I had the privilege of interviewing Tom Bass recently. I first met Tom in 2006 when he served with me on the Committee to Development a New Comprehensive Plan for the City of Ozark. He impressed me with his straightforward common sense, and insightful ideas regarding future growth within the City of Ozark. Shortly thereafter, he coached my son's baseball team through the Ozarks Parks Department. Coaching a team of 10-year-old boys with little athletic coordination was no easy task, and quite frankly, we only won one game, but Tom led those boys with a sense of pride, and a great sense of humor, and made sure a good time and fun was had by all. Tom also owns our local Farmers Insurance Agency, and I had referred a few clients to him for their homeowners insurance needs. The feedback I obtained from my clients was right on par with the interactions I had previously had with Tom. Tom was professional, honest, straightforward, and displayed an incredible amount of plain ol' common sense.
On January 20, 2009, Tom filed for Ward 3 Alderman. Given my close involvement with politics over the past few years, I was excited to see Tom throw his name in the hat. I wanted to take an opportunity to sit down and talk with Tom and learn more about his background and beliefs, so I scheduled a time to meet with him at his office located at 901-B W. Jackson, in Ozark.
Tom was raised in Salem, MO, south of Rolla. He went to college at Missouri Southern State University and obtained his Associates Degree in Law Enforcement and his Bachelors in Criminal Justice Administration. Tom married his wife, Nancy, in April of 1990, and has two children, Brian (25) and Andy (12), as well as his first grandchild, Daniel (15 mos).
Soon after college, he went to work for Wal-Mart. He started at the bottom working in individual stores, and through hard work and dedication he rose through ranks from a lower entry employee, to district manager, and into an executive position, Regional Director for Ohio Valley area (4 states), specializing in loss prevention and risk management. He spent 2 years as an ex-patriot in Toronto, Canada, building the Wal-Mart presence and shouldering responsibility for ALL Wal-Mart stores in Canada from 1994-1997. In all, Tom spent 18.5 years with Wal-Mart. He then moved to Home Depot and served as their Corporate Director of Loss Prevention for over 700 stores, and International Division for Loss Prevention and Risk Management.
Tom and his family have lived in Ozark for 7 years now. His office was initially located in Springfield, but after falling in love with Ozark, he moved his business to Ozark over 2 years ago when he and Nancy decided this was where they intended to settle and put down their roots. His agency handles all types of personal lines, including medical insurance, business insurance, life, home, fire, auto, mutual funds and investments. He is a member of the Chamber of Commerce, is licensed through NASD (a federal organization for licensing securities agents), LUTCF (Life Underwriting Training Councils fellow, which is a national certification for insurance agents), and FEPAC (a political action committee for Farmers agents). You can visit him on his website at www.farmersagent.com/tbass1.
Tom says his motivating factor in running for alderman was, as a business owner and resident, to be more involved and more aware, especially in this critical planning phase of his community. He believes in intelligent growth in our comunity. He says, "We're going to grow, it's only natural, but we need to do it smart. We're too spread out and we need to decide where we want growth to occur that allows for residential growth. We should build our infrastructure to support businesses. The way we're currently spread out really taxes our ability to support it. We need more organization and definition of residential and business zoning. We also need more communication on what we are doing within the community. We need to be sure we're utilizing every vehicle possible for the citizens to understand what is happening, and how our city is being operated. They need to know what the issues are within the city. Too often it's at the point of voting that the citizens actually find out what is going on. They should be able to go to the polls already informed of the issues."
Tom also supports our downtown redevelopment. He says, "As a city, we don't need to be the developers, we need to encourage developers. Too much of our tax base is being spent in Springfield and Nixa because they have developed the entertainment, restaurant and destination businesses that cause our taxpayers to go there to spend their money. We're too much of a bedroom community and have diminished our tax base by not developing the business our taxpayers have asked for."
Personally, I'm thrilled our community has such a qualified, capable and dedicated citizen willing to step up into one of the most important roles of our community. He has certainly earned my confidence and my vote.
About the author: I am full-time REALTOR® with RE/MAX Solutions in Springfield, MO, and a member of the Greater Springfield Board of REALTORS®. I have helped hundreds of families in the Springfield, Nixa, Republic and Ozark real estate markets, whether buying a home, or selling a home. Visit my website to search for All Springfield MO Area MLS listings. Want to know what our market is like? My website is also an excellent resource for current Springfield MO Area Real Estate Market Reports, as well as current market reports for Ozark, Nixa, Republic, and Rogersville.