COLUMBIA — A former Boone County sheriff's deputy filed papers Monday to run for Northern District commissioner in the county's Aug. 7 primary election.
O.J. Stone, a Democrat, worked in the Sheriff's Department for 28 years, including 10 years as chief deputy. He also provided training for the Missouri Sheriffs' Association and has worked for the Missouri Office of Homeland Security for the past five years.
"All of these attributes will come together to make a well-rounded individual for office," Stone said.
Stone said he supports incumbent Northern District Commissioner Skip Elkin, who is not seeking re-election.
"Once commissioner Skip Elkin decided to not seek re-election, I was eager to pursue the office," Stone said. "I believe my background and experience in law enforcement and public safety will be helpful."
One of Stone's top priorities is to keep students safe. He noted the traffic situation at Battle High School, which is expected to open in August 2013, and wants to ensure the well-being of future students. Developers also plan to build homes east of the high school if they receive approval for rezoning.
"They anticipate a huge flow of traffic around Battle High School, and I'd like to be part of the solution for that," Stone said. "I'm very concerned about what we can do to keep kids safe."
Stone also has the budget and county expansion in mind.
"The budget is always a concern," Stone said. "There are limited resources for all sorts of demands. Boone County is a growing community. We need to continue planning for industries coming to Boone County — where they'll be located, how we can get infrastructure and providing a location that is conducive."
Stone said he also wants to make sure the county is ready to respond to natural disasters. Last year's devastating tornado in Joplin illustrates how communities can be vulnerable, he said.
"We must be prepared for the ultimate disaster," Stone said. "I want to come up with a plan to better prepare ourselves and take care of our community."
Stone, 60, hopes to have his campaign committee in place by the end of the week. He plans to host fundraisers, make public appearances and meet community members during his campaign.
"Boone County is our home," Stone said. "We need to make it the best home we can."
Stone is a lifelong resident of Boone County and lives with his wife, Patricia, in the Columbia area. He was born in Sturgeon and earned a degree in administration of justice from Columbia College. His older daughter is attending medical school in West Virginia; his younger daughter attends Washington University; and his son is a senior at Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Stone is set to run against Darin Fugit for the Democratic nomination, and if successful, would run against the winner of two Republican candidates, Don Bormann and Lance Robbins, who will battle for that party's nomination.