Candidate eyes school conditions

No other aspirants have filed for the City Council position.
Thursday, January 20, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 2:57 a.m. CDT, Sunday, June 29, 2008

Gayle Troutwine has filed for the Fifth Ward seat on the Columbia City Council that will be vacated by incumbent John John when his term expires in April.

Troutwine, a lawyer and mother who has lived in Columbia for about two years, said she decided to file because nobody else had.

“I feel compelled by the circumstances,” Troutwine said. “My number one factor was that nobody else had stepped up to the plate.”

Troutwine has practiced law since graduating from the University of Missouri-Kansas City Law School in 1978 and is licensed to practice law in Missouri, Oregon, Washington and Hawaii. She has also acted as an advocate of women’s health and reproductive rights.

Troutwine is concerned about the conditions of city schools, particularly Grant Elementary, which her daughter attends. Although she believes the city’s quality of education is good, she cited several health and safety concerns such as problems with the school district’s mobile classrooms. Troutwine suggested that the city should send a health inspector to check them out.

“I have a 7-year-old daughter who has to walk out in 10-degree weather to go to the bathroom,” Troutwine said. “We wanted to bring in a fish for the classroom, but we can’t because extreme temperatures can’t be controlled in the trailers.”

Columbia resident Nicole Fulcher has known Troutwine for a few years and signed the petition Troutwine needed to file for the election.

“She’s been very active with the Grant School district,” Fulcher said. “She’s very progressive, very educated and well-rounded. She could add a lot to the community.”

Columbia resident Nita Brooks also signed Troutwine’s petition. Although she doesn’t know her personally, Brooks said she would like to see a woman on the council and commended Troutwine for her willingness to take on the time commitment a council position requires.

Brooks, also president of the Trailridge-Greenbriar Neighborhood Association, said Troutwine supports the group’s efforts to stop overdevelopment around the neighborhood, where landowner Dan Stohldrier unsuccessfully fought to build townhouses last summer.

Troutwine said quality of life is important. Breathable air, transportation and street conditions are priorities for her.

“I would hope to bring the point of view of a woman and a concerned parent,” Troutwine said. “If I hope to accomplish anything, it would be that that voice is heard.”

In the First Ward, Almeta Crayton remains unopposed in her bid for election to a third council term.

City Clerk Sheela Amin said nobody else had filed petitions with her office as of Wednesday evening. The filing deadline is 5 p.m. today.

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