Only one candidate for mayor in Hannibal shows up to answer questions during public forum
HANNIBAL, Mo. – Barry Louderman was the only candidate for Hannibal mayor to answer questions during a public forum Monday night at the VFW Post 55.
Louderman is one of three candidates — along with Kristy Trevathan and Stephen Colyar — in the Nov. 7 special election to finish James Hark’s term as Hannibal mayor, which expires April 2025. Hark said he resigned in June because of expanding work duties at his job at a local towing company.
Barry Louderman for Mayor was at the event which was sponsored by the Northeast Missouri Conservative Club. Sara North, a representative for the event, said each of the three candidates were invited.
Colyar responded to North in a letter, which she read to the crowd at the start of the event.
“Sara, thanks for the invite. I am taking the Biden route. I am staying in my basement and talking to no one,” the beginning of the letter read.
North said she received a response from a representative for Trevathan that she would not be attending the event. North also said Trevathan had a loved one who recently underwent a major medical issue.
Louderman is a lifelong conservative Christian who has lived in Hannibal for 30 years and raised five children alongside his late wife, Betty. He was elected to Hannibal City Council in 2008 and served for seven years for the 4th Ward.
“This has been a long journey for me. I turned 60 this year and realized this is an opportunity to do something I wanted to do,” he said. “I see a lot of good in Hannibal. I see a lot of positives and a lot of positives that can happen in Hannibal, but it takes both sides to push it forward. It can’t just be this group or that group. It has to be everyone working together.”
Jerry Welch asked, “Hannibal City Council meetings have been dysfunctional and confused since 2021. Who or what do you think is responsible, and what do you intend to do about it?”
“As far as who is responsible, I think the blame can be put on just about everyone who sits up there. The whole idea behind being a city councilman is to take care of city business — not personal business or the animosity that is there now,” Louderman responded.
Louderman said council meetings will stick to city business only if he is elected.
“We won’t be veering off at who said this and who said that, or who cussed at me and who cussed at that. That’s not how you run a city council meeting,” he said. “I run Planning and Zoning exactly that way. We have a list. We talk about it and make our votes and discuss what’s good and what’s bad, what works and what doesn’t work, and then you move on to the next one. That’s how you operate city council meetings.”
Bob Koehn asked Louderman if his beliefs lined up with Donald Trump or Joe Biden.
“Donald Trump. Explaining that, I am a conservative and my philosophy is to get things done,” Louderman responded. “When Donald Trump came into office, he made some promises to start with when he was running the first time, and he kept those promises. He came in and said I am going to do this and I am going to do that, and he did them.
“Now, I think Donald Trump was a good president. I think he accomplished what he set out to do. I think he could have accomplished more. Like all politicians, I think he talked too much. Every national politician is that way, whether they are republican or democrat. But when he stated he was going to do something, he went out and did that. That’s my goal. If I tell you that I am going to go after something or try to make something happen for Hannibal, then that’s what I am going to do.”
John Tomko said he did not grow up in Hannibal, but he has observed during the first part of last decade, the Hannibal representative doing what its constituents wanted. That changed with council actively voting against what their constituents wanted.
“The people had to respond to that, and the majority went out through ballot issues rather than their representatives,” Tomko said. “Now if that trend is consistent and the council continues to vote on their personal votes rather than the votes of their constituents, do you have any idea as to how that can be remedied?”
“When you are a city council member, you have two jobs. You represent your ward, and you represent the city of Hannibal. Those are two very important jobs,” Louderman responded. “If you live in a ward where your streets need to be repaired, it’s your job to lobby for that to the rest of the council. It’s your job to spend the taxpayers’ money in a way that benefits the taxpayers and the city of Hannibal.
“Sometimes it seems like the council goes against that by taking whatever action they do. It may seem they are going against what the people are looking for, and sometimes that’s true. Sometimes they are voting in their own interest and that shouldn’t happen. Their own interests, uness they align with the interests of Hannibal, shouldn’t be considered when they are voting on something.”
Michelle Parrish said one of Hannibal’s biggest problems is a lack of housing.
“There isn’t any housing and it’s a problem for a lot of towns, but where is the solution? What is your position on that?” she asked.
She also mentioned that immigrants coming to town poses a problem for housing as well.
Louderman discussed the current construction of nine new subdivisions in Hannibal city limits.
“It’s not just single family homes, it’s duplexes and town houses, apartments, all of that. I couldn’t tell you the number that adds up to, but the one being built on Stardust is townhouses and duplexes. It’s going to be in the neighborhood of 150 new units,” he said. “Then there is one farther down Stardust that will be built for the older population with single story homes and wider doorways.
“It doesn’t matter how big or how small your city is, (homelessness) becoming a problem. I have had people say we should build a homeless shelter. The city has enough trouble keeping up with its budget now. They sure couldn’t afford to build a homeless shelter and man the homeless shelter and pay for the insurance on a homeless shelter. On the first day it opened, it would be filled to capacity and we would still have a problem. The problem with homelessness is family. You have a lot of people who have nowhere to go because they don’t have family.”
Louderman said the more undocumented people cross the borders, the worse the problem will get. He believes it can be only be solved at a federal level.
“I don’t think the homeless shelter is a viable plan, because I don’t think the money is there to do it,” he said. “The money to pay for it to be ran, the money to pay for insurance on it, and the money to help people in it … It’s not there. At the state level, maybe, but I hear that the state is also having trouble on that. it’s an issue that needs to be addressed by not just city council but the city itself. If it takes a group of people getting together to try to figure it out, then that’s what we need to do. As mayor, I would be happy to put that group together.”
John Davis asked what Louderman thought of putting trash pickup “under the city umbrella.” Louderman said the city can’t afford city-funded trash pickup.
“A single hauler, I have thought a lot about that. Right now we have four five haulers, so there is a lot of selection for people with pricing and things like that,” he said. “Competition is what makes things cheaper and better. … But I believe we should leave well enough alone at the moment.”
Former Hannibal Councilman Larry Craig discussed Hannibal’s ability to receive funding through sources other than taxes, such as federal and state matching grants, and more.
“I would be interested to know what you would propose to do if you were elected mayor to help the city of Hannibal get resources other than taxes from its citizens,” he said.
“There is a lot of grant money to be had out there for different things, including tearing down houses and rehabbing houses,” Louderman said. “When I was councilman of the 4th Ward, we had a program where the city would take dilapidated buildings and we would buy or procure them. A contractor would come in and fix them up and then we would get our money back and they could rent or sell them.
“There are a lot of nice new houses on South Side from that. I would like to see that kick-started again for the entire city, and there are grants out there that can help with that.”
Louderman said he has talked with State Sen. Cindy O’Laughlin (R-Shelbina) about state grants.
“She is more than willing to work with Hannibal to get those,” he said.
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