The race for the Boone County Southern District commissioner got off to an early start this week.
Mike Asmus, an Ashland alderman and member of the town’s Planning and Zoning Commission, declared Tuesday his intent to run for the office, almost seven months before the required March 30 filing deadline. The office is now held by Karen Miller, a Democrat.
“It’s a position I’ve looked at before,” Asmus, a Republican, said Tuesday. He has submitted an application with the Missouri Ethics Commission establishing a committee so he can raise money for the campaign.
Asmus believes his experience in city government qualifies him for the commissioner’s post. He is in his fourth year as a planning and zoning commissioner and second year as a member of the Ashland Board of Aldermen. He said a move to county government would be a “logical step” in his public service career.
“This is a direction that’s right for me, and one I believe is right for the commission and the citizens of the Southern District,” Asmus said. He hopes to participate in public service on a broader level and with more constituents than his city position.
Efficient road construction is among the issues Asmus plans to highlight in his campaign. He wants to re-evaluate the criteria county officials use to decide which roads get paved, saying he wants to eliminate “classic cases of paving dead-end roads.”
Asmus also wants to emphasize better allocation of public money. He cited the Boone County Fairgrounds and the county’s one-eighth-cent sales tax for law enforcement — approved by voters as Proposition L — as examples.
“We could have used existing funds instead of going to the taxpayers,” Asmus said about the law-enforcement tax, which has provided money to hire and train more deputies and address other needs in the sheriff’s department, the court system and the prosecuting attorney’s office.
Miller, who is serving her ninth year as Southern District commissioner, said Wednesday she will run for re-election next year but that “it’s just too early to start campaigning for an election that will occur in November.”
Miller, who is president of the National Association of Counties, will have to move to seek re-election because district boundaries have been redrawn and her home is now outside the Southern District.
The primary election for county offices will take place in August 2004 and the general election in November 2004.