As the election year continues, Boone County is gearing up for 2004’s primary. The election, in which voters from each party will select nominees for federal, state and county offices, will be held on Aug. 3. The general election, in which voters will make final selections for those offices, is Nov. 2.
The August primary will feature intraparty elections for a host of offices. On a state level, voters will choose nominees for governor, secretary of state, state treasure, attorney general, state senator and state representative. In Boone County, races include the 19th District senate seat and state representative in the 21st, 23rd, 24th and 25th districts. With the exception of the county central committees, which will be chosen in August, the same offices will appear on the November general election ballot.
This week, the Missourian takes a look at candidates for some Boone County offices.
— Profiles compiled by Gena Lupardus
Sources: Boone County Web site (www.showmeboone.com) and incumbent officials
These officials are part of a three-person commission that makes county policy, approves and adopts annual budgets, approves spending for each department and watches over the operations of county departments, including Public Works, Building Codes, Information Technology, Planning and Zoning, Human Resources, Purchasing and Facilities and Grounds Maintenance.
Time on the job mostly is spent outside the office. Commissioners must be able to attend regular commission meetings twice a week and many other meetings each week. Each commissioner is given a list of organizations for which the official must act as liaison.
During the legislative season, commissioners are very busy with meetings. Duties of the job include being involved in business and community events. One part of the job is making land-use decisions. Perks include radio call-in programs, working with citizens and the ability to influence legislation at the state level, said incumbent Southern District Commissioner Karen Miller. The annual salary is $72,467.
Elkin, 39, is the incumbent Northern District commissioner. Born and raised in Hallsville, he still lives there with his wife and two daughters. He is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and owns a roofing company. His political experience began in 1994 when he was elected to the Boone County Democratic Party Central Committee. He was then elected to the Hallsville City Council in 1995. He was elected to his current post in 2000.
Elkin said his original campaign issues were improving roads and ensuring law enforcement has adequate resources to protect the community. Those issues still remain priorities, he said. He has emphasized the need for the county to remain up to date on technology and to use it to make more information available to the public. He also has been the county’s lead commissioner on planning for the Boone County Fairground. He was also at the forefront of the recent campaign for a sewer bond issue to fund projects in the Boone County Regional Sewer District.
“I pride myself in serving the public,” Elkin said. “I try to be as responsive as I can to everyday problems of my constituents. I want to try to improve their quality of life.”
Carrington, 71, has lived in Columbia since 1958. He is married and has five children and six grandchildren. He has been self-employed in real estate for 32 years and has 13 years of experience as a road inspector with the Missouri Department of Transportation. He also has 23 years of military experience including two years serving with the U.S. Army in Germany and subsequent service in the Missouri National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves.
Carrington’s goals as commissioner would be planning for the Boone County Fairground and working to iron out sewer service issues between the city, the county and the Boone County Regional Sewer District. Roads are also a top priority; he said he would like to improve the safety of some roads susceptible to flooding by adding signs that would indicate how deep water is when it flows over the roads.
Carrington has made four previous runs for a commissioner’s seat. He said he didn’t want to see Elkin run unopposed.
“You need to have some kind of professionalism about you; there’s just a lot of things I haven’t been happy about over the six years,” Carrington said. “We could help the Republican side and also help (Presiding Commissioner Keith) Schnarre get what programs he really wanted.”
Miller, 51, has lived in Columbia since 1979. Before becoming a county commissioner in 1992, she owned and operated a restaurant and lounge in southern Columbia. She is serving her fourth term as Southern District commissioner.
Miller said her experience, especially with complex issues such as EPA requirements for storm-water management, would benefit the county in a fifth term. She has long been involved with the National Association of Counties and is currently president of that organization.
“I feel like I have a lot of knowledge and education that has been gained over several years; it is of value to the taxpayers to allow me to finish the work that I have started,” Miller said.
Miller said one of her priorities is to continue working to improve county roads using money from a half-cent sales tax approved by voters. She hopes to see that tax extended; it is scheduled to expire in 2007.
“I have been here since the inception of this process,” Miller said. “I would love to be in office long enough to see the funding mechanism permanently extended into the future.”
