A race for the Monarch Fire Protection District Board of Directors that was four candidates deep after a pair of surprising late entries prior to the January 15 deadline, is now down to two after a pair of candidates, including the lone incumbent, dropped out.
The district confirmed late last week that Kim Evans, the board's current chairman, and Russell Lake, have removed their names from consideration for the April 2 election to the three person panel.
That leaves former State Senator Jane Cunningham and former State Representative Cole McNary to compete for Evans' seat. Cunningham was redistricted out of the state legislature after she opted not to run in a relocated district, while McNary ran unsuccessfully for State Treasurer.
In a statement to Patch, Evans defended her tenure and the district against vocal critics, saying in part:
I would be remiss if I did not mention my disappointment in the fact that the Monarch Fire Protection District is at times still the recipient of unfair criticism from those who either maliciously or unintentionally, due to lack of education, paint Monarch and its hard working employees in poor light. Monarch Fire Protection District is a leader in the industry and employs exceptionally talented Firefighters, EMTs and Paramedics as well as support staff from both the Fire Prevention Bureau and Administration. I hope the citizen of Monarch know how fortunate they are to have such extraordinary Fire and Emergency Medical Services at their fingertips.
I have faced a lot of tough issues over the past six years and I am proud to say that I am leaving the Monarch Fire Protection District a better place than I found it.
One of those critics, former director Rick Gans, filed to run and then opted to drop out and support Cunningham's candidacy.
The Monarch Fire Protection District serves all or parts of the cities of Chesterfield, Ballwin, Wildwood, Creve Coeur, Maryland Heights, Clarkson Valley and portions of unincorporated St. Louis County.