I was blessed with a hardworking family that cemented my work ethic early in life as I helped my dad in his appliance store in downtown Springfield. That early experience was the foundation of my love of this community.
I am proud of our city, and I am proud of the opportunities I have had to contribute. I have also had many professional opportunities that have enriched and informed me, including serving as Chief of Staff to then Governor Matt Blunt, as Associate General Manager-Administration for City Utilities of Springfield, as Deputy Director-Administration of the Missouri Department of Economic Development, and as Associate Vice President and later Vice President for Administrative and Information Services with Missouri State University.
In April of 2015, I was elected to serve as a member of the Springfield City Council and selected by my peers to serve as Mayor Pro Tem. In 2017 and again in 2019, the citizens of Springfield entrusted me with the privilege of serving as Mayor.
None of us could have envisioned what was in store for our community, or for the world, in 2020. Although this has been incredibly trying for so many, this challenge has also reminded me how proud I am of Springfield. We are resilient, innovative and collaborative.
Serving as your Mayor during a pandemic has reinforced for me the fact that good leaders seek wise counsel and work together. I have tremendous confidence in the collaborative decisions we have made, and I know that together we have saved lives. We have focused decision-making on local needs, while also working with you to develop preparations for reopening and recovery. I am grateful for your sacrifices, and I have done everything in my power to provide clarity in the face of overwhelming uncertainty and to make the best decisions with the best information available.
I also know that our collective work for Springfield’s future is unfinished. I am confident we can face our challenges and keep moving Springfield forward. I am honored to serve as your Mayor, and with your support, continue our work together.
Our strong local economy put us in a good position heading into 2020. But the global pandemic has presented unexpected challenges for Springfield, as it has across our nation. Our small businesses have been faced with incredible challenges and we must continue to work together to help ensure their economic recovery. We count on them for family-supporting jobs, and for the vitality that gives Springfield our own unique identity. As Mayor, I will continue to work with Council to ensure our agenda and city resources are focused on getting us back on track for a full economic recovery that benefits all our citizens.
We will work to make sure Springfield is open to new development and investment, while doing all we can to support our existing businesses.
Our coordinated efforts with K-12 and higher education are building the talent pipeline we must have to meet the needs of employers while giving people the tools and training they need to have access to better jobs. We have incredible education resources in this community that are working hard to develop the leaders of our future. I believe that quality jobs are the keys to success, and access to training and education are the elements that pave the way.
I will continue to ensure we are doing all we can to facilitate growth in our working population so that local businesses can work to grow quality jobs.
Ensuring the safety of our neighborhoods and our city continues to be a top priority. I am committed to supporting our police and fire departments. In recent years, we have made progress in key areas. Thanks to the support of voters – specifically their recent renewal of the Police-Fire Pension sales tax and the Level Property Tax – we have ensured that our police and fire departments have the training and equipment they need while ensuring the long-term solvency of our city finances.
I have seen our public safety leaders work hard to engage citizens. I have learned that we can make progress if we work together and avoid being polarized in a way that makes us feel we must choose one interest over another. We are seeing effective frameworks built to connect with citizens, to listen to diverse voices, to obtain solid data and to utilize all of that to inform a transparent decision-making process.
Likewise, we’ve seen it is important to listen to those serving on the public safety front lines, understand their needs, invest in training, and employ strategies to retain our very best talent. I have confidence in our public safety leaders and their desire not just to respond but to prevent problems, and to continuously improve.
We must continue to listen and be accountable and transparent in our “completed as promised” transportation and capital improvement programs. Thanks to strong citizen support for recent renewals of these programs, we will have the opportunity to look at our community’s comprehensive needs and develop a long-range plan. Working together, I believe Springfield should be the strongest transportation hub in the region. This takes planning and engagement at the state and federal levels. We are already on our way to this goal. I will continue to work with partners and stakeholders to get this done.
In addition, the announcement from City Utilities about the presence of broadband in Springfield will be transformational for the business and start-up community. And the timing for this is so important – our offices and classrooms have moved home during this time and access to high-speed Internet has never been more critical.
A top priority I heard from the business community was that we needed a new blueprint for the city’s growth and development. I am proud of our ongoing comprehensive planning effort, Forward SGF. That process has been highly productive with unprecedented public engagement, and the result will be a plan that will provide direction and allow us to maximize our assets and catalyze private investment.
City Council has also added a new priority, Quality of Place, which is vital in our effort to grow our working population so that local businesses can work to grow quality jobs. We acted on that priority by hiring the city’s first Director of Quality of Place Initiatives – an important step as we begin work on the Grant Avenue Parkway to connect a major tourism asset with our downtown. I am proud of our work to secure the $21 million federal BUILD grant in support of this impactful project.
We must continue and accelerate the efforts made in recent years to ensure our community is inviting to all people, so that everyone knows that Springfield is a welcoming city to live, work and raise a family.
The pandemic has proven the importance of remaining fiscally responsible and enacting sustainable policies to keep our community in a sound financial position. It is critically important to me to be a good steward of your taxpayer dollars and ensure the city spends those proceeds on your priorities.
I am proud of the Level Property Tax renewal voters approved in 2017. This important revenue source has been in place in this community for over 30 years and has funded capital improvements like Jordan Valley Park and the Grandstand and E-Plex at the fairgrounds. In the 2017 renewal, we made a commitment to increase our capacity to address ongoing needs with these funds, including lifecycle replacement of police cars and fire engines and staffing for new facilities, the development of new fire stations and ongoing infrastructure projects like storm sewers.
Corporate contributions are prohibited. LLC/Partnership donations may be permissible if not taxed as a corporation.
If you would like to send your donation by mail, please make checks payable to:
Citizens for Ken McClure
1736 E. Sunshine
Springfield, MO 65804
Paid for by Citizens for Ken McClure - Gordon Elliott, Treasurer