Missouri's first elected Libertarian stirring the pot

Monday, November 26, 2001

CHILLICOTHE, Mo. -- It has been just more than six months since Chillicothe voters made Mayor Jeff Foli the first Libertarian elected to political office in Missouri.

The time has not been easy for the 37-year-old, whose conflicts with the city council have lead to threats of impeachment.

Foli won a first term in 1999 as a Republican but switched parties to avoid a primary fight with a GOP challenger. In the April general election, he was able to draw support from both Republicans and Democrats in winning re-election with nearly 60 percent of the vote.

His first squabble with the council came over the way the city attorney position is filled in the town about 75 miles northeast of Kansas City.

Foli contended that the appointment method council members had used for a decade violated the city's charter. In April, he reinstated the position as an elected office and called a special election. Foli called the victory his toughest challenge yet.

"It just took persistence and education, and I think the people finally understood," Foli said. "It's hard to change when certain things have been done for umpteen years, but you need to do it the right way, and this is the right way.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: