For the past 19 years, Dr. Mark Keen has led Westfield Washington Schools. Now, Keen is looking to lead the community as the Westfield City Council District 1 representative.
“We do surveys of the community. I know a lot of things of what people like and don’t like,” he said. “I especially understand the community and its growth.”
Keen, 67, is involved with the Grand Park committee, cultural arts alliance and master comprehensive plan. His work with the district makes him keenly aware of the tax rate and impact of TIF districts.
“I think I can add a lot to the conversation,” he said. “As you develop, high quality is something extremely important to people. As we see taxes going down, our ability to provide amenities goes up. It’s a really nice cycle ahead.”
Keen’s contract with the school district runs through June 2016, after which point he said he has considered retiring. Keen said he sees no issues with serving as superintendent and city councilor in Westfield.
“There are superintendents in the state legislator,” he said. “There are very few decisions that are made that would be a conflict of interest but I’m ultrasensitive to that.”
If elected he would be serving in both roles for less than half of his term.
“I want no appearance of conflict of interest, but that doesn’t prevent me from talking about it in some cases. There is very little impact on the other,” Keen said.
Keen said he is running to give back to the community and would use his working relationships with community leaders.
“The community has been for me and my family,” he said. “I will only do one term. It’s a four-year thing and that’s going to be it.”
Keen said his biggest goal is “making sure I’m an active listener to what people want.” He also wants items fully vetted before spending taxpayer funds.
“There is a time and a place for public-private development and private development,” he said. “We need to fully talk out things before we act.”
Two-term incumbent Rob Stokes did not file for re-election for District 1.
The Republican primary candidate filings for May’s election include:
Mayor – Andy Cook and Jeff Harpe
Clerk-treasurer – Cindy Gossard
City council district 1 – Mark Keen
City council district 2 – Steve Hoover and Bob Beaudry
City council district 3 – Bob Smith and Joe Edwards
City council district 4 – Chuck Lehman, Daniel McKinney and Bobby Smith
City council district 5 – Robert “Bob” Horkay and Brian Ferguson
City council district at-large – Jim Ake, Bobby Jones, Tom Smith, Cindy Spoljaric and Ron Thomas
*There were no Democrat candidates filed.