State Watch

Recall effort over masks fails to remove Missouri mayor

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Voters elected not to remove a Missouri mayor who was the subject of a recall effort after imposing a mask mandate on his community. 

Only about 25 percent of people voted on Tuesday to recall Nixa Mayor Brian Steele ,who will now remain in office until the end of his term in April 2023, according to The Associated Press

Steele, who has been mayor since 2014, issued an executive order in 2020 to require masks in Nixa, a town with a population of about 21,000 people near Springfield, the AP reported. 

“Based on the facts we knew at that time, I don’t think I would have done anything different than I would now,” Steele said, according to the AP. “I had the support of my entire city council. Almost all of them were out there today at the polls helping me out. That shows that we made the decision that needed to be made at that time.”

Voters in favor of the recall said the city council should make decisions about mask mandates instead of the mayor, the wire service added.

By the time a group had obtained enough signatures to prompt the recall vote, the mask mandate had already expired. Skipp Phipps, a member of the recall committee, told the AP that the failed recall still highlighted the town’s need for “representatives that will involve and listen to the people.”

“I want to thank everyone who supported me through this process – my friends, the members of the City Council and all the community members who helped in the effort,” Steele said in a statement to The Hill. “I am excited to move past this and continue with the exciting projects and new growth we are seeing across Nixa.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends masking indoors in 97 percent of counties regardless of individuals’ vaccination status, The New York Times noted.

In Christian County, Mo., where Nixa is located, 42 percent of people are fully vaccinated, which is less than the statewide vaccination rate of 50 percent, according to the Times.

Tags Election face mask mandate Missouri

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