It’s Morning Edition on KRPS. Earlier this week, I spoke with Joplin Mayor Ryan Stanley about navigating the city during a divisive election season, a global pandemic, and the heated city council meetings involving the mask mandate. With the first COVID-19 vaccinations taking place in Joplin on Monday and a new chapter of the pandemic beginning. I first asked Stanley how he’s been managing during the pandemic.
Managing the pandemic has been challenging. According to a AP report this week, over 180 health officials have been fired, resigned, or retired this year. Numerous mayors and city council people have stepped down because of harassment over pandemic-related mandates. That includes the mayor of Dodge City, Kansas, who resigned on Tuesday. I next asked Joplin Mayor Stanley if he could travel back to six months ago, or earlier this year, what advice would he give himself about the pandemic’s current situation in the city?
With the vaccinations of front-line health care workers starting at Joplin hospitals this week, it’s a new phase, a new hope to end the pandemic that has claimed 80 lives in the city. Having weathered very heated city council meetings and even a recall petition, Stanley is optimistic about 2021.
With the new year right around the corner and possibly a return to more normal circumstances by the middle part of 2021, I asked Stanely what he was looking forward to most after the pandemic was over.
Mayor of Joplin Ryan Stanley speaking about what it has been like to navigate the city through the pandemic and his thoughts on the months ahead.