Three candidates are competing for the opportunity to replace Fifth Ward Councilman John John on the Columbia City Council. John is stepping aside after serving two terms on the council. Here’s a brief description of each of the candidates:
Sunday, April 3, 2005 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 7:49 a.m. CDT, Wednesday, July 9, 2008

GAYLE TROUTWINE 112 W. Brandon Road

Gayle Troutwine is a lawyer and has lived in Columbia for two years with her daughter, Elizabeth Rose, who, Troutwine said, inspired her to run for the Columbia City Council.

Troutwine, 53, says life experience is the primary attribute that makes her qualified to serve on the council. She also says she can afford the commitment required of a council member.

Troutwine says she would like to help the council address public health and safety concerns, especially in Columbia’s schools. She has specifically cited problems with Grant Elementary School’s mobile classrooms, which she finds unsanitary because there is no place for students to wash their hands or go to the bathroom. She is also concerned about crime rates in the city.

Troutwine would like to see if the governments of Columbia and Boone County can save money by eliminating duplicate services. By doing so, she says, local government could avoid the need to raise taxes or impose new ones.

Troutwine graduated from the law school at the University of Missouri-Kansas City and has spent most of her legal career working in product liability. She is licensed to practice law in four states.

LAURA NAUSER 1002 Sycamore Road

Columbia has been Laura Nauser’s home for the past 13 years, and she wants to take on more responsibility and commit more time to improving the community as a member of the Columbia City Council.

Nauser says funding road improvements would be a priority if she is elected. She thinks everyone should share the burden of paying for road projects and would look for a multi-tiered approach to paying for such work.

City growth is inevitable, Nauser said, and she believes growth on the fringe is better handled by the city than the county.

Nauser is 41 and married with two children. She is a real estate closing officer with Boone Title Co., and her husband owns a small business.

She has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Columbia College and an associate’s degree in art from Consumnes River College in Sacramento. She grew up in Wright City and moved to the state of California, where she got her start in the real estate industry, got married and had her first child.

When she is not working part-time for Boone Title Co., Nauser spends most of her time caring for her 10-year-old son. She is a Cub Scout leader and attends Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.

Nauser has strong backing from local Realtors and contractors, whose contributions helped her raise more than $21,000 for her council campaign.

JOSEPH VRADENBURG 105 W. El Cortez Drive

Joseph Vradenburg has lived in Columbia for the past 10 years and has been interested in government since high school. He says he now has the time and resources to put that interest to use as a member of the Columbia City Council.

While Vradenburg says he is not an anti-tax candidate, he would like to find ways to cut the city government’s expenses before raising taxes. He suggests, for example, that the city might be able to save money by re-evaluating and changing the way the city insures its employees.

Vradenburg said people moving into new subdivisions should pay the majority of costs associated with any new infrastructure — such as streets, sewers and water lines — required to serve those developments. He opposes the proliferation of transportation development districts, which form to charge special sales taxes for road improvements, because he believes they take decision-making authority away from local government.

Vradenburg is a 40-year-old epidemiologist who is married and has two children. He earned his doctorate in anthropology at MU and has lived in Columbia on and off since 1986.

Vradenburg attends Sacred Heart Church and is a former member of the Benton-Stephens Neighborhood Association and the Columbia Pachyderm Club.

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