Voters in Yukon opted for change on Tuesday with political newcomer Jeff Wootton defeating longtime council member Earline Smaistrla for an open seat on the council.
Wootton, a sixth-grade teacher at Yukon Middle School, received 957 votes, or 65.91 % of the ballots, compared to Smaistrla’s 495 votes, or 34.09 %.
Wootton, who was making his first run for any type of office, said he is excited to serve on the council.
“I’m excited about the opportunity to serve a community that I absolutely love and adore,” Wootton said.
He said he is honored to have been elected and looks forward to helping push Yukon into the future.
“I felt if the people who were complaining showed up, we had a chance at victory. The people showed up and voiced their opinions,” he said.
Wootton also said many of the people he visited with felt there was a disconnect between the council and the residents, who felt their concerns were not being heard.
“If you go by the will of the people, it is time for a change,” Wootton said. “I agree.”
He also pointed out that his goal is to fix concerns.
“If there is a problem, come to me and I will work on it. If we can fix it, let’s fix it. I want the citizens to have that voice and have that chance to solve some problems for this town,” Wootton said.
Among the issues that he sees as concerns are finding ways to improve traffic flow, drawing businesses to the community and finding a way to reduce water bills — especially for single-person homes.
Smaistrla has served two different terms on the council. She served from 2000 to 2009 and was re-elected in 2015.
“It’s was an honor to be with all the people who were on the council. I don’t have any tears yet,” she said following the election.
She also said that Wootton contacted her Tuesday evening to thank her for her service.
“I congratulated him,” she said.
Smaistrla grew up in Purcell and moved to Yukon in 1971.
“In my heart, I was trying to do what is best for Yukon,” she said.
Smaistrla said she will have plenty to keep her busy.
She works full-time at a local bank, teaches piano and volunteers her time.
Plus, she has 10 great-grandchildren.
Smaistrla said she will stay involved.
“I’m not just going to go away,” she said.
Wootton is expected to be sworn in at the May 7 council meeting.
Banner School District Office 2: Justin Christy defeated L.T. Scott by a vote of 133 to 99. Christy carried 57.33 % of the vote.
Canadian Valley Technology Center Seat No. 6: Incumbent Dean Riddell defeated former board member George C. Fina. Riddell received 2,921 votes to Fina’s 2,463. Riddell was appointed last year after Fina, a longtime board member, resigned.
Mustang City Council Ward 2: Keith Teeples defeated incumbent Josh Leete by a vote of 54 to 41.
Mustang City Council Ward 1: Michael S. Ray defeated DeAnna Pratt, 43 to 16. Ray was appointed to the seat in January after Pratt, who had previously been appointed, resigned. Her name appeared on the ballot because she withdrew from the race after the deadline;
Mustang City Council Ward 6: Nathan R. Sholland defeated David Harper 65 to 57. Darrell Noblitt, the incumbent, did not seek re-election.
Mustang School Board Seat 4: Chad Schroeder won a full term on the school board by defeating Barbara Young. Schroeder received 489 votes compared to Young’s 314. Schroeder was appointed to the seat and then elected in a special election to complete an unexpired term.
Piedmont Mayor: Keith Mayabb received the most votes among three candidates. Mayabb received 501 votes, which was 43.49 % of the vote. Piedmont’s charter said the person receiving the most votes is elected. The other candidates included Bobby Williamson, who was serving as mayor, and John Bickerstaff. Williamson received 347 votes, or 30.12 %. John Bickerstaff received 304 votes, which is 26.39 %.
Piedmont School Board Office 4: Steve Cox received 852 votes to defeat Cory Benton, who received 667 votes.
Okarche Board of Trustees Office No. 1: Matthew Blackwood received 230 votes to defeat Michael D. Mendel.
Okarche Board of Trustees Office No. 3: Jose Frisby received 233 votes to defeat Michael D. Mendel, who received 107 votes.
Okarche Town Clerk: Dana Reese defeated Stacey Morgan. Reese received 283 votes compared to Morgan’s 54 votes.
Okarche School Board Office 4: Ryan McIlvain defeated Beth Schieber 264 to 182.