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Meet the Candidates


The following Polk County candidates will face off in contested races in the Tuesday, April 4, municipal election. These candidates were invited to provide a photo and answer the following question: Why should voters cast their ballots for you instead of your opponent(s)? Responses were limited to 100 words, and some have been edited for length or clarity.

Bolivar Ward 1 alderman

Malcolm Green

I would like the opportunity to represent the people of Ward 1 on the City Council. I was born and raised in Bolivar. Over the last 10+ years, I have lived and worked in Ward 1, so I know a lot of the challenges that people face and things they would like to see improved. I am active in the community. Between coaching youth sports, being part of the Chamber of Commerce leadership, and taking part in other various civic groups, I have gained a lot of experience and knowledge that will be beneficial in leading Bolivar into the future.

Steve Skopec

Being the incumbent, I have a good working knowledge of the procedures for all city departments. I have an excellent working relationship with the mayor and all other aldermen, plus the City employees. The City is now in the best financial condition it has been in for the past several years. The city has excellent employees, and they are a big part of the city’s financial stability. I am very active in the community. I am a member of several clubs and organizations. I am a lifelong resident of Bolivar, except for when I served in the U.S. Navy.

Bolivar Ward 3 alderman

Dan Wohnoutka

Having been a resident of Polk County for 48 years and of Bolivar for 7+ years, along with being a land developer and home builder in Bolivar for 20 years, I believe I have a good understanding of the needs and requirements of the community. I look forward to serving another term as alderman with department heads and employees of the City.

Ashley Raines

Bolivar is an incredible community. As it grows, there are concerns that I feel many want to address. Our town has a growing need for mental health professionals. Many drive to Springfield for therapy or do not go at all, because it isn't available locally. We need more resources for residents and counselors who can partner with BPD officers. We have a large homeless population and an underutilized warming center. I want to find grant funds to staff the warming center and have onsite counseling. We need more indoor activities for kids and child care options, including after-school programs.

Bolivar Ward 4 alderman

Brian Wilson

I have dedicated my life to serving others in an ambulance, a fire truck, and the ER. I will serve the citizens of Bolivar dutifully, helping to guide the city's leadership in making decisions that best represent the desires of the community as a whole and the citizens that I represent directly in my ward. I will make myself available to listen to all citizens' concerns and needs that directly affect their lives and share those concerns with the board. My heart is in public service, and I will continue to make Bolivar the best community to raise my family.

Rex Austin

My goal is to represent the citizens of Ward 4 to the best of my ability by helping:

  • Develop a working plan to relieve traffic on business 13 and Springfield Ave. Without a solution, traffic will continue to worsen.
  • Jump-start our industrial park and hopefully, to bring in new business with above average wages
  • Maintain a balanced budget throughout our city operating departments
  • Support future plans on the expansion of our fast-growing community

I feel my eight years of experience as a county commissioner dealing with state and federal agencies could be beneficial as a city alderman.

Charles W. Keith

Citizens of Ward 4, I am asking for your consideration for reelection to the city council. I have learned a lot in my two terms about how a city functions. I’ve been able to have a part in retiring approximately $11.5 million in debt that was hanging over the City. And now have 13.5 million in CDs, which has never been done to my knowledge. We have added a new addition for our fire department and hired new police officers, and we have positive things planned for the city. Thank you for your consideration at the ballot box.

Fair Play mayor

Steven Hornbeck

Being a good leader is not just about one's opinion or stance on an issue. Leadership means listening carefully to others with the desire to understand. To concern ideas in perspective criteria. Today's problems often come from yesterday's solutions. Bolivar Lodge 195, we have been at them. I am on the Dunnegan Cemetery Board and also a veteran.

Dewey Rumfelt

I would appreciate your consideration for mayor. I’m focused on completing the work on our infrastructure. Our $9.6 million ARPA grant did not happen by accident. It was approved because of a dedicated team for the Fair Play community. Teresa and I have been residents since 1978 and are excited to begin this much-needed work. Fair Play has an amazing history, but we are more excited to be part of our new history!! There will be special meetings in the future to keep the community informed, so check The City of Fair Play’s Facebook page and website for updates.

Robert Dunlap

I want to move forward with projects that are going on now. I want to clean up the city, so more people want to make Fair Play their home. I want to lower taxes and bring in more business.

Fair Play alderman-at-large

Vi Patterson

I am a lifetime resident of Fair Play. I attended school in Fair Play and college in Springfield. I have had a business in Fair Play for 20 years. I am interested in improving our City with grants that we have received. Starting this year, I would like to see projects finished. I would be honored to serve you. I would appreciate your vote.

