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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Second Political Town Hall meeting draws big crowd

Thursday, August 2, 2012

A second primary election town hall meeting was held on Monday, July 30, for the residents of Oregon County to learn more about the local, state, and federal candidates running for offices this year. Dr. Erwin Burke, Burke Chiropractic of Alton, sponsored the second meeting at the Thayer Fun and Friends Center, due to the interest shown by the community.

The meeting on Monday night allowed state and federal candidates, as well as local candidates, to answer questions asked by the community.

Bob Parker, who is running for U.S. Congress was present for the town hall meeting, along with representatives for Hector Muldanado and Todd Atkins, both running on the Republican ticket for U.S. Senate. State candidates in attendance were Don Wells and Mike Cunningham, Republicans for State Senate in the 33rd District, and representatives were present for Sarah Steelman and Jeff Pogue running for State Representative in the 43rd District.

Oregon County candidates in attendance were Alonzo Bradwell and Jason Kemper -- Republican candidates for South Commissioner, David Bailey and Kevin Jotz -- Republican candidates for Sheriff, Mike Crawford -- Republican candidate for Public Administrator, Nathan Roberts -- Democratic candidate for South Commissioner, Mike Barton and George Underwood -- Democratic candidates for Sheriff, Mike Harber -- Democrat candidate for Public Administrator, and Michael Bunting -- Independent candidate for Sheriff.

Mike Harber, a Democrat, and Mike Crawford, a Republican, are running unopposed in the primary election, but were both present for the town hall meeting. Harber is a current Thayer city councilman, and sits on senior citizen boards, including the Thayer senior citizens of which he is currently Vice President. "The Public Administrator position requires compassion and common sense, and it is something I feel I would be good at and would like to do," said Harber. Crawford has been the Public Administrator for the past 16 years, and is running again for re-election. Crawford said, "It has been a great privilege to serve you as Public Administrator. It is a demanding job, a 24 hour, seven days a week job, with no secretary," said Crawford.

Representing Sarah Steelman was Lindsey Purcell. Purcell spoke about Steelman's efforts to balance a budget, promote pro-life, and her willingness to stand up for what she believes.

Don Wells, Republican running for the State Senate 33rd District, was born and raised in Texas County, and considers creating jobs one of the biggest issues the state faces. "The problem today is, we have military returning home and we have no jobs. The problem with jobs in Missouri is poor government regulations. Government can't create jobs, but we can create an atmosphere that people will want to come and do business in Missouri," said Wells.

Michael Evans was in attendance representing Hector Maldonado, Republican for the U.S. State Senate. Evans said that Maldonado is currently a Major in the Missouri National Guard. "Our Senate is completely out of control and out of touch with the people of Missouri. His goals are to step in and put integrity back into the office," said Evans about Maldonado.

Representing Todd Akin, Republican U.S. Representative running for U.S. Senate, at the town hall meeting was Brett Adams. Adams said Akin is a family man and he admired him for that, and his fight, in the past, for home-school laws. "He has voted no on the Wall Street Bail-Out, Obama Care, Stimulus Bill, and these are all bad for America. He has the experience," said Adams.

Mike Cunningham, Republican for the State Senate 33rd District, said being a businessman is that what defines him as a candidate. He has built up a business and created jobs, and is a farmer, which gives the agriculture knowledge he feels is very important. "I think I am the most qualified because of my life experience, and what I've done in the past," said Cunningham.

Bob Parker, Republican candidate for U.S. Congress in the 8th District, is a farmer from Texas County. "I don't have to do a survey to know how you guys feel," Parker told the audience. He is from a small town himself, and said he feels rural Missouri folks are forgotten. Parker wants to fight for the rights of the small town farmer and business people.

Chris Jenkins was in attendance to speak on behalf of Jeffrey Pogue, Republican candidate for State Representative 143rd District. "He signed up to run because he believes our country is headed in the wrong direction. For too long, people have sat back and said someone needs to do something. Jeff has decided he is going to be that someone," said Jenkins. Pogue feels the focus should be put back on the backbone of our state, which is the Missouri farmers.

Every candidate was asked to tell the audience what kind of changes, people will see in one year, if they are elected into the desired position.

Cunningham answered, "You are going to see a big turnaround in jobs, if we can. We also have to eliminate the current governor to change a lot of major issues, but you will see some things put on his desk recognizing some tough decisions." Parker replied. "Immediately, the Congressional Reform Act will be the first bill I introduce. Congress will go back to being on Social Security, like the rest of us, and they will not be able to vote themselves a pay raise."

Adams promised Akin is the most conservative candidate and will stand up for what he believes, even if it is against his own party.

"In her first 60 days, Steelman will restore the economy and growth and create jobs, cut, cap and balance the budget, fight for the Constitutional Movement that forces federal lawmakers to balance their budget before they get their checks. She is also fighting for a flatter, fair tax by operating an optional flat tax," said Purcell.

Wells said, "Jobs are a big issue and you can look for me to support Missouri jobs, and you can look at me and contact me and I'll be fighting for the family farmer. They've been over regulated for years, and you can look at me to try and get rid of the ethanol mandate. I don't promise you anything to get elected, but I will promise that I will do my very best."

"I invite everyone to look at Hector's web-site, where he has an entire declaration lined out, and he talks about jobs and taxes, document fraud, securing our border, energy and health care and get us out of 'Obama Snare'," said Evans.

Jenkins said, "Pogue will be a voice for you the people, he would listen to your concerns, care about your situation and go back to Jefferson City and be your voice. His main priority will be the people of his district and representing them in Jefferson City."

Sheriff Underwood said, "As your Sheriff, if re-elected, some of the first goals would be to enhance our 'Don't Meth With Us' programs in the schools, which is a good program that teaches pre-teens drug awareness. I will secure funding for more staffing for better investigations, and have relief officers for deputy shifts, and secure funding for a badly needed new jail."

Jotz's reply to the question was, "The first year, things I would like to change in the Sheriff's department is to put the Chief Deputy out of the office onto the streets, and put him to use as the criminal investigator and have sub-stations where deputies can dispatch from, instead of always using the courthouse area."

Barton stated, "I would reduce crimes, have more investigations in small counties, where we have small man power. Working together is important. I will commission the Alton and Thayer city police officers to help to build teamwork and man power. Reducing crimes will make the community a safer place to raise your children, family and to live"

Bailey claimed, "It is easy to say what you are going to do with an administrator job, until you have held those positions and had to deal with the budgets and time. The Sheriff's department doesn't have many officers to work with, and it is a matter of prioritizing. I enjoy doing the roadwork and arresting people, and get a kick out of it. I will be out there working when I can. I promise you that we will look at managing our time and money and prioritizing."

Bunting answered, "Within the first year, I would try to cut down on meth crimes. Almost every crime in Oregon County probably has something to do with methamphetamine. I would work on trying to utilize all resources including the reserve officers. As long as we can all work together and get back to where everybody is helping everybody out, try to start cracking down on the meth, crimes will be lessened. I hope to drop the crime rate if elected Sheriff."

Roberts said, "As your southern commissioner, I'm not going to promise nothing, but I will promise to work for the community and you. The roads are in bad shape, the Sheriff's department and ambulances can't even get down to where they are called. I will do my best, within one year, to make them better for residents, and I would like to see public meetings be set up."

Kemper said, "The first thing I would get right to work on would be maintaining the roads, and do a better job of it. Making sure that when trees or any debris fall in the road, it will get taken care of immediately, and propose a more efficient work schedule. I would do a better job at maintaining the budget and ensure that more tax dollars stay in the county."

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