Andy Trout is running unopposed for the city council District 3 seat, so his attention has turned from campaigning to learning.

Trout, a 60-year-old retired dentist, decided to run because he said the world needs real leadership. In the military, he learned that true change starts with the people closest to you. To him, that meant the St. Joseph community.

“The whole council and mayor are being voted on this time, so there’s a chance to change everything,” Trout said. “I just decided it was time that instead of me complaining about the problems, that I try to solve some.”

Trout will have his chance as the next councilman for District 3. Unlike the other candidates who have a race to focus on, Trout said his attention is on learning the ins and outs of St. Joseph government.

“There’s more pressure to start learning more details,” Trout said. “Instead of being out campaigning and saying, ‘This is what I want,’ there’s more pressure from other people running and from constituents and from people who were already on the council. They are expecting me to learn more and take this time not to campaign but to learn.”

Trout already attends most council meetings and said he has learned how the budget works, how big it is and where it’s constrained.

“There’s all this money here, but you can’t use it for this,” Trout said, explaining the nuances of the city’s budget. “So I am starting to learn where the money comes from and where it goes.”

He also is learning that not everything falls on the council’s shoulders.

“I’m learning things that the city council and mayor do not get to address,” Trout said. “That’s important, too, because there’s things that you can’t do. There’s a lot of things you can do, but there are things that they just don’t address.”

Trout’s top priority is the city’s cleanliness, including street maintenance, community cleanups and recycling programs.

“We want people to drive into St. Joe and go, ‘Wow, this is a pretty city.’ Because it used to be a very beautiful city,” Trout said. “If people come into the city and think, ‘Wow, this is beautiful. I really want to spend some time here,’ then they find out that we’ve created a safe city, we’ve created an economically viable city, businesses, then people will move here.”

His plan to address this is engaging the community, not only in District 3 but throughout town.

“Something I learned in the military is that everything you do needs to be above you,” Trout said. It’s not about me, it’s not about District 3, it’s about St. Joe. Everything we do has to be about the betterment of St. Joe.”

Quinn Ritzdorf can be reached at

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