In an election that was decided by less than 250 votes, the State Fair Community College Board of Trustees will see the return of incumbent Randall Eaton to the board and the election of newcomer Nick La Strada, who won the seat vacated by board President Gary Noland.
Noland did not seek re-election to a third term on the board.
With four counties — Pettis, Benton, Cooper and Morgan — included in the college’s voting district, it was Eaton’s home county of Benton that put him over the top with 3,938 votes to La Strada’s 3,699.
Marlin Hammond received 3,282 votes and Justin Hubbs garnered 1,619 votes.
“I am both thrilled and excited to serve the college for another six years,” Eaton said by phone Tuesday evening. “It is an exciting time for State Fair as we look to the future.
“I think we have some tough decisions that we will be facing but I am confident that we will be able to make the decisions that will be in the best interest of the students and staff of the college and the communities that we serve,” Eaton added. “I know we have an excellent board and staff at the college that I am looking forward to continuing to work with in the future.”
Some of the concerns Eaton and all four candidates addressed in the election center on the funding of a proposed Career and Technical Center.
The center was listed as the No. 1 priority for the college in the recently completed Campus Master Plan.
Other concerns include a slight decline in overall student enrollment as well as maintaining the availability of competitive class and degree programs at affordable prices and continuing the college’s tradition of campus outreach programs.
La Strada echoed Eaton’s comments shortly after all four counties had reported their results.
“I am very happy with the results and I am proud that all four of the candidates for the board ran a good, clean campaign,” La Strada said. “I think all four of us genuinely cared and have an interest in the college without a doubt.
“I see this as a huge opportunity for myself and I said the reason I ran was because I wanted to give back to the community and the college,” La Strada said. “I feel I am prepared for the challenge and I want to be an ear for both the students, faculty and staff. I promise I will continue to work hard and I know this is a long-term commitment but I don’t have any plans to go anywhere — Sedalia and this community is my home and it is where I want to work and in service to others.”
Hubbs said he also plans to continue to serve the college, despite his defeat.
“It is not the turnout I was hoping for but I plan to be as active as I can in the college and its future,” Hubbs said by phone. “I don’t know, I may run again in the future and I can use all that I learned from this election as I move forward.
“I want to help to promote the college and make it the crown jewel of the area,” Hubbs added. “I know for myself and all of us I think that is what it is all about and why we each ran.”
Hammond wished the Board of Trustees at State Fair good luck in their future plans when he spoke with the Democrat by phone Tuesday night.
“I want to thank the voters who showed confidence in me by their votes and support,” Hammond said. “I wish Dr. Anderson and the board the best of luck as they move forward in the future.”
Hope Lecchi can be reached at 660-826-1000 ext. 1484