Contested candidates for County Commissioners

By Christy Porter, Managing Editor

 Working for and with the people of Texas County is the most important part of a County Commissioner’s job.

As a third class county, Texas County has three commissioners; each serves a four-year term. Elections are staggered every two years, helping to ensure experience is seated at all times. Texas County has 17 townships divided into two districts. Population from the census count decides districts as equally as possible. Districts I and II Commissioners are elected during the Presidential Election by district, and the Presiding Commissioner is elected by entire county vote in the following two years.

The commission is responsible for approving the yearly budget; this after elected officials submit budget requests, which are reviewed and discussed by the commission and with the elected officials until a budget is finalized.

On a monthly basis the commissioners have the responsibility to review various county department reports.

Additional duties include responsibility for all county owned vehicles, equipment, buildings and properties as well as the maintenance on all county properties, bi-weekly reviewing and approving county payroll and payables, and approving all hiring of county employees and their rate of pay.

Due to a county township form of government, the townships receive road and bridge funds through contracts with the county. The commission works with the townships to complete reports, discuss issues with roads and bridges, obtain bridge inspections and offer assistance when possible.

They are also responsible for county emergency disaster planning, ensuring manpower and supplies in the event of an emergency.

State statute requires a commissioner to obtain 20 hours of training once a year in Jefferson City. They belong to the County Commissioners’ Association of Missouri and the Missouri Association of Counties (MAC). The commissioners discuss introductory legislation bills that will have an effect on counties yearly at a MAC Legislation Conference. They also attend special Federal and State hearings and meetings on issues directly affecting Texas County.

County Commission meetings are held each week on Wednesday and Thursday and commissioners are available for sessions; they also attend regularly scheduled meetings with the townships or associations. You may contact the commissioners at 417-967-3222.

All County Commission incumbents and candidates were given three questions to allow our readership to become better acquainted with them, their accomplishments and goals. District II includes the city of Licking, therefore the District II candidates will be presented first.

District II includes the townships of Boone, Carroll, Current, Jackson, Lynch, Ozark, Roubidoux, Sherrill and Upton. On the ballot for Associate Commissioner District II is incumbent Republican candidate Doyle Heiney and Democrat candidate John Mitchell.

Photo submitted

Doyle Heiney
Republican Incumbent Doyle Heiney responded:

1) How long have you served as Associate Commissioner for District II?

“I have served just one term, January 2017 to current date, but hope to continue in my role as District II Commissioner.”

2) What have been the major changes and/or accomplishments that have transpired during your tenure?

“In the last few years we have seen many changes. We have had some rough times with flooding and storms that created issues. In cooperation with others to work through these issues, I believe Texas County is on a much better path.

“I serve on several boards and have learned to use resources to improve our county. I am serving on the South Central Solid Waste Management Board, Ozark Action and the Emergency Food and Shelter Program.

“During my term we have implemented a program to conserve our energy resources that has saved us close to $60,000.00 in two years. At budget time we have been extremely frugal with our tax dollars and seen improvements in each department.”

3) What do you hope to achieve in the future if re-elected as Associate Commissioner for District II?

“I have been a part of a lot of good things for the county in my term and some have not been completed. I would like to see some of these things completed and know I contributed to the improvements throughout the county.

“I will continue to work with the townships, support law enforcement, first responders and protect our property rights.

“It has been my pleasure to represent the great people of Texas County and (I) would like to continue to serve as your District II Commissioner.

“I would appreciate your vote of confidence in me to continue to work for you.”

Photo by Christy Porter

John Mitchell

Democrat Candidate John E. Mitchell responded to the following three questions:

1) What do you feel qualifies you to serve and work with the people of Texas County as Associate Commissioner? 2) What accomplishments and/or issues do you hope to pursue if elected Associate Commissioner for District II? 3) What are your ideas and how do you plan to achieve your goals as Associate Commissioner for District II?

“I graduated from Licking High School and then continued to further my education by acquiring a Bachelor of Science degree in Management.

“I served six years on the Sherrill Township Road District, which provided experience on issues with the roads and also knowledge of working with the county commission. I was employed for nine years with the Texas County Sheriff’s Department as a Dispatcher/Jailer. I was employed as a Maintenance Supervisor by the Missouri Department of Corrections for seven years.

“I am a retired SFC from the Missouri National Guard with 33 years of service, which included multiple Active Duty Special Work (ADSW) assignments.

“I have served in my local community by volunteering in numerous events and organizations which include being one of the original members of the Licking Park Board, over 40 years as a member of the Boone Creek Cemetery Board and as a member of the Red Cross for eight years. I am an active member of Boone Creek Baptist Church.”

“As a lifelong resident of Texas County and a six-generation Texas County farmer, I will work for the betterment of Texas County and those who live here. I support issues being solved at the local level by local leaders.”

District I includes the townships of Cass, Clinton, Burdine, Date, Morris, Pierce, Piney and Sargent. On the ballot for Associate Commissioner District I is incumbent Republican candidate John Casey and Democrat candidate Brenda J. Jarrett.

