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William C. Haggard faces a rare challenge as he seeks his sixth straight two-year term as Herculaneum’s mayor in the April 4 election.

Haggard was appointed to fill a vacancy of the city’s top governmental spot in October 2010, then ran for his first full term the next year.

Except for 2017, when he easily turned back a challenge by Thomas Bess-King by garnering 79 percent of the vote, Haggard has run unopposed.

However, this year, Ryan Wright, a relative political newcomer, is seeking to unseat Haggard.

The mayor is paid $150 per month.

The mayor’s position is the only contested race for city governmental seats this year, as Ward 1’s Michel Burlage faces no opposition for a ninth two-year term while Ward 2’s Norman Seithel will be sworn into a seventh. Ward 3’s Joe Burke opted not to run for a fifth term. Registered write-in candidate Israel Clayman is challenging Jessica Shepherd to succeed Burke.

HAGGARD, 71, is retired after teaching high school biology for 32 years (1973 to 2005) in the Hillsboro R-3 School District.

A 1969 graduate of Herculaneum High School, he earned an associate degree in 1971 from Jefferson College and a bachelor’s degree in education with a biology major in 1973 from Southeast Missouri State University. He also has taken graduate biology classes.

WRIGHT, 25, is single. He is a Realtor with Wright Living Real Estate LLC and a mortgage loan originator with Wright Financial Inc.

A 2016 graduate of Festus High School, he attended Jefferson College and then took classes in business and administration at the University of Missouri in Columbia from 2016-2018.

What experience do you have that might serve you in this position?

Haggard: In addition to my tenure as mayor, I was an alderman from 2004-2010. I was chief of the Herculaneum Fire Department from 1982-2017 and a volunteer firefighter from 1969-1982. I served on the Dunklin R-5 Board of Education from 1978-1994. I have been president of the Jefferson County Firefighters Association since 1999 and held numerous leadership roles with the Hillsboro National Education Association.

Wright: I have been in politics since a very young age. I was in student government throughout my years at school and even served as class president for a few years. I have helped on many campaigns at the local and state level.

What are the biggest problems facing the city and how would you address them?

Haggard: ■ The need for businesses to move into Herculaneum and provide additional revenue for city services. City officials regularly meet with landowners and potential businesses.

■ Stormwater management without a dedicated funding source is another problem. The city is working with county officials to make sure our stormwater ordinances are in compliance with government regulations and findings ways to fund stormwater management.

■ Development of the container-on-vessel port planned for Herculaneum. City officials have been meeting with the port development partners on a regular basis. The city will make sure that port development follows zoning guidelines and ordinances.

Wright: With the possible addition of the port and the Love’s truck stop, there will be new problems to solve with our infrastructure. Making sure the city has a good flow of local and visitor traffic will be a top priority. We need more businesses that will generate revenue for the city and bring value at the same time. The small businesses of Herculaneum are the backbone of our community, and we need to make sure the city is doing all it can to support them. If our businesses grow, so does the city.

If your city’s proposed tax on recreational marijuana sales is approved by voters in April, how would you like to see that money spent?

Haggard: If and when the tax is approved and there is a dispensary in Herculaneum, I would like to see the money spent on additional parks, infrastructure needs like stormwater runoff, sidewalks and public safety.

Wright: While I’m opposed to any tax increase, if the voters in Herculaneum approve this measure, we should have increased investment in infrastructure. With the new port and addition of a large truck stop, there will be a large increase of traffic throughout the area, and this will bring more responsibility to make sure we can maintain our roads.

Why should voters elect you to this position? List your goals.

Haggard: I have served as an alderman and mayor in Herculaneum for 20-plus years. During this time, many positive changes and improvements have taken place and I want to continue that. My goals:

■ Bringing economic growth to the city.

■ Adding community events to improve our residents’ quality of life,

■ Continue improvements to parks and the infrastructure.

■ Create a positive identity for the city.

■ Continue to improve public safety.

■ Create ways to involve our veterans, senior citizens and youth.

As a lifelong resident, I can say that no one cares more about Herculaneum than I do.

Wright: I know how to build a team that works hard for each other and the goals of the organization. Through my years in the real estate and mortgage industry, I have learned a lot about team building and adversity. People trust me with their finances and I work to help guide people in one of their biggest financial decisions in their lives. I have built connections with people in the community on the residential and commercial real estate sides. My connections with business owners and homeowners will help me to attract more small businesses.