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Four years ago, Scott Hopson ran for and was elected Mayor of the City of Eudora. With the form of government change, the Mayor’s position is no longer chosen by the voters so Hopson ran, unsuccessfully, for a seat on the new City Commission. On the last full day of Scott Hopson’s term as Mayor we asked the Mayor to sit down and talk about his time at City Hall.
Q: What do you see as your biggest success as Mayor?
SH: As far as helping those most people, it was the cables. (He’s referring to the cable median barriers on K-10). It’s also the thing I got the most criticism for.
Q: Some people praised you for your work on the cable median barriers and there are many out there that say they were a big mistake. Do you still think getting cables out there was the best thing to do?
SH: Sure. The best part of the cables is that they have already saved lives. One of the things that I thought was really great was that one of the first people that were saved by them was a member of Tommy Shutt’s class. She graduated with Tommy and her family is from here. She hit the cable barriers in her new car in the snow and she has a couple of small children. It was right before Christmas. She’s here today and her family is not going through what Cainan’s family went through because of the cables.
Some of the criticism we got was using Cainan’s name and that came out of the family asking that Cainan’s name be put with those cables. That wasn’t something that we did. The family thought that if something good came out of those cables, Cainan didn’t die for nothing. I would think anybody that went through what they went through probably would feel the same way. The little boy died, but other people are going to survive and that’s what the cables did.
Those cables were put out there on that highway because a lot of people from a lot of different zip codes got involved. I got a lot of heat from my own city council, some members of the city council who thought they should be from city limit to city limit and that is all we should be worried about. I didn’t agree, I thought it should be the full length of K-10. A lot of people from a lot of places got involved with that, it wasn’t just us. We couldn’t have done it by ourselves.
Q: What did you want to accomplish that you were never able to get done?
SH: The Chamber (of Commerce). I wanted to grow the Chamber using De Soto as a model and that was a disappointment that I never got that done.
Q: What do you want to see done in regards to the Chamber of Commerce in the future?
SH: I want to see the Chamber evolve into a productive Chamber. I want see the other business owners in our community feel their membership fees get them a functioning Chamber. I want to see the growth of business continue.
Q: You have had people who love you and people who despise you. Looking back on it, are there things you would have done differently?
SH: I knew going in to being the Mayor that I have detractors and issues. I saw that from when I was on the Council. No, I would not have done anything different. Its unfortunate people either like or dislike you for whatever reason. I would wish at least they knew me because of a lot of people I hear don’t like me I have never talked to them or spoke to them. I don’t do that. I might hear this guy is a jerk or this is guy is good, but I generally go in and talk to them myself and make my own decision. I wish other people would do that, but the world is what it is.
Q: Your about to be a private citizen once again in less than a day. Besides the chamber, what else does Citizen Scott Hopson want to see going forward over the next few years?
SH: I want us to continue down the path that we paved over the last four years. When I was elected Mayor, the city was nearly bankrupt and we got it turned around and have the cities financial stability in a much better place now.
Q: Is they city where it needs to be or is there more work that needs to be done?
SH: There is still a lot of work that needs to be done, but if you want to look at it from an infrastructure issue, we have an overlay program that we never had. Everybody complained that all we did was chip and seal and they lived on a gravel road for so many months until that chip and seal dissipated. From that stand point we have improved. Water quality has improved, city services have improved, we have a website and programs trying attract business to Eudora: Shop Eudora First, The Economic Developer position held most recently by Collin (Bielser) and Barack’s (Mattite) position as the City Management intern. All of those were things that when I came on board as Mayor I said this is what we need to move forward with and we did. We still have a long ways to go. As far as the City goes, you’ll never be done. There is always something to do.
Q: Is the end of Scott Hopson’s political career? Will we see you run again in two or four years?
SH: Who knows, I’ll never say never. I still care about Eudora, I still love Eudora. There are a lot of good people here. In two years, there still will be a lot of people that like to complain that don’t show up for the meetings. There still will be some folks that want to criticize and sling mud, but yet, they have done nothing themselves to make Eudora better. A person who runs for public office has to understand that because you have a bull’s-eye on you for any crackpot who wants to take a shot at you and you have to be an adult about it and not throw mud back. That’s just the way the game’s played.
Hopson’s term will come to an end with the swearing in of the new Commission members at Monday night’s City Commission meeting.