Jim Skopec

I care deeply about this town and its people, having been a resident many years. I try to be at every meeting and enjoy getting out in the community! I would like to get the community more involved in meetings and how our town runs and works. The more involvement, the better! I like transparency and honesty, and will strive for both to the best of my ability.

Steven L. Bruce

I am asking the citizens of Fair Play to support me in the April 4th election. I feel like my experience with the City in the past years, living in Fair Play for over 40 years, and having the knowledge of our present improvements with the grants is a plus. I am continually working with other members of the council and staff in any way possible and am presently seeking reelection to the council.

Michael Dennis

If elected, I would be the voice of you, the people, for fair and honest results. I am a God-fearing man who wants Fair Play to prosper and thrive. I graduated from North Kansas City High School in 1982. I served in the Air Force (active duty, 1982-1988). I’m an Army combat veteran (2008-current). I have been a deacon at Humansville Full Gospel Church since 2016. I have worked in the electrical business for over 30 years, currently with Loyd’s Electric Supply in Springfield, Missouri. I enjoy family, church, hunting, fishing and woodworking.

Humansville north ward alderman (one-year term)

Gary Shannon

The BH-FP did not receive a candidate profile from this candidate.

Dawn Henson

I believe I am better qualified for this position, because I have always been a public servant in some capacity, whether it be volunteering in the community or helping people through my work in healthcare. I have been a member of this community for 9 years and have seen many things that need to be changed. I hope you will consider voting for me.

Bolivar R-1 School Board

Joshua Alexander Laird

What faces our school boards today is far more consequential than a budget and a calendar. Across this great nation, we see curriculum discussions and social experiments taking a front seat. Many school boards have adopted the role of “guardian,” instituting moral guidelines that should be reserved for the home. I have experience auditing schools…I have experience managing employees…I have experience navigating growth…but above all, I am a veteran, continuing the fight for our freedoms. I want to serve on the school board to protect kids, parents, teachers and employees. Vote to protect education and keep out indoctrination.

Brad Wommack

I ask for your vote for Bolivar R-1 School Board, so that I may help ensure the education and safety of your children; work to retain and attract the quality of teachers our children deserve; restore policies that give teachers the disciplinary alternatives they and students want and need; serve the taxpayer by asking questions and seeking answers about how district funds are being utilized; and be resolute, grounded, and maintain a moral compass to remind us all that Bolivar R-1 is here to educate…not indoctrinate – and nurture learning, not place barriers that impede this. Our future is at stake.

Carl W. Summers Jr.

I, Carl Summers, am seeking a position on the Bolivar R-1 School District School Board. I have been self-employed for 50 years and understand the responsibilities of payroll, budgets, and operational expenses. I will serve the needs of all and listen to what they have to say. I am not afraid to ask questions and seek information. I would be honored to serve as your school board representation. The future is in the education of our children and preparing them for life’s challenges. We all need to be good stewards in our investment in these lives. Have a blessed day.

Jeralen Andrews Shive

As a mother of two school-aged kids who will be fourth generation Bolivar graduates and as a business owner in Bolivar, I'm very invested in our schools and the strength of the students they produce, both academically and as citizens. My career experience has taught me to be level-headed and objective in my decision making. I believe that ALL students deserve every opportunity to reach their greatest potential. During my five years on the school board, I have focused on supporting our teachers and staff – our district’s greatest asset. I would appreciate your vote to continue to serve our district.

Ronald Owens

As a retired educator of 28 years, I believe my teaching (Willard) and administrative (Bolivar) experience gives me the knowledge and insight to offer a unique perspective to the board. My teaching and coaching (pre-K to 12th grade) has provided me with training and best practices that pertain to all grade levels. My classroom years developed a depth of professional practice and my administrative years molded my leadership skills. My time (2008-2022) at Bolivar High School was extremely rewarding, and I would be honored to earn your vote and serve as a member of the Bolivar R-1 Board of Education.

Jared Taylor

As a 2002 Bolivar graduate and father of two sons who are currently in school, I have a vested interest in our district’s success. We made great strides these last few years in improving employee salaries, upgrading our facilities, and responding to our kids’ educational needs post-COVID. I believe the community needs someone who knows how to navigate through complex challenges, has the best interest of the school and the community in mind, and is willing to share thoughts and discuss ideas with anyone. If folks want honest and thoughtful leadership on our school board, I would appreciate their vote.

Daniel Tim Goodman

I believe my personal experience of graduating one and having four children still in the school district, along with owning and operating a small business in Bolivar for 18 years, uniquely qualifies me to serve the district. All my children have been involved in multiple extra curricular activities, and my community involvement allows me to be in touch with the needs and concerns of the school district. My commitment is to improve education by listening and talking to the teachers and improve the activities for our children. I will expect results and accountability. I would be honored to serve.

