Everything you need to know about the June 2nd Joplin City Council Race

Joplin’s upcoming City Council race slated for June 2nd, 2020 will feature five open seats available and 11 candidates vying for your vote.

Of the five seats available, there are two four-year General Seats, one two-year general seat, one Zone II seat, and one Zone III seat available.

Zone II Council Seat

The Zone II City Council seat will be vacated by Melodee Colbert-Kean.  Kean will not seek reelection after serving as a Council member for 14 years.

The candidates running for the Zone II seat are Jim Scott, Harvey Hutchinson, and Charles Copple.

  • Jim Scott is a Vietnam Veteran and former teacher who was born and raised in Joplin. 
    • Scott hopes to bring in industrial and manufacturing jobs to Joplin.  
    • He attended Missouri Southern before getting his degree in Electronic Engineering from the University of Missouri.
    • Scott has been a member of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce for 25 years and has served as the president of the Exchange Club of Joplin and the Joplin Amateur Radio Club. 
    • He has also served on the Board of Directors for the George Washington Carver Memorial Nursery. 
    • Scott is the owner of Scott Electronics in Joplin. 
    • This is his first time running for office.
  • Harvey Hutchinson has spent 40 years as a businessman in the private sector. 
    • He wants to further economic development and attract new industry to Joplin to help create jobs. 
    • He served on the Parks and Recreation Board from 2012 to 2018, the Joplin Capitol Improvement and Public Safety Sales Tax Oversight Committee in 2014, and Vision 2020 since 2017. 
    • He is also a member of the National Rifle Association.
    • This is Hutchinson’s third time running for City Council.
  • Charles Copple has served in the Joplin Fire Department for over 20 years. 
    • He is also a Co-Chair for Proposition B. 
    • If elected, Copple hopes to improve public safety, improve transparency, and bring back common sense government. 
    • Copple has not run for office before.

Zone III Council Seat

The race for the Zone III council seat will feature incumbent Phil Stinnett running against challenger Steve Urie.

  • Incumbent Phil Stinnett served on the City Council for several years, boasting the accolade of being the only candidate that has budgeting experience before the tornado that hit Joplin in 2011. 
    • Stinnett hopes his long-standing relationship with other city departments will help keep the city moving forward. 
    • Stinnett is also a leader in his church.
  • Steve Urie is a Joplin High School graduate. 
    • He went to professional nursing school in Florida where he graduated with his A.S.N. 
    • He became a traveling nurse until eventually returning to joplin in 1996. 
    • Urie’s experiences have given him a background in risk management, workers compensation, and budget balancing and maintenance. 
    • Urie hopes these skills, along with his 30 years of experience as a pastor, will make him an asset for the citizens of Joplin.

Four-Year General Council Seats

The two open four-year General Seats will feature four candidates in the race.

Councilman Taylor Brown chose not to run again leaving his seat open.

Keenan Cortez will run as the incumbent for the four-year general election seat after filling in for unexpired terms.

  • Incumbent Keenan Cortez was appointed to the council in March. 
    • He is a Marine Corp Veteran and has voted on issues like hiring the Joplin City Manager and the Joplin Tobacco 21 Ordinance.

The other three candidates running for the four-year General Council Seats will be Christina Williams, Shawna Ackerson, and Joshua Bard.

  • Christina Williams was born in southwest Missouri. 
    • From curbside recycling, to raising awareness for sexual abuse victims with a 600 mile bike ride, to raising $30,000 in two months to ensure every Kindergartner in Joplin Schools learns to ride a bike, Christina has been hands on at improving Joplin. 
    • Williams believes it’s important to consider the concerns of all citizens and wants to make decisions that will improve the quality and equity of life for all Joplin citizens.
  • Shawna Ackerson is a mother that understands the importance of community. 
    • If elected, she hopes to give back to the community that has supported and encouraged her and her family. 
    • She also hopes to bring amenities that young families desire. 
    • She hopes to be honest and transparent with her decision making process and represent the views and values of her community. 
  • Joshua Bard was born and raised in Joplin. 
    • He is a member of Capital Improvements and Public Safety committees.
    • He’s hoping to have more community involvement in Joplin if elected and looks to have the utmost transparency between him and the citizens of Joplin.

Two-year General Council Seat

The two-year general seat will be a race between incumbent Anthony Monteleone and Challenger Joshua Shackles.

  • Incumbent Anthony Monteleone has advocated political transparency during his tenure on the council. 
    • He provides recaps of the council meetings and breaks down the issues facing the city.
  • Joshua Shackles was a DJA Volunteer of the Year in 2016. 
    • He was also a part of the Peace Church Cemetery Preservation Project from 2015 to 2017 and the Nala Computer Lab Project in 2019. 
    • He is also a member of the Joplin Elks Lodge. 
    • Shackles wants to be open and communicative with the community and be the bridge between the residents and the council.

How to Vote

  • Voters must be in line at their polling place by 7:00 P.M. on June 2nd to vote.  Anyone who shows up past 7:00 P.M. will not be admitted to vote.
  • Voters must show one form of acceptable identification and sign the poll book to obtain a ballot.
    • Acceptable forms of identification are any ID’s issued by the state of Missouri, an agency of the state, or local election authority of the state.
    • Identification issued by the United States government or agency.
    • Identification issued by an institution of higher education including a university, college, vocational and technical school located within the state of Missouri.
    • A copy of a current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck, government check, or any other government office that contains the name and address of the voter.

Accessible Voting

  • Curbside Voting – Voters with limited mobility can vote curbside or outside a polling place.  All you have to do is have someone ask a poll worker to bring a ballot out to you.
  • Accessible Polling Places – If you have a disability and cannot access your polling place, you can request a different polling place to be assigned to you.  You can request this by contacting your local election authority or calling (800) Now-Vote.
  • Accessible Voting System – Every polling place must have accessible voting systems for residents with disabilities.
  • Permanent Absentee Voting – People with permanent disabilities can request to be placed on a designated mail-in absentee ballot list prior to each election.

Absentee Voters

  • Absentee voters must provide one of the following reasons for voting absentee.
    • Absence on election day from the from the jurisdiction of the election authority that a voter is registered to.
    • An inability to vote due to confinement from an illness or physical disability.
    • Religious belief or practice.
    • Employment as an election authority, as a member of an election authority, or by an election authority at a location other than the voter’s registered polling place.
    • Incarceration, provided that voting qualifications are met.
    • Certified participation in the address confidentiality program.

Click here to find polling places in Joplin.