VOTERS GUIDE 2012: Candidates for Boone County Commission, Southern District

Monday, September 17, 2012 | 9:00 a.m. CDT; updated 10:20 a.m. CDT, Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Editor's note: This story originally publishedin advance of the August primary. It has been updated to include information about the candidates who will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot. This article is part of the Missourian's 2012 general election voters guide.

WHAT'S THE JOB? The Boone County Commission is an elected three-member governing body with a Southern District, a Northern District and a presiding commissioner. The commission establishes county policies, approves an annual county budget and supervises the operations of all county departments and divisions, including Public Works, Planning and Zoning, Building Codes, Human Resources, Purchasing, Information Technology, and Facilities and Grounds Maintenance. Commissioners also act as liaisons to dozens of county boards, commissions and other government entities. Commissioners serve four-year terms. The presiding commissioner is paid $85,654 per year, while district commissioners are paid $83,657 per year.

The candidates

James Pounds (R), Boone County

Personal: Age 46. He is married to Martina Pounds. They have two children.

Education: Associate’s degree in aircraft machinery, Laramie County Community College in Cheyenne, Wyo., 1992.

Occupation: Owns and operates James Pounds Construction, a residential housing construction company.

Background: Pounds has been on the Boone County Building Codes Commission for three years and served in the Navy for three years.

Campaign website: None


  • Tax incentives: He opposes the use of tax incentives, saying they distort the free market. Instead, he said the county commission should try to attract businesses without offering tax incentives.
  • Growth planning: Although Pounds said he thinks the county needs to plan better for growth, it will not continue to grow because of the costly regulations builders have to deal with.
  • Home rule: Pounds said he supports putting the question of home rule to voters.
  • Budget: Pounds said his top priority is to review the county budget to find ways to save taxpayer money so that property taxes don't have to be raised as much as they have been in the past.

Karen Miller (D), Columbia

Personal: Age 59. Lives with her partner, David Brown.

Education: Bachelor of science in business administration, Stephens College, 2006.

Occupation: Southern District Commissioner since 1993.

Background: President of the National Association of Counties, 2003–04; serves on the board of directors of the Missouri Association of Counties and the County Commissioners Association; member of the Women’s Network Budget and Finance Committee, the Government Affairs Committee of the Columbia Chamber of Commerce, the Muleskinners and the Southern Boone County Chamber of Commerce; named distinguished Debin Benish Outstanding Business Woman from the Columbia Chamber of Commerce in 2010 and received the Athena Award in 2011.

Campaign website:


  • Tax incentives: Miller said she prefers Chapter 100 bonds to other tax-incentive programs because the affected taxing entities have more input. Since an enhanced enterprise zone has not come before the commission yet, she said she has not decided whether she would support one.
  • Growth planning: Miller pointed to the joint planning work done by the city and the county with the East Area Plan and Northeast Columbia Area Plan. She said that was a good model to plan for growth that brought everyone in.
  • Home rule: Until more people in the county come forward to support home rule, Miller said she does not want to put it on the ballot.
  • Stormwater: Miller said she is focused on working with the EPA and Missouri Department of Natural Resources to manage stormwater. She said if it's done correctly, "we can be a leader in the country and do things in a cost effective way."

Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.

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