HOT SPRINGS – On Tuesday, June 6, voters in Hot Springs will go to the polls and mark their ballot for two school board members, and if you live in the city’s Ward 1, you will also be voting for a representative on the Hot Springs City Council.
In the Ward 1 City Council race, incumbent Craig Romey will seek re-election against challenger Hal Glanville. All three of the other vacant city council seats are being filled by candidates running unopposed.
In Ward 2, the incumbent David Burris chose not to run for re-election and will be replaced by newcomer Travis Orback who was the only other person to submit a petition. Ward 3 and Ward 4 will see no change to their representation as incumbents Linda Varvel and Debra Johnston were the lone petitions received by city hall. This past Monday night, current Ward 4 councilperson Malisa Niles was reappointed to her post to serve out the remainder of a vacated one year term due to no one turning in a petition to fill it.
Other members of the Hot Springs City Council, whose seats are not up for re-election, include JR Huddleston, Bill Lukens and Larry Pratt, along with Mayor Bob Nelson.
In addition to the one city council election, there will also be an election for two seats on the Hot Springs Schools Board of Education, which are currently being occupied by Petra Wilson and Kathryn Burchfield. Wilson chose not to run for re-election but Burchfield did. She will be joined on the June 6 ballot by newcomers David Stewart, Darcie Engel and Guy Prescott.
Other members of the Hot Springs School Board, whose seats are not up for re-election, include Nikki Shaw, Brian Jarding, Robert Preuss, Ryan Walz and Colby Williams.
The two candidates on the June 6 ballot for the Ward 1 seat – along with the one individual who is running unopposed but is a newcomer to the city council– were sent questionnaires to complete and send back for publication in the Fall River County Herald-Star.
First, each candidate was asked to tell a little about themselves, and then answer the following questions:
1) What special skills, talents or experience do you bring to Hot Springs City Council?
2) What are the top two issues that most concern you regarding the City Council and its residents and how do you plan to address them?
Following are their answers to those questions. Next week, the newspaper will feature the four candidates running for the two school board seats.
HOT SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL WARD 1
Years in Hot Springs: 54
I grew up on Cuny Table, the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I moved to Hot Springs in 1970 to continue school because the reservation school only went to the 7th grade. I played football and was on the 1974 state championship team and was on the wrestling team. I was a boxer for the Hot Springs Boxing Team, Golden Gloves champion. I am an Army veteran and served with National Guard. I meet my wife in the 8th grade and we were married in 1975 after graduation. We raised 2 children. Steven and Jessica in Hot Springs. I enjoy building my hot rods and collecting antiques. I served on the Hot Springs Fire Department, Police Reserves, Ambulance service and dive team.
1) I have served on City Council for 8 years. I am knowledgeable on the budget process and how city government functions. In the past I have worked in water, sewer, streets and parks department so I have that experience also.
2) My main concern is the State Highway Project and the infrastructure getting replaced. I am here for the taxpayers and to make sure their taxes are spent appropriately. If any citizens has a concern they should contact me anytime to discuss it.
Years in Hot Springs: 8
I was born in Utah in 1949, so yes, I’ve rubbed the hard edge off middle age. I’ve lived here for eight years and have for the past six been involved in our city, which at times has been to the dismay of a few city officials.
Getting good education and learning a trade was very important to the the folks that raised me. To that end, I worked as a carpenter, iron worker and equipment operator. Along the way, I learned the basic skills of surveying and started my first of five businesses. During these years, I continued my education. In the end, I had a desire in structural drafting and the credits needed to test as “architect in training.” I chose to stay in the field of commercial construction as owner/tradesman.
My partner Linda Buresh and I cherish Hot Springs. We enjoy every split second of our well-earned retirement, which includes early mornings at Evans Plunge. We are members in good standing of “Thrift Stores Anonymous,” we fish our local lakes and each September, we line up for the Grand Stair Challenge.
A number of folks have asked about by platform. If elected, the voters of 1st Ward will help build that platform, so I, their representative, can start on the right foot. As for other city issues, I strongly believe listening, talking to all involved and common sense, solves most problems.
As an active citizen of Hot Springs and a veteran, I ask for your vote.
1) I have worked with various council members, the city administrator and Andrea Powers of SHEDCO regarding various ADA questions and the further expansion of the Freedom Trail. This year, I helped select the Can Man Scholarship recipients, became a board member and was asked to serve on the new Community Action Thrift Store Board.
2) One grown up problem that concerns me and may others is the growing “why bother” attitude that appears each election cycle. Well folks, if you don’t vote, you’ve lost the right to complain.
Another issue is growth. Hot Springs has a number of businesses thriving year round, employing local people at a fair wage. Some have expanded and others are looking at future growth. However, I believe we need the type of growth that will utilize the graduates of the Hot Springs High School vocational Programs.
HOT SPRINGS CITY COUNCIL WARD 2
Travis L Orback
Technology Coordinator for Hot Springs School District
Years in Hot Springs: 10 months
Originally from Colorado, I’ve spent most of my years on the West Coast or in the Rocky Mountains. Lisa and I have been married for 21 years this August and have a son and daughter, both nine years old. I’ve had success starting and maintaining a couple of very small businesses and now focus on taking care of the technology at Hot Springs School District.
1) I have a wide range of experiences in employment, small-business, and education. I’ve worked in the trades of horticulture, real estate investing, web development, and information technology. I advocate for and understand small businesses, agriculture, and technology. I was once a Master Gardener® in Oregon, a real estate wholesaler in Montana, and cryptocurrency creator in South Dakota. Additionally, I favor representative government and tend toward living under its ideals. I see my small business skills overlapping with being a councilor: self-starter, marketing/communications, sales, negotiation, analysis, etc.
2) I haven’t been a part of the Hot Springs culture long enough to have concerns. My goal for the first year is to build relationships with Ward II and the other councilors. I will focus on embodying the ideals of representative government, developing methods of communication, and contributing creative ideas to manage city growth. I will strive to meet with city employees, visit city assets, review city ordinances/statutes/bylaws, build relationships with surrounding area city councilors, and report back my thoughts to Ward II.
My goal for the second year includes meeting any goals I didn’t meet in year one, evaluating and documenting city strengths and weaknesses, gathering input from Ward II, reviewing the city’s Comprehensive Plan to see if it aligns with where we are today, and being a voice on the council for making the city attractive to residents and businesses.