After Ward 4 Councilman Tollie Rowe announced he would not be seeking re-election for the Sedalia City Council, two individuals are vying for the seat.
The April 7 General Municipal Election has been postponed to June 2 due to COVID-19. The issue was at the forefront for candidate Rhiannon Foster when she was asked about the top issues facing Sedalia.
“If you’d asked this question two months ago, that list I think would be completely different,” she said. “I think right now everyone is worried with the pandemic. I think that right now it’s going to be making sure that the water is working, we still have electricity, basic needs because I feel like life is changing...
“Keeping the police officers safe and the firefighters safe. Just the whole scheme of it. How do you do all that?” she added.
Foster is a member of the Sedalia Park Board, is active with the Smith-Cotton Basketball Booster Club and is in the middle of opening her small business, Tiger Coffee. Foster has a bachelor’s degree in political science and wants to continue her involvement in the city by running for the council.
“First off I want to listen,” Foster said. “I think it’s important that I don’t have a personal agenda. I want to represent the Fourth Ward and be their voice. That’s very important to me. That and I think Sedalia is moving in a very positive direction and I definitely want to continue to help foster that.
“I’ve always been involved,” she continued. “I’ve loved my time on park board and I think the Fourth Ward needs positive, new eyes. I’m someone who will listen and ask questions and find solutions to benefit the Fourth Ward.”
Foster said she believes her time on the Sedalia Park Board has helped prepare and qualify her for the Ward 4 seat.
“We’ve (Park Board) worked with city council on so many things that you get a different perspective being involved already with the city,” she explained. “Just the involvement with the processes and funding and the budgets and the different aspects. Until you are involved I think it’s really hard to understand what it really entails.”
Foster is especially passionate about helping bring the Heckart Community Center to Sedalia.
“My dad was on park board and worked on trying to get a community center,” she said. “I’m so excited. I rallied for a community center for my whole life basically. It’s been so needed and I’m so excited that we are finally getting a community center…I think it’s going to be a great asset to Sedalia. I think it’s going to bring in a lot of people.”
Foster said she thinks the city’s focus on neighborhood revitalization is positive and that there are many people in the city who “just need some assistance getting some stuff cleaned up.” She also likes how the neighborhood cleanups have helped people meet their neighbors and believes “unity in the community is very important.”
The top issues individuals in the community have talked to Foster about are sidewalks, potholes and trash collection. Foster said she doesn’t think her goals on the council should be personal but should be what the people in Ward 4 want since she will be representing them. She also wants to keep Sedalia growing and thinks bringing in new industries is important.
Foster said she wants to listen to residents and help Sedalia continue to grow and prosper.
“I’m a self-employed mother of two boys, Dane and Yale, a native-born Sedalian who is seeking election to represent the Fourth Ward on the city council. My love of this community runs deep. My parents, Greg and Suzanne, raised me being involved and committed to this city and its residents...
“Your concerns are my concerns,” she continued. “I will talk to you and be your voice in finding solutions and fostering growth to make Sedalia and the Fourth Ward a better place to live, work and play.”
Foster said she believes people should vote for her because of her deep love for Sedalia, involvement in the park board and lifetime community involvement. She said she is a good listener and is approachable. She also believes there needs to be a balance on the council.
“There needs to be a good balance of different ages and different perspectives from different walks of life...” she said.
“I think that it’s important that if you have an issue that you feel like you can approach your councilperson and talk to them,” she added. “That they’re open to listening and that’s really important.”
Foster has been endorsed by the Sedalia Firefighters Local 103.