Fair Play R-2 School Board

Jennifer Schwartz

I am seeking reelection to the Fair Play School Board, because the future of our children and school is very important to me. Several projects have been completed, and we increased our academics over the last 3 years. I am the Booster Club President, a small business owner and the only current board member with a student in the high school. These experiences give me the tools needed to help ensure our school is meeting the highest standards, using the school district's money responsibly, attracting the best teachers, and providing the academic programs to ensure our students are successful.

Cindy Lee Bruce

I have worked in the banking industry for 30 years and insurance for 4 years. I currently work for our auction company Bruce & LeAn Auction and help out on the farm as much as I can. I am a member of Aldrich Christian Church. I am the current treasurer for the Fair Play School Board and the treasurer for Fair Play Summer Sports League. It has been an honor to serve the school board for the past 3 years. I want the best education for our students; I am proud of our administration, staff and school.

Michael P. Underwood

I was born and raised in Fair Play, and I am a FPHS alumni. I received my bachelor’s degree from MSU in business. I believe our district is one of best in the state, and I am excited for the future of our district. I want to make sure our students, teachers, staff, and community are fully supported during these hard and changing times. It would be an honor and privilege to serve our community as a member of the school board. I offer an open ear to ALL members in the district/community to base and make good decisions.

Lauren Schuler-West

Fair Play holds a large piece of my heart, and I’m proud to say my roots are planted deep in this little town. As a multigenerational Hornet, I want to ensure our traditions are continued and valued. I feel the key to a great school is the staff, and I strive to be a voice for them when asked. I believe if our children are surrounded and influenced by educators who hold themselves to a higher standard — “The Fair Play Standard,” our kids will prosper and grow into better adults. A vote for me is a vote for traditional values.

Halfway R-3 School Board

Jeremy Sibley

The BH-FP did not receive a candidate profile from this candidate.

Payne A. Grant

My name is Payne Grant. My wife, Mindy, and I have two children, Lincoln and Georgia. I manage our family business, Spot+Plus: carpet cleaning, maintenance, and repair. I co-own our family cattle operation on our century farm. I’m a volunteer facilitator for Halfway’s Mo Beef for Mo Kids program. I also volunteer as a K-2 basketball coach and baseball assistant coach. I believe the current board and administration have done an excellent job providing a great learning environment. If elected, I will strive to provide our children with the resources to excel in the classroom and in our community.

Dillon Legan

I believe that our current school board has done an excellent job at building a good culture at our small school. When I found out that there would be an opening on the board, I wanted to be able to try and do my part to help keep the school a safe and good learning environment for all of our kids. My family has lived in this community for over 100 years, and I want Halfway to continue to be a good school for the generations to come.

Matthew R. Forrest

I’ve been a lifelong member of this community, and I want to give back by being a fierce advocate for the education of our children. I’m a father of two boys. I want their education to prepare them for life. I know some children have their best, safest days at school. As a member of the school board, I can advocate for putting our students and schools first. I’ll be responsible with our district's resources while keeping a high standard for our schools.

Kenton Dwight Payne

The BH-FP did not receive a candidate profile from this candidate.

Marion C. Early R-5 School Board

Brandon Smith

The BH-FP did not receive a candidate profile from this candidate.

Ginger Bumgarner

My name is Ginger Bumgarner, and I am running for the MCE school board. I am a great candidate for this position, because I care about Morrisville. I have lived in this community for over 40 years, and my boys are third generation graduates of MCE. My family and I have been involved in this school district and MAG Church for years, and we know the people of this great town. I will be a voice for the people, as well as an advocate for the students, teachers and staff. Thank you for your support and vote.

Thomas Francka

I’ve served 2 terms so far, and in those six years, Marion C. Early has continually grown in so many areas. First, MCE is the best financially that we have ever been. Second, our academics continually grow each year, even through the dreaded COVID year (because we have an awesome leadership team and great staff for your students). Third, we’re striving to get all students involved in some kind of extracurricular activities. T1he more kids get involved, the more they will want to learn. Thanks for your vote.

Kevin Painter

I am an alumni of Marion C. Early, having served on the board for 6 years. I've lived in Morrisville my whole life. My son goes to the school and my 2 daughters are alumni of MCE. Integrity is very important to me. I will continue to be fair, open-minded, and honest. My dad, Rex, has served on the board, and I've enjoyed following in his footsteps. I have deep roots here, and I take pride in our town, community, and school. I believe it's imperative to have Godly, honest people as the voice for the future of our school.