It’s been almost a week since Russell Driskell was sworn in as the newest member of the Sedalia City Council, and the life-long resident said he’s ready to give back to his hometown.
Driskell was sworn in during Monday’s council meeting and joins Councilmember Bonita Nash in Ward 2. He is filling a seat vacated by former councilmember Becca La Strada, who resigned a few weeks ago due to health reasons. Mayor Steve Galliher was already familiar with Driskell when the seat became available because he had been on the list of potential candidates when former councilmember Wanda Monsees resigned in May.
“I wasn’t surprised (Galliher called me) after I heard Becca resigned because when he told me he chose Bonita over me the first time, he thought that was his right choice and I agreed. When the surprise of Becca resigning came he asked if I was still interested and I said sure I am,” Driskell said.
Born and raised in Sedalia, Driskell raised his family here and spent the last 20 years working for Gardner Denver before retiring in April 2013. He also worked for 20 years in the grocery business, so he said he may not know every Sedalian’s name, but he knows most of them by face. Driskell is also a member of the Sedalia Moose Lodge No. 1494.
“Not to make lightly of it, but I feel like it’s my duty. I’ve lived here all my life and now that I’m retired I can dedicate more time to the job and I feel it’s time to give back,” Driskell said. “I interviewed for the job when Wanda Monsees had to resign. I was second on (Galliher’s) list but regardless I’m there now and I feel pretty privileged about that.”
Driskell said he doesn’t have any specific goals or agendas this early on, but rather hopes to “just do the best job I can for the people of Sedalia.”
One current issue Driskell has an opinion on is the proposed Broadway Boulevard yard parking ordinance, and for good reason — he has lived on Broadway for more than 18 years.
“Right now I live on Broadway and I think the ordinance is something that needs to be fine tuned and I think that’s what the Clean Sedalia Committee is doing,” he said. “I’ve lived here over 18 years, and it is the main thoroughfare in Sedalia and it needs to be kept up. We need to put a good foot forward when people come through. We do have ordinances in effect on the books right now that don’t allow unlicensed vehicles in your yards, so maybe it’s a matter of fine tuning that ordinance and having it enforced.”
So far Driskell has already received a few items to look into from citizens, and he’s attended some council and committee work sessions. With the Missouri State Fair just two weeks away and a conference in September that councilmembers will be attending, he said he’s “jumping right in.”
“They’re keeping me busy, I have a meeting Monday with the mayor and city administrator to update me on things and give me some insights,” he said. “The other councilmen have been real receptive to me. I think they’ll be a great council to work with.
“My desire is to be here for the people not just in Ward 2 but all of Sedalia. If they have a problem or need some knowledge on something they’re not up to par on they can come to me and I’ll be able to direct them in the right direction.”