefferson City, voted at Rock Bridge Christian Church

"Paying the City Council people is really important. I'd actually really like to see it be higher. I think that needs to be more of an actual job where we have professional City Council people who are truly doing oversight of city staff and the city manager." — David Brodsky, 29, Law student, Chairman of the Columbia Planning and Zoning Commission, voted at the Boone County Health Department

“I think it’s my duty to be a part of government. I think the stipend issue is important, they should be given enumeration for their hard work.” — Richard Wolken, 77, retired optometrist, voted at the Columbia Public Library

"Since it's such a small amount of money, I think things like City Council stipends are a no-brainer." — Barb Vigil, 63, training coordinator with Child Care Aware, voted at the Activities and Recreation Center

"I think it’s time the council be paid. They spend a lot of time on city business, they spend some of their own expenses, so it just seems to me like it’s the fair thing to do.” — Bob Black, 68, retired, voted at Forum Boulevard Christian Church

“If there was one particular item that I’m interested in, it is the payment of a stipend — or whatever they want to call it. I believe that (serving on the City Council) is a public service that you do from your heart. If you feel strongly about it, it’s a sacrifice you make ... I don’t think it’s a significant amount of money that would make a difference in whether they can serve or not.” — Barbara Stephens, 61, works for Missouri School Boards’ Association, voted at Forum Boulevard Christian Church

Proposition 2: Energy center bond issue

"I wanted to vote against the energy center bond because it seems like such a wasteful process." — Patrick Earny, 37, structural engineer, voted at the Boone County Health Department

"The power plant would take money out of the schools, and it is a matter of control. We don't need the city controlling more things than they already are." — Archie Jackson, 60, volunteer ministry worker, voted at the Activities and Recreation Center

Boone Hospital Board of Trustees race

"I work at Boone Hospital, so voting for the trustee was important to me. It's important for women to vote because it hasn't been that long since women weren't allowed to vote." — Betty Cramer, 53, registered nurse, voted at Rock Bridge High School


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