2 seek open seat on Purdy Council

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Voters to choose between varied experience, local background

Two candidates are seeking the alderman's seat for the West Ward on the Purdy City Council in the April 5 election.

Both are seeking public office for the first time.

Raymond Stapleton, 69, is one of the few people who regularly attends city council meetings. Born in Oklahoma and raised in Bentonville, Ark., Stapleton is a Vietnam War veteran who worked for Southwestern Bell for almost 14 years. Then, Stapleton graduated from Raehma Bible College in Broken Arrow, Okla., and pastored small churches in Arkansas, Kansas and Kentucky, as well as administering churches in Oklahoma and Missouri. He moved to Missouri to help his daughter when she was getting a divorce. Stapleton also ran a girls home and maternity home in Oklahoma and Arkansas. Other jobs included running a janitorial service and working for the Post Office as a carrier and clerk. His sister, Wanda Brown, helps her daughter, Melissa, and her husband, Charles Fletcher, at the Edgewood Dairy in rural Purdy.

"I moved to Purdy three-and-a-half years ago," Stapleton said. "I liked the area. I got interested [in running for the city council] because of the sewer issue. I didn't know what was going on.

"I wanted to be informed, so I started going to meetings. I learned a lot. The council members asked me to run for alderman."

Bryan Bowers, 47, is a 1987 Purdy High School graduate who has lived most of his life in the town. He works at Redshaw Auto Supply in Purdy.

"I'm running partly because there didn't seem to be anyone running," Bowers said. "I thought about trying to see about doing something for the community. Sometimes you don't realize what's going on until you walk in and get involved. I wanted to see if there was anything I can help improve upon."

Stapleton said he likes the way the current council operates.

"They're not domineering," Stapleton said. "They listen to people. They're not rash in their decision making. Sometimes they take a wait-and-see stance.

"Purdy is a bedroom community for Monett. With the sewer going in, the city may be able to bring in some small industry. They have a good school system. The recycling program [run by the high school's Spanish Club] is a positive thing."

Bowers saw the closeness of the Purdy community as a major strength. He had no particular focus for pursuing office for the first time.

"I just try to work well with anything," Bowers said. "I'd like to see the town be able to grow and take advantage of being between Monett, the industrial center, and Cassville, the touristy area. I'd like to get in and see where we've been. There's so many things we can do.

"I want to see us be able to go forward. I'll do what I can for the betterment of the community, and try to keep my eyes open and go forward. We can't sit in the past. We've got to be able to roll up our sleeves and get to work."

Stapleton would like to see the city help reestablish its downtown and encourage more business activity, such as a restaurant.

"We need people to step up and say, 'This is my town,'" Stapleton said. "They've done that well with the school and the Purdy Festival. People don't seem to have a lot of pride in the community. We need to grow that, then we can go out and do things. I see buildings that need to be updated. I bought the old house next door to me to redecorated it.

"If people vote for me, I will try to do the best I can. I'll work with the aldermen and the mayor. I don't want to be domineering. I want to work with the people. We've got a good opportunity to make this community a little bit better."

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