Mayor faces opposition for first time in 16 years

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Natalie Johnson
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Webster Groves community members voted in the mayoral election on April 3. “I’ve always been about positive leadership. That’s what I want to continue. I want to insure that this is a positive race. That’s all I look for,” Welch said. Photos provided by Ken Burns and Gerry Welch

For the first time since 2002 mayor, Gerry Welch, faced opposition in her mayoral run.

To maintain her position as mayor, Welch had to defeat two-term, eight-year city councilman Ken Burns.

Due to her long term as mayor, some may think that it difficult for Welch to keep the same passion and excitement she had when first elected, but Welch said that “has never been an issue.”

“As a collaborative problem solver, I daily find ways to make something better for the community and for individuals. Having been mayor for some time has allowed me to build a lot of connections that can be used for good – from connecting an in-need family to one of our three food pantries to using the legislative advocacy committee that I have created to contact our state legislature concerning an important proposed bill,” Welch said.

“I am also always out in the community – talking with people and participating in projects and events. This interaction always inspires me,” Welch said.

Welch said her interests are very similar to those of high school students because she is “concerned about safety issues from gun violence to the opioid crisis,” and if re-elected would “continue to work for resources to train and provide police cooperation.” As well as help “build better relationships between the [Webster Groves School District] and city council.”

Burns also said he has something to offer WGHS students.

“Eight years ago I was the only city council candidate to publicly state support the bond issue that built the addition and improvements to your high school, and I hope all of the current school students are enjoying the benefits of the community deciding to support it as well,” Burns said.

Burns said the success of Webster Groves is not simply from city council, but rather “the success of our city is due the combined efforts of our residents to improving their families’ lives and their homes. WG is a ‘bottoms up’ success story. The city government is the recipient of this benefit, not the creator of it,” Burns said.

Burns is “confident in [his] ability to successful[ly] serve as Mayor of Webster Groves” and believes that both him and Welch “are dedicated to maintaining the excellent level of municipal services we have become accustomed to expecting.”

Webster Groves voters elected Welch as mayor with 59 percent of the vote on April 3. Burns received 41 percent .

Citizens elected Laura Arnold with 28 percent, Pamela Bliss with 24 percent and David Franklin with 17 percent for the city council.

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