In a hotly-contested May 10 general election it was the challengers who came away triumphant as Larry Cooper and Timmerle Kelly won their spots on the Van Alstyne City Council.
Cooper was victorious in his bid to win the Place 1 seat over incumbent Kaaren Teuber. Running against Teuber and James Lewis (Sandy Hill was on the ballot but had effectively withdrawn from the race) he snagged 176 votes — 86 in early voting and 90 in the May 10 voting. Teuber garnered 113 votes (40 and 73), while Lewis tallied 16 votes and Hill had five.
"This has been my first time running for an office and it has been a wonderful experience," said Cooper. "Going door-to-door, I have found Van Alstyne’s citizens to be overwhelmingly upbeat about the prospects for the city. The sense that I get is that they hope to maintain the uniqueness of the city’s center, downtown and historical Van Alstyne but hope for the growth of the city all around the center.
"This has been a wonderful time for me, and I thank this community for an opportunity to serve during great times."
Kelly won her Place 2 seat by beating out incumbent Jim Smith, who was in his third term on Council. Kelly tallied 190 total votes (98 and 92) to Smith’s 116 votes (35 and 81) in getting the win and the spot on Council.
"I believe the citizens of Van Alstyne made a decisive statement in this election cycle," said Kelly. "This is a city that wants a more positive image and steady, well-managed growth while maintaining its close-knit, small town quality of life.
"I think we can have all of the above and am honored to have been chosen to be a part of helping Van Alstyne move that direction."
The Place 3 election was a one-man show as Robert Jaska was running opposed. Nevertheless, 220 citizens cast their vote for him.
The election was one of the more involved in recent history. Early voting numbers were solid for Van Alstyne while the candidate forums — particularly the second of the two events — sponsored by the Van Alstyne Chamber of Commerce were well received. At the second event just days before the general election voting candidates participated in a town hall-style meeting in a standing-room only environment.
"I…greatly appreciate the efforts of the Chamber of Commerce and the Van Alstyne Leader in creating opportunities for the citizens to get to know the candidates. No one should be required to vote in ignorance and certainly no one was asked to do that here in Van Alstyne," Cooper said. "Wendelyn Tillman, President of the Chamber of Commerce, is a local hero. Fronting the Chamber’s candidate forums, she managed crowds, controversies and diverse commentaries in order to better inform Van Alstyne’s voters. She did a wonderful job, and the Van Alstyne Leader did a great job, publishing informative answers to its questionnaire to each candidate and useful information from each forum for those who could not attend. The Van Alstyne Leader is a very important publication for city citizens."
Cooper, Jaska and Kelly will be sworn in during a special ceremony at Van Alstyne City Hall on Monday at 9 a.m.