Dennis Page won the at-large city council position during Osceola’s special election Aug. 5. Page, who took over former council member Glenn Schaff’s seat, sat at his first council meeting Aug. 6.
Page, a Clarke County local and 1964 Clarke Community HighSchool graduate, won unofficially with a vote of 261.
Page will hold the at-large position through the remainder of Schaff’s term, which ends December 2017.
“I made a lot of phone calls. We had a little meet and greet,” Page said about his campaigning experience. “Luckily I got plenty of support, I had a couple people call me and say they would like to make phonecalls on my behalf. … I’m also a hometown boy, and people believe in that. All those factors, I think, helped to get me elected.”
There were 409 ballots cast in the special election, split between absentee ballots and wards one, two and three.
Page has been active in politics since his retirement.
“I checked with the Democratic Central Committee here, and I’d been going to the meetings,” Page said. “I used to be really active with organizations when I first moved back to town and was running the Hardee’s here.”
Page, who considers himself a moderate Democrat, said one thing he wants to do for Osceola is help those with out-of-date homes update them.
“I want to see if there isn’t some way we can come up with maybe a low-interest rate loan at one of our local banks so maybe they can get those properties up to date, or up to code, so that, you know, that we don’t have to go in and fine them,” Page said.
Another thing Page wants to do is bring revenue up in Osceola by supporting the lake project and bringing businesses to the area.
“I’m still kind of getting my feet wet,” Page said. “I guess I was really surprised (about the election results) because I thought it was going to be a pretty close race. ... I didn’t anticipate quite that large of a margin. But, it was great to see we had four people run.”
Schaff held Osceola City Council’s at-large seat for 14 years, including being re-elected in November 2013, before resigning in May.
“I’d like to thank the council and these good people that wanted to stay up there 14 years,” Schaff said. “It was a pleasure working for you.”
According to a letter to the editor published in the May 5 edition of Osceola Sentinel-Tribune, Schaff gave several reasons as to his resignation.
“This wasn’t an easy decision for me to make. I appreciate everyone who has supported me over the last several years. Frustrations with the direction this city is headed has continued to take a toll on my health, and because of my health issues I don’t feel I can continue,” Schaff said in the letter.
Schaff went on to say he had the best interests of Osceola at heart.
Page ran against candidates Sarah Truitt, Brian McKnight and Douglas Gay.
Truitt earned 115 votes.
Formerly of Missouri, Truitt moved to Osceola in 2005. She and her husband have two daughters, ages 4 and 1. She plans to pursue a career in education after her children are in school.
Gay earned 27 votes.
Gay, formerly of Florida, moved to Iowa in 2007. He wed his wife in 2010, and together they have two children, ages two and a-half years and seven and a-half months. Gay is currently a stay-at-home father.
McKnight earned six votes.
McKnight has been a resident of Clarke County since 1991, eventually graduating from Clarke Community High School. He has children in Clarke Community School District and is a former marine with one tour under his belt.