Joplin voters decided the winners for the Joplin City Council seats at the April 5, 2022 election, electing three new citizens to join two incumbents. Three general seats were up for election with Mayor Ryan Stanley and Councilmember Anthony Monteleone not seeking reelection, and Councilmember Doug Lawson completing his first four-year term.
Voters elected Kate Spencer, Josh DeTar and incumbent Lawson for the general seats. All will serve a four-year term.
Kate Spencer, age 43, is a homemaker and has lived in Joplin for the past 17 years. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a bachelor’s degree in marketing management. She and her husband have four children. She has not held a public office before.
Josh DeTar, age 46, works as a financial adviser with Edward D. Jones & Co. He attended Missouri Southern State University. He recently served on the Memorial Hall Citizens Committee and has served on the Joplin Parks and Recreation Board. He is a lifelong resident of Joplin.
Doug Lawson, age 74, is a retired chaplain with the U.S. Navy and worked as a chaplain with Freeman Health System. He and his wife have lived in Joplin for the past ten years, after returning home from his military career. Lawson has a bachelor’s degree in political science from Missouri Southern State University and a master’s degree in divinity from Emmanuel Christian Seminary, and a second master’s degree in educational psychology from Alliant International University. He holds a doctor of ministry from the Graduate Theological Foundation. He is a member of Joplin Kiwanis, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Fleet Reserve Association, and Military Officers Association. This is his second term on the City Council.
The Council Seat in Zone 4 was also up for election following Diane Reid Adams completing her first four-year term. Reid Adams ran for a second term; however, challenger Mark Farnham won this race for the four-year term.
Mark Farnham, age 61, is a doctor of radiology and is semiretired. He received his medical degree from the University of Missouri. He has previously served on a private school board.
Gary Shaw, age 80, ran unopposed for the Zone 1 seat. He was first elected to Council in 2002 and served as Mayor from 2008 to 2010, and again from 2018 to 2020. He is the executive administrator of Central Christian Center, where he has served for 44 years. Prior to serving on the council, Shaw was chairman of the Zoning and Planning Commission for six years and has been a member of the Capital Improvements Committee and the Missouri Municipal League Board of Directors. He is a past president of the Historic Preservation Commission and Main Street Joplin and former vice president of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. He served six years with the U.S. Army. Currently, he serves on the board of the Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council, the Jasper County Historic and Beautification Committee for the Jasper County Courthouse, the Radar Farm Civil War Park Board, and is a trustee for Central Christian Center and on their Board of Elders. He has lived in Joplin since 1960, except for a brief time in Texas in the mid 1980's.
Lawson elected as Mayor, Cortez reelected as Pro Tem
Following the swearing-in ceremony, Council members elected Doug Lawson as Mayor and Keenan Cortez as Mayor Pro Tem. These positions are elected by City Council members at its first meeting, as stated in the City’s Home Rule Charter Section. 2.06.
“The mayor shall be elected by the council at its first meeting from among the city council members for a term of two years and shall have no regular administrative duties. He shall preside at all meetings of the council and shall be recognized as head of the city government for all legal and ceremonial purposes and by the governor for purposes of military law.”