by: Scott McCaulley
Karen Best, who served as Mayor of Branson from 2015-19, has announced that she is running for the seat again after losing her reelection bid in 2019 to current Mayor Edd Akers.
In a release issued Monday afternoon, Best, says “we need a strong voice with the ability to listen to the voices of the people and analyze their concerns, build consensus, and communicate the needs of Branson…” in regards to the COVID-19 Pandemic and other issues.
Since leaving office, Best was appointed by Governor Mike Parson to chair the Missouri Complete Count Committee for Census 2020.
Best joins Marshall Howden as announced candidates for the Branson Mayor’s Race in 2021.
Full Press Release is below:
Local businesswoman Karen Best is announcing her intent to run for Mayor of Branson, Mo in the April 2021 election. Best is currently serving as Chair of the Missouri Complete Count Committee for Census 2020. Best was appointed to this position by Governor Mike Parson in 2019. In addition, Best has served two terms as Mayor of Branson from 2015-2019.
“Serving the citizens and visitors of Branson as a member of City Government has been an honor and a privilege. At the moment, our community is working through the eﬀects of the Covid-19 virus and is searching for ways to recover from the pandemic. We need a strong voice with the ability to listen to the voices of the people, analyze their concerns, build consensus and communicate the needs Branson to local, state and national level to make sure our community stays open and thrives safely during and after the pandemic. I feel our citizens concerns, expressed privately or in a public forum, need to be heard and respected as we move forward together in 2021 the make Branson a better place to live, work and play,” says Best.
Former Mayor Best’s legislative priorities continue remain the same as when she was in oﬃce: Public Safety, Infrastructure, and Economic Development/Workforce Development. She is very proud of her accomplishments while she was in oﬃce. Together with the Board of Alderman and a group of citizens, she fought hard for additional funds for police and ﬁre to obtain needed supplies for their jobs which included radios to communicate across agencies during emergencies. Best also lobbied at the state and federal levels for funds for aﬀordable housing and infrastructure improvement. In addition, she worked hard to streamline the process for businesses to attract new jobs to the area through business attraction while also focusing on attracting employees to the area for business retention. New businesses to the area included (but not limited to): Fritz’s, Branson Ferris Wheel, Big Foot, Wonder Works, Paula Dean’s, Beyond the Lens, Andy B’s, Aquarium at the Boardwalk and the much anticipated Aldi.
Best received her undergraduate degree at Evangel University where she was named 2019 Distinguished Alumna last October. She received graduate degrees from Oklahoma State University and St. Louis University. She brings 20 years experience in education as an elementary teacher and elementary principal, 14 years real estate sales experience, and 4 years entertainment experience to the table. She served as Vice President of Missouri Mayors United for Progress and sat on the Board of Directors for National League of Cities. Her greatest enjoyment is spending time with friends and family traveling, attending shows/ concerts, and golﬁng.