In Ward 2, incumbent Vicki Jo Schuenemeyer Hooper will face policital newcomer Abigail Tippin in the April 4 general municipal election.
The Missourian talked with both candidates on their views and challenges the city will face in the coming years.
Candidates are in alphabetical order.
Vicki Jo (Schuenemeyer) Hooper
Hooper, 66, has been on the board since 2009.
She first ran for the board after retiring from East Central College, where she was a certified purchasing agent.
“My interest was getting involved in something and staying active,” she said.
Since then, she became involved with the Union Development Corporation (UDC). She currently serves as the board liaison for the UDC.
“I’m learning more about the industries that are talking to the UDC, and I really enjoy that,” she said.
The city needs to stay focused on getting industry and places for people to work, she said.
“I feel like we’ve got several different construction businesses that are very active in making sure we have good housing for people, so I would like to see us stay focused on industry and retail as well,” she said. “You can’t have one without the other.”
Hooper said she thinks the city is doing a good job with growth and current projects, such as the new Veterans Memorial Park and the city lake improvement projects.
“I think the park will be a great thing for the community, and I’m excited that it was able to be accomplished,” she said.
She also lauded the Corporate Drive extension to help expand industry.
In terms of the Highway 47 congestion, Hooper said that she couldn’t vote yes to go ahead with study, but not because she doesn’t think widening is necessary.
“At the time we were being asked to vote, I felt that the goal of the committee hadn’t been established yet,” she said.
She is supportive of widening the highway but wants more feedback from those going through the planning process.
“I have always known that we have had a problem, I just want us to make decisions wisely,” she said.
Hooper is a Union High School graduate. She earned Bachelor of Arts degrees in marketing and in business from Webster University.
She is involved with Zion United Church of Christ and is a past member of the Union Area Chamber of Commerce. She also served on the church board and various church committees.
She and her husband Steven have three grown children.
Tippin, 26, said her current role as the accounts receivable clerk with the city of St. Clair has prepared her for a seat on the board.
“I am very well versed in how a municipality is run,” she said. “I also worked with the Union Area Chamber of Commerce last year . . . and they taught me everything I know on community involvement.”
Prior to that, she worked for the American Cancer Society.
“I have tried to base my work experience around helping others and being a part of bringing communities together,” she said.
Union has great home ownership prices, location, population growth and an improving school system, Tippin said.
“Improvements in the parks and community involvement are also on the rise, and I believe we need to constantly push for better,” she said.
Despite it’s growth, Union still has a small town feel, which is perfect for families to raise children.
“I want to invest in this community long-term and to live my life to better it however I can,” she said. “Union is on the rise, and I feel that I can bring a new, younger perspective to make changes happen.”
The biggest challenge the city will face, Tippin said, is the growth of shopping and retail.
“Many people find that they travel to Washington for restaurants and shopping. We need to change that,” she said. “Currently, Union doesn’t really have a downtown that people can go to and experience unless they have legal issues that bring them to the business district.”
She also would like to see sidewalks added and upgraded throughout the city to accommodate the handicapped and bicycle riders.
Town hall meetings need to be a major priority, Tippin said.
“I believe it is important to hear the voices of the communities. But most importantly I think the city needs to support our Chamber and local clubs. Not only is the city a municipality and small government, but we also serve the community and that needs to be a priority.”
In terms of widening Highway 47, Tippin said she recognizes the need for improvements. She uses the highway each day to commute to work.
“Highway 47 is the main road connecting Union, Washington and St. Clair, and I believe that it is possible for our communities to work together to make this project happen, despite the costs or to at least have the improvements estimated before 2040,” she said.
Tippin said she is pleased with improvements the city has made over the years, including the new lake exercise equipment, the roundabouts, the sidewalks, new businesses, high school upgrades, Veterans Memorial Park and the disabled veterans memorial.
She is involved with the Bourbeuse River Review Book Club, Missouri City Clerks and Finance Officers Association, American Association of Notary Publics, American Cancer Society and Friends of the Library.