Hope Town Councilwoman Nellie Meek plans to continue listening to the voice of the people of the community and making the decisions they want, if re-elected Tuesday.

Hope voters will have one contested town race on Tuesday's ballot, incumbent Democrat Meek running against Republican John Walstad for the Ward 2 seat on the Town Council.

Democrat Ed Johnson and Republican Ohmer Miller are running unopposed for re-election to the other two ward seats on the council.
Meek was first elected four years ago. She is retired, formerly owning and operating Meek's Grocery with her husband Buck, and working as office manager at Empire Gas Co.

Buck Meek was a long-time town leader, before he passed away, and Nellie said she didn't intend to follow in her husband's footsteps. When he served on the council, she said that she viewed that as his thing, while she kept herself occupied with her own projects. When originally asked to run for council, she declined.

But when controversies arose over a previous town manager, Meek said she reconsidered.

"I had many people ask me to run again, because they would say 'If Buck was here, that wouldn't have happened,'" Meek said.
"Once I did serve on the council, I did enjoy it. Because for me, it was a voice for the people in Hope... I really found it very fulfilling to be able to vote for the people. To talk to the people and then take what they wanted me to do, back to that council seat."

Meek said she has lived in Hope for 48 years and her children went through the school system here. She has two sons and five grandchildren.

Meek said if elected to a second term, she would like to tackle the lack of sidewalks around the community. And she would focus on the town's water bills -- which are higher than other communities such as Columbus.

"I know we have to buy our water, it is not just as simple as we have our own (water system), and run it through the lines and get it there," Meek said. "I don't know if there is any way we can control that because of the price we have to pay for it. But I did tell people I would check into it."

She said she would continue to support the town police department and volunteer fire department, as well as praising Town Marshal Matt Tallent and Utilities Manager David Clouse. Previously she served as a volunteer dispatcher for the police department.

Meek said that if she were removed from the council she believes the new majority would go forward with projects like hiring a new town manager. Meek was part of the coalition, with Johnson and Miller, that chose not to renew the town manager contract.

Meek said that she hopes voters will decide based on what is best for everyone in the town.

"I love this town and the people in it," she said. "It is my town. And it is not like a lot of towns. You would have to live here to find out. It is like a big family."