Final Kingman City Council slot before voters

Kent Simmons

Kent Simmons

KINGMAN - Pastor Kent Simmons and electrician Stuart Yocum are the only two City Council candidates whose names will appear on city voter ballots on Tuesday.

Voters who participated in the Aug. 26 primary election did the heavy lifting in deciding which City Council candidates would win the election outright that night.

Mayor-elect Richard Anderson defeated Councilwoman Erin Cochran in the race to see who would replace Mayor Janet Watson.

Councilwoman Jen Miles, manager of the Mohave County Workforce Development Division, and Frontier Communications General Manager Mike Abrams won two of three Council seats in a razor-thin primary race, with less than four one-hundredths of a percentage point separating the top two candidates.

While both men were a few hundred votes behind Miles and Abrams in the final count, Simmons and Yocum gathered enough support to square off in the general election. Fewer than 20 votes separated the two men in another tight race, 1,424 for Simmons to 1,405 for Yocum.

Both men spoke at a City Council candidate forum prior to the primary election.

Here is what is important to them:

Simmons

Simmons, a pastor at Kingman Community Church, would work to entice businesses and homebuilders to develop vacant lots and empty spaces that are located within city limits.

Doing so, he said, could slow down Kingman's sprawl.

Litter control in another top issue. Simmons said he would request the city possibly adopt legislation that has gained momentum in other communities where plastic grocery bags are illegal. Getting rid of the bags, he said, could lead to less litter.

Another priority is saving taxpayers' money. The city's 300-plus employees could be used as "revenue-saving assets," he said. Simmons would encourage giving employees an incentive to look for ways to cut costs while still delivering services to residents.

A former UPS manager, Simmons said he understands that both public and private entities go on spending sprees at the end of the fiscal year in order to justify the next year's budget.

"Could we not incentivize them?" he said. With a financial award available - he suggested 50 percent of any cost savings could be earmarked for the employee - employees would have "skin in the game."

Yocum

Yocum has attended City Council meetings on a fairly regular basis for the past several months, giving him valuable insight into the challenges the city's leadership faces.

Chief among his goals is attracting employers who provide quality jobs.

He would also work with the Council's Planning and Zoning Commission to ensure Kingman is responsible to the citizens when the next development spurt begins.

A desire to sustain and even expand the Kingman Police Department is also high on Yocum's to-do list.

An electrician and computer technician by trade, Yocum has lived in Kingman for a decade. He said he moved to the city to escape Southern California traffic and its constant companion, smog.

He is running because he "wants to do what is best for Kingman," and what is best for Kingman, apparently, is not raising taxes.

"All of the city's revenues come from sales tax," he reasoned. "We need more businesses."

He would not advocate any tax increase, and he is adamantly opposed to any push that would restore a primary property tax on the city's residents.

A regular blood donor, Yocum said he has a well-rounded background and is "community and civic minded."