By Alyssa Sperrazza
Yukon city council primaries have been decided with Jeff Wootton and Earline Smaistrla advancing to the April 2 general election.
Smaistrala held an early lead in the evening with 44.44 percent of the votes as of 7:30 p.m. when only absentees and early votes were accounted for. She slowly lost her lead as the election day ballots came in though.
Wootton took lead with only several precinct ballots counted. The final results came in shortly before 8:30 p.m. giving Wootton a lead with 41.35 percent of the votes, almost double Smaistrla’s 24.9 percent.
In his first political campaign, Wootton said the win felt good and he was glad that the voters showed up.
“We have a lot of great conversations with people and I was very confident that the people were gonna come out and the vote,” Wootton said. “It feels amazing.”
Wootton campaigned heavily on attracting new business for Yukon, government transparency of the budget and improving traffic conditions. He said he doesn’t plan on changing any of those points moving forward.
“Going around talking with people, it seems they’re with me on the traffic points, along with the businesses, wanting to plan ahead and just helping Yukon grow but doing it in a way that’s smart,” Wootton said. “A lot of people were on board with that so we’re gonna stick with that and we’ll keep plugging away.”
While Smaistrla’s numbers dropped as precinct ballots were counted, she maintained enough to move forward and said that just means she’ll have to get her boots on and fight harder heading towards April.
“I would imagine I still need to have people understand that I have the background of the city and I don’t think everyone understands… you can’t just come in and win something and then have everything your way,” Smaistrala said. “We have to get that out there. I’m dedicated to the city and I’m gonna try harder.”
Smaistrla, who currently holds the at-large seat, said she was encouraged to see how many people filed for the post, emphasizing the importance of caring about your city.
“Since the 2000s when I first began, I don’t think more than one or two or three have run so I encourage them to continue on and stay involved in the city because it’s important and we want everybody to have their say,” Smaistrla said. “Caring for your city is a wonderful thing instead of just saying, ‘oh whatever.’ It’s a good thing to be concerned about the city and wants to be helpful.”
Wootton was also encouraged by the number of candidates that sought the city council post.
“I just want to say congratulations for running a good race,” Wootton said. “It was great that we had so many people come out and run for this position. Just shows that there’s a lot of people that care for Yukon. It’s awesome to see this much desire to see Yukon be the best that it can be.”