Three candidates are vying to fill the seat of mayor in Desloge on Tuesday.
David Shaw, Tina Kater, and Renee Sadler are on the ballot to replace David Kater, who is now on the St. Francois County Commission.
Shaw, 74, is married to Trish Shaw and has three children, a stepson, eight grandchildren, and two step-grandchildren.
He is currently serving as an alderman for Ward 1 in Desloge.
“A little over two years ago, Mayor David Kater asked if I would consider serving as the alderman in Ward 1 to replace the alderman who had to relinquish the position because he had moved out of Ward 1,” Shaw said. “I readily accepted the position and have enjoyed being an active part of city government. I am grateful to have been offered this chance to serve.”
As for education, Shaw has an associate of arts degree from Mineral Area College, a bachelor of arts in economics from Inter-American University, and a master of arts in business from Webster College in St. Louis. He has also been a participant in the Missouri Municipal League’s Municipal Governance Institute.
“I love the City of Desloge and I sincerely want to serve the citizens of my hometown,” he said. “I grew up in Desloge and lived here until I entered military service in 1968.”
He served for 25 and a half years in the U.S. Air Force and retired in 1996 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He had multiple overseas assignments and 11 state-side assignments, including his final assignment at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, where he served as the chief of F-16 aircraft customer service. He was responsible for initiating repair actions for previously unidentified aircraft maintenance malfunctions for all F-16s in the U.S. Department of Defense and in all allied countries.
“After retiring from my second career with the National Electrical Contractors in 2012, I was able to return to my hometown and put down permanent roots,” he said. “I have been active all my life in meaningful work and looked forward to staying active in my retirement years.”
Shaw spent 16 years with the St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, representing union electrical contractors in labor relations with members of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers in Hannibal and Jefferson City. He also has experience negotiating and writing labor-management agreements, serving on apprentice training committees, representing management interests in contract adjudication at Council of Industrial Relations Hearings in Washington, D.C., and serving as a fiduciary on multiple medical insurance and pension plan funds.
“My previous careers provided many opportunities to learn and practice my management skills in both large (600 personnel) and small (20 personnel) organizations,” he added. “I’ve settled difficult and contentious labor-management issues by being able to find reasonable compromises for all the parties involved.”
Shaw said he has been deeply involved in budget preparations of large organizations and knows the importance of handling public money with discretion.
“I understand financial documents and have participated in two separate fraud investigations, both of which were successfully resolved with the guilty parties paying back embezzled funds,” he said.
Shaw is a member of the Desloge Chamber of Commerce (former board member, secretary, vice president, and Labor Day Picnic sub-committee), Park Hills Lions Club, First Baptist Church of Desloge, Mineral Area Community Elks Lodge #2583, and Elvins-Ionic Lodge #154 AF and AM. He is also a volunteer ombudsman for the state of Missouri.
“My 8-plus years’ experience with the Desloge Chamber of Commerce has introduced me to civic and business leaders all over St. Francois County,” he said.
Shaw said he brings to the table over 40 years of management experience and education.
“As an alderman, I understand how city government works and can be effective on day one,” he added. “I have no ulterior motive or axe to grind – I simply want to serve the citizens of Desloge with effective and efficient management.”
He also knows when appearances can be deceiving and when further investigation is necessary before a problem can be resolved, he said.
“I also know when to NOT fix something that isn’t broken,” he added.
Kater, 45, and her husband, David, have six children, ages 18 to 26. They also have one grandchild. Two of her children are serving in the military. Devin is in the United States Marines and Kirsten is in the Army.
She has a bachelor of social work degree with a minor in sociology from the University of Missouri St. Louis. She works full time for the Missouri Department of Mental Health, where she have been for the past 14 years. She also has experience as a hospice social worker. Before that, she was a stay-at-home mom.
“I am running for mayor of Desloge because I believe I can continue moving the city forward in a positive way,” Kater said. “Desloge is a city of wonderful, hardworking people who deserve to feel safe and to feel like they are represented in their city. I will work to make sure Desloge is a city people want to live, work, play, and do business in.”
She hasn’t held an elected office, but her husband served as the mayor of Desloge for the last 16 years, which she said has allowed her to learn the day-to-day role and responsibilities of the position.
