Political newcomer Mark Wessels said he will listen and soak in information when he first works with the Washington City Council.
Wessels was the winner of the only contested race Tuesday for the Washington City Council.
“Through the committees and boards I have worked on in the past, I have learned to absorb as much as I can before I become too assertive,” he said.
Wessels noted that he was given city code books and other material to ready him for the position.
“I have a lot to learn and a lot of reading to do,” Wessels said. “I am going through code books and other city-related materials.”
Wessels, 72, 3420 Springcrest Court, received 442 votes to defeat Tracy Comely, 325 votes, for the Ward 2 seat.
“I am very pleased,” he said. “I had a lot of people supporting me beforehand and since the election, a lot of people have called or caught me somewhere to congratulate me.”
Wessels will replace Jeff Mohesky on the council. He withdrew his bid for re-election in January.
Wessels is not the only newcomer to the council. Nick Obermark, 1415 E. Sixth St., was elected in Ward 1. Councilwoman Susan Watermann also withdrew her bid for re-election.
Incumbents Jeff Patke, Ward 3, was elected to a fourth two-year term; and Joe Holtmeier, Ward 4, was elected to a fifth term.
Patke, Holtmeier and Obermark are expected to be sworn into office April 15. Weessels added he will work out a different time to take the oath due to scheduling issues.
There were 774 voters in Ward 2. That is higher than any other Washington ward. In Ward 1 there were 532 voters. Ward 3 had 563 voters and in Ward 4 there were 481 votes cast.
“In Ward 2 the turnout was better than predicted,” Wessels said, “Nearly 800 votes, pretty good for an off year.”
The retired teacher, principal and Washington Area Chamber of Commerce executive director has never sought political office.
Wessels is married with two children and three grandchildren.
He is a graduate of University of Missouri-Columbia where he earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Wessels then received two master’s degrees from the University of Missouri St. Louis in special education and school administration.
Prior to attending college, Wessels served two years in the U.S. Army.
He retired from the Washington School District in 2000 after 30 years in education. He served as principal of Washington Middle School for many years.
After he left the school district, he worked three years for Lindenwood University at the Daniel Boone Home.
Wessels was hired as the Washington tourism director in April 2005, a position he held until being named Chamber president/CEO in March of 2008. He retired from the Chamber in 2012.
He has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Washington Area Highway Transportation Committee, the Washington Historical Society, Industrial Development Authority (IDA) and others.
Wessels also delivers meals to homebound seniors through the Meals on Wheels program and he tutors math for those seeking a GED.