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Voters’ Guide: Seek, Pousosa and Kaye jostle for vacant council position | Elections







Three people are seeking to fill a vacancy on the Jefferson County Board in the Aug. 2 election.

The District 5 seat has not been filled since April, when Tracey Perry, who was in the final year of her first four-year term and did not seek re-election, resigned amid questions about her residency in the district.

The six remaining board members agreed not to immediately name a successor, a process that would take several weeks, but instead decided that the winner of the Aug. 2 election would be named to the District 5 headquarters as soon as possible after the election.

This person would serve until January, when he would be sworn in for a full two-year term.

Three Republicans are vying for the seat: Scott Seek, Tony Pousosa and Robert “Bobby” Kaye. No Democrats ran for the seat.

County council officials are paid $11,650 per year.

LOOK FOR, 47, de Festus worked in Jefferson County for nearly 15 years as a financial advisor. He and his wife, Jodie, have two children. He attended Jefferson College in 1994, received an EMT Paramedic Education certification from Hannibal-LaGrange College in 1999, graduated from Truman State University with two bachelor’s degrees in 2003, and received a master’s degree in business administration from the Fontbonne University in 2008.

Website/Social Media: Facebook: scottseekjeffco

POUSA, 51, from Herculaneum, is a registered nurse at Barnes-Jewish Hospital. He and his wife, Kelsi, have three children. He earned a nursing degree in 2000 from Missouri Baptist University.

Website: tonypousosa.com

KAYA, 29, de Festus is the president of Lorenzen Candle Corp. He and his wife, Rebecca, have two children. He took courses in mechanical engineering and aviation management at St. Louis University before dropping out to start a business.

Website: kayetoday.com

What experience do you have (elective mandate, civic organizations, volunteering, etc.) that could serve you well in this position?

Look for: I have spent over a decade working in Jefferson County to help improve the lives of our community. I grew up in Jefferson County and ran a successful business here. I am involved with a number of growth and citizenship organizations including the Jefferson County Growth Association, Jefferson County Tourism Commission, Rotary, Trailnet, YMCA Board of Directors, and others. When asked to serve, I stand up and serve with pride.

Landing: I served as an alderman in Green Park from 2007 to 2019 and a member of that city’s planning and zoning commission from 2008 to 2018.

Kay: I sit on the Light the Night Executive Committee of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Canada. I was also an adult volunteer with the Boy Scouts for over a decade. I started a manufacturing business in my basement and grew it into a multi-million dollar business in five years. I have hands-on experience planning for the future, building consensus, executing strategies, and getting along with people of varying ages, backgrounds, and beliefs.

What are the biggest issues facing your county council district and how would you address them?

Look for: Our growth opportunities have never been better. I am committed to helping stimulate the economy through tourism, the port system and trade throughout the region. I will support increasing our broadband capabilities. Our county government needs major overhauls, from the jail and courthouse to parks, planning and zoning. I will champion growth in the air, land and water, using our abundant resources. By focusing our efforts on attracting the right people to Jefferson County, we will be able to expand our reach around the world.

Landing: I would restore checks and balances to county government. I would improve the P&Z process by allowing people to voice their concerns about future developments. I would provide notification on the county website and local public media, not attorney publications, for all developments, special meetings and open houses. We need better management information systems. Currently, each department uses a different format, which causes delays. I would like tax notes to be used for all laws dealing with taxpayers’ money.

Kay: Support small businesses and keep taxes low. I know how hard it is to earn a dollar and how easy it is for the government to take it back. Trying to raise sales taxes during the highest period of inflation in our history, like what the county council did in the April election with the parks tax, was bad policy and would have the hardest hit our people on fixed incomes. I will fight to keep taxes and red tape low for everyone.

How would you rate the current Departmental Council and why? What improvements would you make?

Look for: C-more. He has accomplished a number of great things, from supporting tourism to working with the East-West Gateway Council of Governments through the Port Authority to move our county forward for growth. He tends to move through the workload with the appearance of impertinence. Although this may not be true, the optics have caused some conflict. I can create processes that will help improve public interaction with council and other councils to resolve issues. Our success is based on our ability to work with each other.

Landing: D-minus. Current council members, except for two, have pushed through developments such as polo fields in the Eureka area and apartment developments without listening to the people who live in those areas. We need to update the County Master Plan and County Charter with the goal of bringing more transparency to our government, giving voice back to the people, and restoring confidence in their elected leaders.

Kay: The county council is supposed to legislate and respond to voters. There are a few MPs who do not respond to their constituents when they call or email to ask questions, which is unacceptable. There has also been a problem with elected officials working for special interests pouring a lot of money into political campaigns instead of working for the people. I will work for the people I represent, which is why I self-funded my campaign and refused special interest money.

What role should the county council play in encouraging residential and commercial growth?

Look for: The planning and zoning process needs to be overhauled with technology to allow council to listen to the public. I want to work on our tax structure to remove the incentive to build in order to fill the county with roofs. Property taxes should be replaced with use and business taxes so that our county’s success is driven by our value to the world, not how many homes we can cram into the county. We want to grow and focus on quality over quantity.

Landing: Identify and capitalize on the economic assets of the department, encourage free enterprise and innovation. Keep county ratepayers informed, including them in county decision-making and marketing where possible.

Kay: The council should create an environment that attracts well-paying, clean manufacturing jobs that support the community while keeping our environment free of contaminants. More products should be made in America, and we can help make that happen with low taxes and limited bureaucracy. Also, to protect Jefferson County’s rural character and ensure everyone has a say in the next master plan review. Smart development ensures the proper infrastructure is in place and residents and neighbors support the plans.

Why should voters elect you to this position? List your goals, if elected.

Look for: The issues facing our department are complex and require a long-term vision. It is vitally important that plans are transparent and reduce the amount of government intervention. I am for less government, less taxes and more growth. I understand our county government from the perspective of the economy and opportunities for growth. I see the dangers and the influence that China and others will cede. It will be very important for someone who is trained to deal with these entities to help usher in the growth that we are about to receive. I am the only candidate who ticks all the boxes.

Landing: My hands-on experiences as Alderman and P&Z Commissioner have given me valuable insights into understanding the delicate balance between community needs and the preservation of individual rights. My goals:

■ Support law enforcement and ensure greater transparency in county government. Voices need to be heard.

■ Update the master plan to include a new airport location as well as the charter, including residents in both processes.

■ Hold town hall meetings quarterly or as needed in the district.

■ Bring horses back to county parks.

■ Maintain the balance between urban and rural areas.

■ Address mental health and addiction issues.

Kay: I am not a career politician and have first-hand experience in setting goals and achieving them. I want voters to approve pay raises for elected officials – they should explain to voters why they deserve a raise to avoid conflicts of interest. Council members must be registered to vote at an address in the district they represent. Proposed county tax increases aren’t expected to appear on ballots until the November election. I will respond to my constituents in a timely manner and treat my fellow board members as I want to be treated.

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