“This opportunity has also afforded me the chance to meet and form relationships with many of the city employees, contractors, and volunteers,” she explained. “It has further allowed me to develop relationships with other persons in municipal government throughout the state.
"Throughout the years, I have been a part of the process of improving the city and advocating on behalf of our city, its citizens, employees, and businesses. I believe strongly in moving forward through growth and innovation while preserving the rich history of our local area.”
Kater said she has a passion for serving others and throughout her life has had a keen interest in politics.
“I have worked as a social worker in the public sector for the past 14 years, serving Missourians from all walks of life,” she said. “I have served as a supervisor and program coordinator, where I had the privilege to lead in the design and implementation of a cutting-edge treatment program. Many of those years were also spent facilitating a multi-disciplinary team of professionals.”
During this time, she said, she learned valuable skills, which will assist her in working with the Board of Alderman, city employees, contractors, volunteers, and the citizens to solve problems and come up with creative solutions for a growing community.
“I believe I have the ability to forge much needed partnerships with other local communities to move forward,” she added. “As a social worker, I have helped solve problems, both large and small, and I understand the importance of serving individuals and communities, while working within the limits of state and federal laws, city ordinances, and budgetary constraints.”
Kater said she is a member of the Twenty-Five Gardeners Garden Club in Farmington, joining the club in 2017 and serving as vice president in 2019 and president in 2020. She also served on the Farmington Garden Council in 2018 and 2019.
She has recently been nominated to rejoin the Head Start Policy Council in April to represent the head start centers through St. Francois County. She previously served on the council in 2004 to 2006.
For many years, she has volunteered as a social work field and task supervisor for the bachelor of social work students who are working to fulfill their practicum hours through the St. Louis Field Education Collaborative. She is also a volunteer field advocate for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
She is also a lifelong member of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the National Audubon Society, and the Arbor Day Foundation.
Sadler, 56, has lived in Desloge for 23 years and in the area since 1975.
She was adopted by her parents, Dan and Reba, when she was 15 months old and she has one son, Daniel, 25, who graduated from Southeast Missouri State.
She is currently a manager with ACOSTA Sales and Marketing, where she is in charge of 21 employees in six states. She works directly with business managers and Fortune 500 Companies like Tyson, Nestle, Edgewell, Sonafi, Hostess, Kellogg’s, and Proctor and Gamble. She also works with stores across the Midwest that carry their products to ensure they are on the shelf for consumers.
“I have to maintain a balanced budget with all the hats I wear at ACOSTA,” she added.
She also fosters dogs and is an emergency rescue for the Desloge Pound. She was also a member of the Leadbelt Gun Club for many years. In the past, she has volunteered with 4H, Project Graduation, and a St. Louis food pantry.
Sadler hasn’t held elected office before, but she was on the Desloge Planning and Zoning Committee and Parks Committee in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“I am running for mayor for many reasons,” she said. “One is to bring the community together and get everyone more involved in our awesome city. This will make us stronger than ever. Secondly, I want to ensure that our tax dollars are being spent where appropriated in the budget.”
At the mayoral forum at the Desloge Chamber of Commerce luncheon earlier this month, Sadler said she discussed looking into the past contractors that built up subdivisions and homes.
“They are supposed to be putting up a bond or an escrow account for any work that is left behind,” she explained. “What I have learned in some instances, our taxes dollars are spent fixing what they didn’t finish. Without those accounts being set up, our tax dollars have to be used and that’s not the way it is supposed to be.”
She also wants to ensure that all contractors, including the unions, have the opportunity to bid on every job.
“No tipping of the scales per-say,” she added.
If she is elected mayor, Sadler also wants to have a bi-monthly or a quarterly meeting for Desloge residents.
“Have coffee with the mayor and tell me your visions, ideas, what you want to change,” she said.
She said she realizes the Board of Alderman has more control over many decisions, but she would like everyone to come together as one, so everyone can be happy.
“Now with that said, we cannot fix everything and many things take time,” she said, “but I want the citizens to know they are being heard and understand.”
Sadler also wants to have a newsletter again for the residents’ voices to be heard.
“I also want their stories to be told of living their life and raising families here,” she added. “This will strengthen the ties between the community and the city.”