Photo by Shari Harris

John Casey

Republican Incumbent John Casey responded:

1) How long have you served as Associate Commissioner for District I?

“Having been the District I county commissioner for the past twelve years, I have realized how necessary it is always to be available to the citizens of Texas County on all days. There are many tasks which fall during the “working hours,” but there are many questions and needs at other times also. I enjoy speaking with the citizens about their requests and concerns about our county government.”

2) What have been the major changes and/or accomplishments that have transpired during your tenure?

“Through good, sound business decisions, the commission has managed to balance our budget annually and to fulfill the needs of the various departments. We have worked to assist the sheriff’s department to secure new vehicles, have approved modest wage increases for the county employees and have made affordable health insurance available to them. We are continually modernizing all administrative offices to improve access to official records and many are now backed up offsite to prevent the possibility of natural or other disasters causing a loss of important records and information. From our efforts, our townships have received benefits from FEMA and the conservation department toward repairing and/or replacing bridges. We have effectively negotiated our bond issues, saving the taxpayers of Texas County more than $1 million; and the list could go on and on.

“Experience over the last 27 years as a business owner and manager, as Cabool fire chief, head dispatcher for the Cabool Police Department, two-term township board president, and the past twelve years dealing with our senators and representatives to keep them aware of the impact of various legislation to our county; each and all have enabled me to have a citizen-oriented background to assist in the decisions necessary in the position of commissioner of Texas County. (My) special thanks to Representative Robert Ross and Senator Mike Cunningham.”

3) What do you hope to achieve in the future if re-elected as Associate Commissioner for District I?

“Community is important to me and I enjoy being involved in many community events and I am a member of many organizations: The Chambers of Commerce for both Houston and Cabool, Farm Bureau Board member, chairman of the Gentry Residential Center, Liaison Council, member of the Texas County Cattlemen’s Association, NRA member, treasurer/secretary of the South Central County Commissioners Board, the District 16 director on the Missouri Associations of Counties Board and the Lions Club. These memberships and offices allow me to be better informed and take an active role in improving our county.

“I want to say thank you for the continuing opportunity to represent the citizens of Texas County, and as I have in the past, with the assistance of your vote on November 3rd, will continue to work hard toward the betterment of Texas County, and to justify your support.”

Photo submitted

Brenda Jarrett

Democrat Candidate Brenda J. Jarrett responded:

1). What do you feel qualifies you to serve and work with the people of Texas County as Association Commissioner?

“A county commissioner should possess good communication, problem solving and organizational skills as well as the ability to be flexible and handle issues expediently in difficult times.

“To that end, I have the background in communications from my work as an English, speech and journalism educator in grades 7-12 and at the college level; my time as the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce executive director; and my years volunteering with Cabool Community Betterment, Mayor’s Youth Council and Cabool Revitalization Group, Inc.

“My problem solving skills have been a part of my experience with those groups as well as my service on the Cabool Senior Citizens Housing Board, and the Cabool School R-IV School Board. My organization skills and flexibility to handle issues in difficult times have served me well over the past eleven years as Burdine Township clerk where I am also the contact for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Missouri State Emergency Management Agenda (SEMA). I am familiar with budgets, payroll and construction practices as the secretary and payroll clerk for Jarrett Enterprises, Inc.; plus, I am Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) certified.

“My husband and I have a small farm where we raise miniature donkeys so I understand the necessity for hard work and daily commitment to tasks that will culminate in a successful product or experience.”

2). What accomplishments and/or issues do you hope to pursue if elected Associate Commissioner for District I?

“As County Commissioner, I want to accomplish the following: Timely and accurate reporting of meetings and minutes to the taxpayers; upgrade and maintain a webpage; create and maintain a Facebook page; create a newsletter which includes all departments to report to taxpayers; and create morning and afternoon Commissioners’ meetings with proscribed start and end times, thus eliminating the casual atmosphere for walk-in discussions.”

3). What are your ideas and how do you plan to achieve your goals as Associate Commissioner for District I?

“My goals as County Commissioner can be achieved through hard work, better communication and organization from the entire County Commission and those with whom they work.

“My goals include: Transparency to taxpayers regarding county expenditures; support the continued independence of the township road and bridge departments and the boards governing them; take responsibility for the safety of the roads and bridges of the county; support all of the county offices equally; support local entities to keep the taxpayer’s money and resources with the county; afford the Texas County Memorial Hospital with the appropriate measures to assure them payment - in a timely manner - for prisoners’ health care who are residing in the confines of the Texas County Justice Center; and keep the Commission out of unnecessary and expensive lawsuits.”

Missouri offers three ways to vote in the 2020 General Election: in-person; absentee voting, which requires a notary unless the request is due to incapacity or confinement or due to COVID-19 illness or physical disability; and mail-in, which requires a notary. When voting at the County Clerk’s office, they will provide the notary service. September 22, 2020, is the first day that ballots can be mailed out or the first day voting can be done at the County Clerk’s office.

You must be registered to vote by October 7 to participate in the November 3 elections.

Please call the County Clerk’s office at 417-967-2112 with questions.

 


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