Eight Apply For Two Star Valley Council Seats

Council can review, select new members tonight or refine the process


Turns out, plenty of people want to be on the Star Valley Town Council -- so long as they don't have to run for election.

The Star Valley Town Council tonight at its regular meeting at 6:30 in the Baptist Church will consider eight applications for two spots on the council.

The council could vote to fill the two positions on the spot or go through some additional process to decide whom to appoint to complete the terms of two council members who recently resigned. One of the terms lasts only until June the other will last for two more years.

In contrast to the heavy interest in the appointed slots, only four people ran for the three spots open during the last election.

The applications for the open seats include Chris Benjamin, Nathalie Stroup, Christopher Smith, William Mennen, Gary Plunkett, Irving Popke, Larry Stephenson and Gary Walker.

Each applicant submitted a brief statement of interest that also summarized their qualifications.

The statements said, in part:

Nathalie Stroup: "As you are aware, I engaged in the election that took place on March 11 and received approximately 50 percent of the votes from our community, although it was not quite enough to elect me, I feel that the community would agree with an appointment.

I have been in the medical field for over 20 years, ranging from indirect patient care to management. I care deeply about our town and the people whom live here and I would be honored to serve our community...Our community is still in its infancy stage and I believe that I would be an asset to Star Valley in assisting in its continued growth and development."

Chris Benjamin: "I have been a resident Star Valley for the past 28 years. I held an elected position on the Diamond Star Fire Department Board for six years, which gives me an understanding of what is required of me to fill this position. I would be honored to serve."

Larry Stephenson: I have lived in Star Valley for several years and was a signer of the petition to incorporate. I have watched the town grow and change since its inception and would welcome the opportunity to now play a more active role.

Rim Country is a familiar place, having been coming this way since 1953 when my father bought a lot at the then just-subdivided Kohl's Ranch (pre-Beeline!). I would welcome the chance to use some of the policy skills that I have acquired for the betterment of Star Valley. I have a history of working with elected officials and a lot for admiration for what you face."

Irving Popke: I am presently employed at the Ace Hardware Store in Payson, Arizona, as the assistant manager and have held that position since October of 2007. My intent is to grow with my community and stay active within it as it grows also."

Gary Plunkett: I am interested in serving on the Star Valley Town Council as I have an interest in seeing Star Valley grow and prosper.

My first association with city government was when I wrote to the council requesting, on behalf of the people (on Springdale Drive), to have the streets paved. Having retired in Star Valley, I have the time to dedicate to my services to the town.

William Mennen: My family first arrived in Arizona in the early 1940's when my grandfather built one of the first hotels in downtown Phoenix.

My father followed in the early 1950's and began working as a machinist for Air Research Corp. I was raised in Phoenix and graduated from St. Simon & Jude grade school and Washington High School. I entered the United States Air Fore in 1974 and retired after a successful 20-year career in 1994.

I've worked in the semi-conductor industry and the fingerprint industry and progressed in both to high-level management positions. While in the Air Force, I earned two college degrees and I am now continuing my education in a masters program, MBA. I will graduate from this study in 12 more months and then I plan on pursuing a PhD in management.

I have always enjoyed being involved in the community. I was a volunteer firefighter for four years, vice president of the fire department's board of directors, block watch captain for a neighborhood block watch program and am now a candidate for reserve firefighter with the Hellsgate fire department.

I am very interested in being a town council member because I want to serve my community and make things happen. I am a team player, a great listener, very organized and disciplined and have demonstrated outstanding leadership qualities.

Christopher Smith: I am interested in serving a two-year term as councilman for the town of Star Valley. With my background in business and economics, coupled with my years of leadership experience, I believe that I can add value to our developing community."

(He wrote on letterhead from Chris Smith Investments, member Wachovia Securities Financial Network, but the attached information was not provided in response to the Roundups public documents request.)

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