Salder said she is also running to help city workers by making their daily work lives better with less angry phone calls and more gratification for a job well done.
She said she is the best candidate for the position because she is doing this solely for the community.
“For our children who were born and raised here to want to stay here because it’s a great place to raise their families, too,” she explained. ”My idea and plans are only what’s best for our community and its employees. I am proud of my community and our heritage and I will work hard to preserve that.”
Desloge Board of Aldermen
Three seats are up for grabs on the Board of Aldermen. John Wigger is running unopposed in Ward 1 to replace David Shaw. Kelly Farkas is running unopposed to fill the Ward 2 seat vacated by Chris Gremminger.
In Ward 3, Terry Cole is running against incumbent Jerry Hulsey.
Jerry “Hoghead” Hulsey
Hulsey, 68, has been married to Deborah for 36 years. They have nine kids/step-kids: Julia, Corey, Andrew, Cody, Lucas, Nick, Sam (who passed away in 2015), Frankie, and Joe. They have 12 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
He has lived in Desloge since 1969 and graduated from North County, and all of his kids, except one, have graduated from North County.
He retired from the Park Hills Water Department in 2014. For the past five years, he has been driving a bus for the North County School District.
He is a member of the Knights of Columbus and St. Joe Catholic Church in Farmington.
“Everybody knows me as Hoghead,” Hulsey said.
As for the nickname, which will appear on the ballot, he got that while playing football for North County.
“Some guy looked at me when I had the pads on, and said, ‘man, you look like a hog,’” he said. “And then from then on, it was Hoghead.”
Hulsey has over 20 years of experience as an alderman for Desloge and he hopes to continue making good decisions for the city.
“We've had a lot of good things over the years going on here,” he added, “and I just want to still be a part of it.
He said he likes to help people and is a good listener, always helping residents to find the answers they are looking for.
“I still feel like I can do the job,” he added.
Growth for a city can often mean higher taxes, but Hulsey said he and the board have done their best to keep rates down for Desloge residents. For example, he said, charging trash fees is something he’s always voted against.
“I feel like that's something we can give back to the residents,” he said.
Cole, 54, is husband to Nancy and father/stepfather to Neil (Danielle) Basler, Julie (Jeromy) McDowell, Brittany (Colby) Tinsley, Mike Cole, and Marissa Cole. He is also proud to be called PaPa by Mia Basler, Tatem Tinsley, Jaxon Tinsley, Maddox Basler, Kendall McDowell, Kai McDowell, Adrian Tinsley, Teighan Hill, Cru McDowell, and Christian Cole.
“After God, my family is my world,” he added.
He is currently the Parks and Recreation Department director and building inspector for Bonne Terre. He is retired from the Missouri Department of Corrections after nearly 30 years of service and from the North County School District, where he served as a high school football coach. He is also a veteran of the U.S. Army, having served in Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
Cole is also a member of The Bridge Community Church, where he serves as a large group leader for pre-k kids. And he is on the Board of Directors for the Desloge Chamber of Commerce and the Raider Junior Football League.
“During my entire life, I have embraced the concept of service to others,” he said. “And as an adult, my career paths have always been in the public service sectors.”
Before taking over in Bonne Terre, Cole served as the Parks and Rec director in Desloge, where he said his “mission and vision centered around bringing needed amenities and upgrades to the parks, pool, and library for the wonderful citizens of Desloge.”
“I have a firm understanding of all the aspects and responsibilities of a municipal government, (including) its functions, the budgets, policies and procedures, and the adoption of ordinances,” he continued. “As a forward thinker, I will always do what is best for the citizens of Desloge, and that is to serve and represent Ward 3, and all citizens of Desloge, to the best of my ability.”
Although he has never held an elected office before, Cole said he loves Desloge and wants to serve the city.
“I’m a lifelong resident and I believe Desloge is a great community to live and raise a family,” he said. “My agenda is simple: to faithfully serve and represent God, my family, my community (Ward 3, and all Desloge citizens), my country, and the wonderful city employees with compassion and complete transparency and to be a mindful and responsible steward of their hard earned tax dollars.”
Nikki Overfelt-Chifalu is a reporter for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.