Neosho City Council Candidate Q and A

Seth Kinker
Neosho Daily News

During the November elections, the citizens of Neosho approved changing the number of City Council members from five to seven and established four wards. Of the five current council members, Mayor Carmin Allen and Councilman Tim Workman’s terms both end in Apr. 2021 and neither filed for reelection.

The openings are in Ward 1 for a three-year term, Ward 2 for a two-year term, Ward 3 for a two-year term and a general At Large opening for a three-year term that will be voted on by all four voting precincts.  

Leading up to the Apr. 6 election, the Neosho Daily News will be profiling the candidates for the open seats. In this edition, candidates for Ward’s 1 and 2 were asked a set of questions pertaining to running for city council. For part two, click here.

Ward 1 – Ashton Robinson (Unopposed)

Ashton Robinson

Occupation?

Ashton Robinson (AR): I am an Insurance Agent specialized in Senior Benefits and Finance, Annuities, Life Insurance and Medicare Benefits

What party are you affiliated with, if any?

AR: I am a Conservative Republican.

What experience do you have in civil service?

AR: I am currently on the board of Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce.

 What made you want to run for a city council seat?

 AR: My hope is to bridge the divide in our town and help us recognize that we are neighbors and not enemies. We need to change the narrative in Neosho and focus on what unites us rather than what divides. Neosho was hurt in more than one way from this past year and my heart is to help our community heal. 

What do you think are some of the biggest issues the city is currently facing?

 AR: Some of the issues I see are preparing for border crossers to begin showing up in our town. As a citizen we should be more wary and take extra precautions to secure our homes. As a council member I will look at ways we can shore up security here in Neosho. (Prepare for the worst, hope for the best). We need to prepare for oil prices to rise and that will eventually lead to rising food costs. So we need to be prepared to help if our community has a need. 

How do you plan to address these issues?

AR: We need to do everything we can to make sure our community sleeps in peace every night, we can't eliminate every worry, but we can give some peace of mind knowing Neosho's leadership is working behind the scenes preparing for possible situations that could arise. Also, and this may be one of the most important things, we need to earn back the trust of our community. 

My Grandfather fought in WWII and I will absolutely, to my last breath protect the sacrifices he made for my freedom. Freedom is not something we "vote" on, it is our right.

I understand there are differing opinions than mine and I respect every opinion. I appreciate different points of view. Foolish is the man that keeps his own council. I will always try to listen and keep an open mind in every decision I make for the town I serve.

I am so honored to be able to serve the City of Neosho.

Ward 2 – Clyde Hopper and Richard Davidson

Editor’s Note: Clyde Hopper’s submitted information from a previous year has been edited for clarity.

Clyde Hopper
Richard Davidson

Occupation?

Clyde Hopper (CH): 35 years as a realtor, 11 of those as President of Newton McDonald County Association of Realtors, currently serve on the Missouri Association of Realtors Professional Standards Committee and Ethics Hearing panel.

Richard Davidson (RD): For the past 24 years, I have run a family business, the Marco Group, located in the Neosho Industrial Park. I serve as President of that business. Marco is a manufacturing company that makes products for companies including Wal-Mart, La-Z-Boy, and Petco. Marco also makes school furniture that serves schools and universities across the US. We employ over 50 workers. Marco is a long-time financial supporter of Neosho Public Schools, Crowder College, and Missouri Southern States University.

What party are you affiliated with, if any?

CH: N/A

RD: City elections are non-partisan elections, but I am a registered Republican and have been a conservative all of my life.

What experience do you have in civil service?

CH: I have volunteered with or supported the senior center, the Meals on wheels program, the Food Basket Brigade, the National Fish Hatchery, the Restoration Life Center, Hope Kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, the Board of Tax Equalization and the Talking Foundation (Substance Abuse Recovery)

RD: I have 13 years of experience as a civil servant. I served four years on the Neosho school board – two of those as board president. I most recently served nine years on the Neosho city council – six of those as mayor. I left office in 2018.

What made you want to run for the city council seat?

CH: My vision for Neosho; make sure tax payers get the most service for their dollar, improve infrastructure (lower water loss), increase cooperation of council with other entities and avoid needless litigation that costs taxpayers thousands of dollars, make use of good tourism tax funds, build on current beautification and city cleanup, support private groups for renovation of decaying housing and attracting outsiders to Neosho because of activities and services such as walking trailing, blue grass festivals, air shows and fireworks and festivals and car shows.

RD: Actions by our city council in response to COVID-19 have raised many concerns. There was a push for mask mandates and curfews as well as restrictions on our local businesses. These proposals were rushed, citing emergency authority, and only failed after citizens came forward vocalizing their concerns. This is not how a council should operate, and I certainly do not support the actions and methods used by the current council. I am running as an alternative to the progressive agenda we have seen with a commitment to Neosho voters that I will stand to protect and defend the conservative values and beliefs of our community

What do you think are some of the biggest issues the city is currently facing?

CH: N/A

RD: There are always forces working to influence how our city is being run. As I mentioned before, the issues surrounding COVID are real, and we have seen what could have happened. Neosho was one vote away from imposing draconian and unnecessary restrictions on our citizens. This council has also made it more difficult for citizens to address the board while becoming less transparent in how they operate, especially compared to how the council operated during my time as Neosho’s mayor.

How do you plan to address these issues?

CH: N/A

RD: I plan to bring back the leadership and priorities the former council had during my tenure. I place high importance on transparency, protecting taxpayers, ensuring our citizens are safe, and the government's overall fiscal responsibility. I have a proven record of working to help Neosho’s businesses and citizens. I have a solid record of support our police and other public-safety departments. I will work every day to bring back common-sense and proven leadership to our council and do my best to make Neosho better than it has ever been.