Two more file for Fifth Ward vacancy

Friday, January 21, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 9:48 a.m. CDT, Sunday, July 6, 2008

Joseph Vradenburg and Stephen Reichlin filed petitions to run for the Columbia City Council’s Fifth Ward seat on Thursday.

The seat is currently held by Councilman John John, who will not run again. Three have filed to run for his seat.

Vradenburg is a 40-year-old epidemiologist in disease investigation and said he has worked for the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services for seven years. Vradenburg said he wants to become more involved with his community. He said he has been involved in various community groups, including the Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association. Vradenburg came to MU in 1986 for his master’s degree and permanently moved to Columbia in 1992.

“I went here and decided to stay,” Vradenburg said. “I wanted to help somewhat to shape Columbia’s future so that it would be a fine place for my sons to grow up.”

If elected to the council, Vradenburg said he would like to address issues of taxation and fees, as well as development. He cited the Green Meadows community as an example, noting that a few duplexes have gone up in surrounding areas.

“I think people have a right to develop their land, but not to the detriment of their neighbors,” Vradenburg said.

Vradenburg’s neighbor, Patsy Lewellen, said she is supporting Vradenburg because she would like to have a representative from her neighborhood on the council and admires Vradenburg’s pleasant disposition.

“He’s very personable and interested in the community,” Lewellen said.

Columbia resident Peggy Watkins, a friend of Vradenburg’s wife, also supports him.

“He just seems to be a nice family man,” Watkins said.

Reichlin, who also filed for the Fifth Ward’s open seat, is a 54-year-old painting contractor with two grown children. Reichlin said he has served on the Building Construction Codes Commission and would like to continue his involvement in the civic process.

“I’m a long-term resident of the Columbia community, and this is my opportunity to give something back,” Reichlin said.

Reichlin has one issue that he would particularly like to address if elected to the council.

“I would like to work toward balanced, rational growth,” Reichlin said.

Rhonda Carlson, a realtor and developer of CNC Construction, said she thinks Reichlin would serve well on the council.

“He’s knowledgeable about those types of issues that concern Columbia,” Carlson said. “He has a good head on his shoulders.”

Columbia resident Tammy Wilson said she feels the same way.

“I feel that he knows a lot about the city,” Wilson said. “He would be a great asset to the City Council.”

Gayle Troutwine, also of the Fifth Ward, turned in her petition to file for the election on Wednesday, and said she plans to stay in the race.

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