Kehde Makes it a Three-way Race for Mayor of Sedalia
Sedalia businessman John Kehde, 73, is the third man to file for the office of mayor of Sedalia. He officially made it a three-way race between incumbent Mayor Stephen J. Galliher and Sedalia resident Kevin Walker when Kehde threw his name in the hat Jan. 16. Galliher filed Dec. 12 while Walker filed on Dec. 26.
“It's always been an inspiration for me,” said Kehde, adding that he is in good health with plenty of vitality. “I have such a passion for the City of Sedalia. We moved here with my family from St. Louis in 1947. So my roots are here.”
Kehde noted that he and his wife Chelsea have lived in the same house since 1975 in the heart of old Sedalia. But the area has deteriorated significantly over the past several years, he said. “It's made a strong impression on me and friends of mine who come into Sedalia and remember it from back in the day. It's becoming an ever-increasing liability for the City. I don't know if they can remedy it,” Kehde said.
The mayoral candidate suggested construction of more single-family homes. “Most of it's going out in the county,” he said of single-family home construction. Kehde compared Sedalia to Detroit with people leaving the city limits for the outlying areas. “Basically, it's a community that's deteriorating,” he stated.
With the urging of friends (and later family), Kehde made the decision to run for mayor and go door-to-door to obtain 100 signatures for a petition. “I realized a lot of people aren't registered to vote, a lot of people that I talk to on a daily basis don't even live in Sedalia, they live in the county,” Kehde said.
Kehde once served as a Sedalia City Councilman decades ago. “It was a real challenge, because of the budgetary process. We really had no idea where we were, financially,” he said, adding that there were no computers at that time, and no city administrator. “Each of the City Council members was a chairman of say, Public Safety, Fire or Police (for instance), that was our responsibility, and we had to make sure it was running correctly,” Kehde said. “It was impossible to actually do. So we made a lot of changes.”
“I feel like we need to be more open with the public,” Kehde said of City Council meetings. “It seems like the decisions are already made. I think we need to have more public interaction.”
Kehde also said he feels more cooperation with SFCC to train young students for local industry is needed. “That's so important to train these young people for industry and the hospital,” he said. “We need to get involved with their bonding process.”
The City of Sedalia will elect a mayor on April 3. Four councilmen are running unopposed. Voters will make decisions on the District 200 School Board, the SFCC College Board of Trustees, the Pettis County Fire Board of Trustees, the Pettis County Ambulance District Board and the Pettis County Fire Protection District #1. Green Ridge voters will also be deciding on a mayor and voting on aldermen. La Monte voters will decide whether to borrow $2M for schools improvements. Pettis County R-5 and Smithton R-6 voters will vote on school board candidates. Windsor voters will decide on a proposed 1/4 percent sales tax to fund a municipal fire department.