By Mindy Ragan Wood
Sixth-grade geography teacher Jeff Wootton defeated longtime Yukon banker and city council incumbent Earline Smaistrla Tuesday in the at-large race.
Wootton collected 957 votes, more than 65 percent against Smaistrla’s 495 votes or 34.09 percent.
“I’m extremely excited,” Wootton said after the results. “I’m very optimistic for the opportunity we have in front of us. I’m grateful I get the opportunity to serve my community and the town I absolutely adore.”
Wootton telephoned Smaistrla Tuesday night to thank her for her service and operating a clean campaign.
“I thanked her because she was willing to serve her community for many years and she’s done a great job. The people elected her time and time again and I just told her I appreciated it,” he said. “She told me to make sure I keep the people first in what we’re doing. I agreed with her 100 percent. I would be sure that the voice of the people is heard.”
Smaistrla told the Yukon Progress that she wishes the new councilman well.
“I would like to congratulate Mr. Wootton and wish him well,” she said. “I want to thank everyone for all the support I had in my campaign.”
The election may have turned out a large number of support from the education community and younger voters. Wootton, 37, teaches at Yukon Middle School.
“Tough to say,” Wootton speculated. “I know I had a lot of support from teachers. I would say that I’d like to see the numbers for the younger people who voted because we probably increased turnout on that. I had a lot of great conversations with older people though, that they just wanted their voice to be heard.”
Wootton said he could not have won the election without his team.
“I have to say I couldn’t have done this without my great team. Hunter White, a young man that worked tirelessly on this campaign and I had people from church, from the school and I had a group of people who liked what we were saying and they wanted to be a part of this. I couldn’t have done it without them.”