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Tue, Aug. 11

5 vie for 3 Kingman City Council seats

KINGMAN – There are five candidates seeking election to Kingman City Council this election cycle, vying for three open seats.

Candidates include incumbent Jamie Scott Stehly, Sarah Ferry, Keith Walker, Bill Franzen and Cherish Sammeli. Mayor Jen Miles is seeking another two-year term, but is running unopposed. Potential candidates were required to turn in at least 289 signatures to make it onto the primary ballot.

Current council members whose terms expire in 2020 are Travis Lingenfelter, David Wayt and Jamie Scott Stehly. Kingman council members serve for four years at an annual salary of $8,400.

Candidates have the opportunity to win outright in the primary election. The calculation for winning outright in the primary entails taking the total number of votes cast for all candidates for an office, dividing that number by the number of seats to be filled, then dividing that number by two and rounding to the highest whole number.

The candidates submitted answers to the following questions from the Kingman Miner. They were asked to limit their answers to 80 words. Walker did not respond to the questions, and Ferry did not provide a photograph in time for publication.

What makes you the right person for governing on Kingman City Council?

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Name: Bill Franzen, Age: 70, Residence: Kingman, Occupation: Truck driver, retired retail manager

Bill Franzen – I believe I would be a great asset because I have thirty years managerial experience in General retail, responsible for up to 900 employees.

I have worked with all types of personalities and can use my leadership skills to get tasks accomplished. I can look at the position from a different point of view, a different way to solve any upcoming challenges.

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Name: Cherish Sammeli, Age: 47, Residence: Kingman, Occupation: Account Manager at Pioneer Title Agency

Cherish Sammeli – I have been a resident and volunteer in the Kingman community for the past 32 years. My experience comes from my diverse social and business connections within this great community. I have served the business community on The Kingman Area Chamber of Commerce, empowered young women and girls with Soroptimist of Kingman, and continue working with the real estate community as an Affiliate Member supporting REALTORS® to provide the highest professional and ethical Real Estate business practices to the public.

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Name: Jamie Scott Stehly, Age: Did not answer, Residence: Kingman, Occupation: Small business owner

Jamie Scott Stehly – I am just finishing up a successful first term on the city council. Not only did I deliver on all of my big campaign promises, but I also worked on important quality of life issues like playground equipment, shade covers at the parks, bike lanes, and trail improvements/expansion. I have worked hard to represent Kingman, and to unlock all of that untapped potential that so many people are talking about.

Sarah Ferry – As a born and raised Kingmanite, I love our hometown and am passionate about seeing it grow into the community we know it has the potential to be. As an actively engaged citizen, grassroots volunteer, clean city commissioner, and small business owner, running for a city council seat felt like a natural progression. I am excited about this opportunity and would feel honored to serve!

What ideas for promoting and advancing Kingman will you bring to the table?

Sammeli – I want to see more emphasis on road preservation and infrastructure, so we are properly prepared for our proposed growth going forward. I would like to work on a community ambassador program, there are a lot of great things that are currently happening within our city that should be known. It would be comprised of a diverse group of citizens that are passionate about their community and want to share their passion with others.

Stehly – By marketing our location, climate, rail, air, and two major interstates we are set to attract many new employers to Kingman. Our local economy will be stronger if we continue to aggressively promote relocating out of state companies to our city. Additionally, with tourism being our #1 industry, I will work to expand our efforts to bring back overnight visitors. Finally, we must invest in quality of life issues in order to attract and retain new physicians, entrepreneurs, and professionals.

Ferry – My platform is built on community engagement and building partnerships. I’d encourage everyone to stay informed and engaged in our local politics. The decisions that directly impact our daily lives are made locally and we have the unique opportunity to speak to and be heard by our elected officials. Our city has financial limitations, but through grants and partnerships with organizations, non-profits, businesses, and citizens, Kingman can continue to advance. I will bring creative discussions like this to the table.

Franzen – The Kingman website needs to be updated to include current events. Such as rodeos, fairs, home and garden shows, etc. People make travel plans from this website.

The COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, with some states and communities taking more action than others to “curb the spread” of the virus. Explain your thoughts on whether current city leadership has done enough to protect the community. If having a voice on council, is there other action you would recommend?

Stehly – I’ll leave the recommendations up to our public health experts. Our Mohave County Health Department has been doing an excellent job. I follow Denise Burley’s guidelines and rely on her press conferences. It’s important that we all do our part to stop the spread of COVID-19. The city was quick to take action to ensure that essential service would continue and staff would remain safe. Also, our mayor has been vital in lobbying for kingman, she secured $3,600,000 for local economic recovery.

Ferry – Our leadership seeks advice from experts in public health, infectious disease, and emergency preparedness. I support our city and staff and know there are no easy decisions. As a small business owner, I understand our community’s fears and insecurities. We have community members with compromised immune systems fearing for their health and we have businesses fearing for their livelihoods. I can’t judge anyone’s reaction during this time. I’d ask- How can we work together so our community feels supported?

Franzen – The virus is real. Current leadership has done an admirable job to protect the community. At this time I have no current actions or recommendations to voice.

Sammeli – In my opinion there is no “right way” to have handled this very unfortunate set of circumstances we are in as there are many opinions (factual vs. emotional). As I am asked my feeling about the wearing of masks being mandatory in my opinion everyone is at a different comfort level and they should act accordingly. Be graceful and thoughtful of others, if a business prefers you to wear a mask and you want to patronize them, wear the mask. I would have left the “mask mandate” up to the business community to decide where they stand for their own business.

What would be your priorities for capital improvement projects if elected to council?

Ferry – My priority is quality of life, health and happiness. With community partnerships, we can continue to improve our beautiful trail systems and parks and recreation for people of all ages and abilities. I’d like to see new design and construction with walkability, bikability and native green spaces in mind. We bring businesses and talented people to our hometown, but quality of life encourages them to stay. It encourages our kids to come back home and bring their knowledge and experiences with them.

Franzen – I would like to see more work on the roads. There are abandoned or run down buildings around town that need to be addressed. They need to be brought up to Kingmans standards or removed.

Sammeli – At the top of my list are street improvements and infrastructure. I agree with the current proposed capital projects in that both interchanges (Rancho Santa Fe and Kingman Crossing) need to be completed as well as the Sunbelt Sports Park. I feel very strongly about having the necessary improvements to this east area for proper coverage of fire and safety for our citizens as this area continues to grow exponentially.

Stehly – There are many important and necessary capital improvement projects that are waiting for funding. I will continue to prioritize projects that address our streets, water, safety, and items that would boost our local economy.

Should the city make efforts to restore its recycling program?

Franzen – No, recycling is not cost effective for the city.

Sammeli – I believe the “idea” of recycling is very important to the quality of life for our future generations. It must make sense in a fiduciary capacity for the city to fund the program and the citizens to pay for it. We may not be able to make it feasible in the short term but that doesn’t mean that we can’t continue looking at our options.

Stehly – Absolutely, I have long been a supporter of citywide recycling and I was extremely disappointed to see the city recycling program end. Like many others, I had full recycling bins when the city announced its closure. I fully support creating a convenient and modernized recycling program that includes options like composting, and a community reuse system for items that can not be recycled. The key is to create a program that is economical and that utilizes new and innovative methods.

Ferry – Recycling and sustainability is a community discussion that should stay on the table. Currently, recycling is a challenge for communities everywhere. Even larger cities are reevaluating and improving their facilities. As a rural community, we have even greater challenges. This feels discouraging, but the recycling market is always changing. It’s our responsibility to make efforts to stay informed and continue working with our community to have less of a negative impact on our environment.

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