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Pledging a 'common-sense' approach, Monica Horton becomes Zone 1 City Council member

Monica Horton, right, delivers prepared remarks as part of her interview with Springfield City Council.
Gregory Holman
Monica Horton, right, delivers prepared remarks as part of her interview with Springfield City Council on April 12, 2022.

With a 7-to-1 vote on Tuesday, Springfield City Council selected Monica Horton as the new council member representing Zone 1, the northwest side of town.

Horton is a self-employed consultant, part-time music therapy professor and community volunteer. The previous council member holding the Zone 1 seat, Angela Romine, vacated to run for state Senate recently. Council interviewed three other candidates Tuesday before appointing Horton for the unpaid job.

Mayor Ken McClure said Horton’s interview performance and her application stood out.

"She made a very, very good and compelling presentation, discussion," McClure told KSMU. "We also have her detailed questions answered that we sent out about two weeks ago. So I think she made a very strong case for effective representation for Zone 1."

During her interview, Horton told council that she’s a data-driven thinker interested in using common-sense approaches to develop a more inclusive, welcoming community. She said she has a deeply held belief that Zone 1 is the heart and soul of Springfield.

"I think of just the work that goes into serving under-resourced and those who are under-represented in our city," Horton said Tuesday. "So therefore that's why I call it the heart and soul of Springfield, because as Zone 1 goes, and as we improve, certainly the rest of the city will improve as well."

She told KSMU it was an honor to be chosen for City Council and that she’s looking forward to working with the other members.

"I'm quite stunned because nothing like this has ever happened in my family," Horton said. "And I certainly love to support others who are interested in running and serving in public office, so I'm really looking forward to developing a rapport with council and really enacting some of the recommendations that we already currently see, such as from the Community Focus report."

Horton said she wants to help get Springfield past a pair of pandemics – COVID-19 and systemic inequities. She is interested in addressing red flag issues in the Springfield Community Focus report like affordable housing, and she supports the Network for Progress efforts to take on those challenges.

Horton’s appointment runs until the April 2023 city elections. Shortly after learning she won the appointment, Horton told KSMU she plans to run for the remaining two years of the original four-year council term next year.

Gregory Holman is a KSMU reporter and editor focusing on public affairs.