COLUMBIA— Tuesday began a new year, and for Janet Thompson, it also became the first day of a new career as Boone County's Northern District commissioner.
Thompson and seven other county officials were sworn in Tuesday at the Boone County Government Center by County Clerk Wendy Noren.
As officials recited their oaths, many of them also thanked their families, friends and the county for their support.
Thompson was the only new face in the group. She was elected Nov. 6 to replace Skip Elkin, who had been a commissioner since 2001. Thompson won 54 percent of the vote over her Republican opponent, Don Bormann.
It was a full house for the swearing-in ceremony. All 50 chairs in the room were occupied, and at least a dozen people had to stand. Thompson stood beside the door to welcome guests as they arrived, giving handshakes and hugs to her acquaintances.
The last one to take the oath, she emphasized the dedication of all the officials in the county.
"It's inspiring to see what Boone County has done," she said.
With the help of others, she said she hopes she can help make the county a better place.
Thompson said she was taught that duty in life is to leave the world better than it was before.
"My goal as the commissioner is to do whatever can be made better for citizens of Boone County than when I took office," she said in an interview after the ceremony.
She has been a public defender since the early 1980s but resigned her post Monday.
"Our office is disappointed. We lost an invaluable asset. She was a defender of distinction," said Rosalynn Koch, an assistant public defender and also a friend.
"But as a citizen of Boone County, I know she will be an invaluable asset."
Thompson said her experience as a public defender will have practical use during her term as commissioner. Practicing law has given her a new way to look at problems, she said.
"Consider the interest of those affected — that's what law is," she said.
A passion for horses will continue, she insisted. She takes care of three horses and even cleaned their stalls before the ceremony.
"My life will change," she said. "Let's figure out how much."
In addition to Thompson, seven other county officials were sworn in Tuesday:
- Karen Miller, who is starting her sixth term as Southern District commissioner;
- Dwayne Carey, who is beginning his third four-year term as county sheriff;
- Nicole Galloway, who was originally appointed county treasurer by Gov. Jay Nixon in April 2011 before her election in November;
- Dan Atwill, whom Nixon appointed presiding commissioner in October 2011 and who ran unopposed in November;
- Cathy Richards, who was re-elected to a second term as public administrator;
- Judges Christine Carpenter and Michael Bradley.
County Assessor Tom Schauwecker will be sworn in when his new term begins in September.
Supervising editor is Jeanne Abbott.