By: Ernie Wren
By this time next week Ashland will have elected a mayor and two Southern Boone school board members, as well as decided on a couple of Southern Boone school district proposals. It is wonderful that voters have choices, and to all the candidates, whether they win or lose, THANK YOU.

For Mayor, residents have the choice of current Mayor Dorise Slinker or Mayor candidate Alderman Loren Plank.

I can honestly state that in my opinion, Ashland will be in good hands with either candidate. Loren Plank now has a year of council experience under his belt and has proven his willingness to not vote with the majority at times. While some of his ideas start off a bit “pie in the sky,” he is willing to review, discuss, and find alternative suggestions to put forth. New ideas are a good thing for a growing community. He is firm in his core values and will continue to serve Ashland well in whatever capacity.

Mayor Dorise Slinker now has two years under his belt, and has had to navigate a few rough administrative waters, mostly due to decisions which were made by previous administrations. His “politicking” is that he chooses to focus on serving the community needs as a way of putting himself out there. He recently spearheaded a spaghetti lunch/dinner to help cover school lunch debt for children in need. Approximately 180 people were served, and the fundraiser brought in $6,750 in donations. He was recently seen serving meals at the Ashland Betterment Coalition trivia night and has helped many other organizations and causes in our community. I’ve always believed in the old mantra that “actions speak louder than words”, and Mayor Slinker has certainly shown his commitment to Ashland.

For school board we have three candidates who are running for two openings. The candidates are Heather Brown, Jeremy Galloway, and April Georgetti.

Heather Brown, a former Army veteran who served for a tour in Operation Iraqi Freedom has experienced educational needs worldwide. As a resident of Ashland for five years, she has a focus on strategic growth, teacher salaries, and ensuring a strong district for her own, as well as others’ children.

Jeremy Galloway is also a five-year resident of the district with his wife and two middle school children. He advocates prioritizing district interests over personal agendas, making informed decisions on district growth, and bringing an approach that involves preparation and educating himself on the issues.

April Georgetti and her family have also lived in Ashland for several years. She is a former teacher with over 11 years of experience. Her last teaching position was here in Southern Boone, so she is familiar with the district and its operations. She has served as a state literacy grant director, and currently serves as a Missouri assessment program manager. She is committed to student success, which is her passion.

As with the city elections, the Southern Boone School Board and our community will be well served by any of these three candidates.

I try to avoid the overall “politics” of politicians in my articles and focus on their service to voters and residents. For example, not everyone agreed with former State Representative Sara Walsh’s votes, but most would agree that Sara was perhaps the most community-engaged and constituent responsive official to represent our district. To this end, I also give a shout out to our State Representative Cheri Toalson Reisch and Missouri Senator Caleb Rowden. I recently emailed both on a Sunday afternoon regarding a ridiculously low level of customer service from the Department of Revenue, and had responses from Representative Reisch that evening, and Senator Rowden the next morning. By Monday afternoon I had received a call from DOR promising to follow through on their paperwork that week and overnight a truck title to me. I mention this in “Around Town” because I believe it is important to know that when they can be, our elected officials are there for their constituents, regardless of party, as all officials should be.

The final election decisions to be made are on the school district proposals. From the district’s website, “ Voters in the Southern Boone School District will decide on two important ballot issues in the April 2nd, 2024 election. Question No. 1 is an $11.6 million no tax rate increase bond issue for a high school expansion construction project. Question No. 2 is a 20-cent levy transfer to help increase salaries for teachers and staff. ”

Both proposals involve no increases to taxes and more information is available at the website at As a current teacher in the district, I personally see the need for both to pass and believe that our community will be well served with both proposals.

Next week the Boone County Journal will have election results and we can move on to normal business. I repeat my THANKS to the candidates that have put themselves out there for consideration in giving voters choices.