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Monday, May 2, 2016

County candidate speaks at town hall meeting

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Oregon County Southern District Commissioner candidate Alonzo "Lonnie" Bradwell kicked off campaign season with a dinner, auction and political speeches May 4 at Mo-Ark Coon Club in Myrtle.

About 40 people attended the three-hour event including fellow Republican candidate Kevin Jotz, running for Oregon County sheriff.

The free evening began with music by David and Terry Stevens' Southern Gospel Group and Ed and the musicians from the Thayer Music Store.

Jotz, the former Alton Police Chief, spoke first about his plans if elected sheriff. Jotz faces Thayer Police Chief David Bailey and former Thayer Assistant Police Chief Michael Bunting in the August primary.

Jotz said he intends to drug-test all current and prospective county deputies and reserve deputies, using a hair-follicle a sample at $85 per test. If an applicant fails the test, the county would not reimburse the applicant, he said.

"I want to bring pride back to local law enforcement," Jotz said, addiing that he also wants to incorporate report-writing classes for all county law enforcement members. "I know what elements it takes to file a police report."

Jotz said he has been told his plan to set up satellite deputy stations in outlying county areas, such as Couch, Myrtle, Thomasville, Rover and Koshkonong, would not work, although he believes stations can be established at no cost to the county.

"Wouldn't it save the county money?" an audience member asked.

Jotz said the Koshkonong Board of Aldermen recently endorsed his proposal to allow a satellite office in City Hall for free. The plan would give areas outside of Thayer and Alton more coverage and save in fuel costs, he said.

Bradwell, who faces Jason Kemper, an Oregon County Soil and Water Conservation District employee, brought along a slideshow of photos and documents. A former county dispatcher, Bradwell said his main concerns are the county's $63,000 budget deficit, lack of jobs, road maintenance and need to incorporate 911.

Bradwell said he wants to be the voice of citizens, and actively seek their opinions as he lets residents know of current commission events through a newsletter or newspaper column.

Bradwell said the county charged him for copies of the 2011 budget, a service he felt should have been free.

"County government should not be closed to constituents," he said.

Bradwell said he spent much time reviewing the budget, and the last two years of commission meeting minutes, and questions some of the current commissioners' actions.

"Looking at the bids for road graders, they bought the second most expensive one," Bradwell said.

Bradwell also questioned why the commission sought ice-storm labor help through temporary services agencies rather than hiring residents.

"Local citizens should have been the workforce," Bradwell said.

Bradwell, who has two young children, said he is running for county office, not for the paycheck, but to help Oregon County become independent so his children can remain in the county when they reach adulthood rather than moving to Springfield or St. Louis for jobs.

Bradwell also presented ideas for recycling programs, such as shredding tires for playgrounds or installing bottle and can recycling machines.

The evening concluded with an auction of donated cedar furnishings. Bradwell said he plans to host similar events in the southern district in the next two months.

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