Asmus, 38, lives in Ashland. He is married and has two daughters. He is an alderman and mayor pro tem for Ashland. He also serves on the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission and is a designated liaison to the Ashland City Council.
If elected, Asmus said, he would try to help the commission get a handle on its priorities and the county budget. He said the county should work within its existing resources so that it doesn’t have to ask residents for further tax increases. In the past several years, the county has sought and gained voter approval of new taxes for county roads and law enforcement.
“Drawing on current and past experience, I would hit the ground running as Southern District commissioner, bringing with me a fresh interest in listening to constituents and an earnest willingness to take whatever action necessary to effect positive change for Boone County,” Asmus said.
This official holds a four-year term. The position includes identifying, discovering, listing and assessing value to taxable, tangible, personal and real property. People skills are needed, too, because the assessor works with many people inside and outside the office and often must help them determine what their missions and goals are in real estate. Tax mapping is also an integral part of the job. That involves maintaining and updating property lines based on warranty deeds from the county recorder of deeds. Perks of the job include no two days being alike, incumbent Tom Schauwecker said. The assessor’s annual salary is $72,467.
Schauwecker, 50, grew up in Columbia, where he still lives with his wife, son and daughter. As the incumbent assessor, Schauwecker’s previous experience includes working under his predecessor as a staff assessor beginning in 1981. He worked in the private sector as a fee appraiser from 1985 to 1989 and was first elected county assessor in 1988.
Schauwecker is unopposed in this election. He sees that a positive thing, not only for himself but also for Boone County residents and taxpayers.
“The good side is that I can focus on my job and not the re-election; I have the ability to focus on the re-evaluation year, 2005, and refocus all my energy on updating property values,” he said.
This office carries a four-year term. The public administrator is assigned custodial and administrative responsibility for the estates of deceased persons, disabled people and minors without legal guardians. Some responsibilities of the job include acting as guardian for close to 300 people and being on call 24 hours a day, seven days a week for clients.
Time spent on the job includes traveling about 1,000 miles a month around mid-Missouri to maintain and care for appointed clients. The job entails developing relationships with people and making difficult decisions on clients’ behalf. The public administrator should enjoy working closely with people and their families. The annual salary is $72,467.
Fowler, 56, has been in Columbia for the past seven years. He has more than 30 years of experience in the medical field. He is a physician’s assistant and a nurse, and he owned a nursing home in northern Missouri. He now works as a minister and does projects such as prison ministry and working with the elderly.
Fowler said his approach as public administrator would be to work with facilities that house clients outside the city limits. This would help them provide access to city services and features in Columbia, such as movies, shopping, entertainment and other leisure activities. He also feels it is imperative to have careful reviews of clients to ensure that those who are able can return to the general population as soon as possible.
“We have a wonderful country. Seeing people warehoused in facilities is troublesome to me. The office of the public administrator needs a reminder that it is not a prison. I work day and night for what I believe in, and I believe I can do a better job than the current public administrator,” Fowler said.
Connie Bell Hendren, 54, grew up in Moberly and is now a Boone County resident. She is married with three children and also has two grandchildren. Hendren has served as public administrator for 12 years. She is a certified public accountant and a registered guardian for the National Guardianship Association.
Hendren said her campaign will focus on the importance of continuity of care for her clients and her ability to help clients through tough times, sometimes making very difficult and personal decisions on their behalf. That might include deciding to sell elderly clients’ homes because they can no longer live in them or helping make medical decisions at the end of someone’s life.
“I have worked very hard at the job for 12 years,” Hendren said. “I enjoy my job and working with my clients.”
Sullivan, 58, has lived in Columbia with his wife and eight children since 1987. Before coming to Columbia, Sullivan was a U.S. congressional aide in Omaha, Neb., and a city administrator in Nebraska. He also has been administrator of an assisted-living center and spent nine years in a seminary.
Sullivan now owns Sullivan & Associates, an insurance company. He has spent 14 years running the business.
He said that his past experience in politics gave him a positive outlook and that he has always thought about making a run for public office.
“I kind of picked up the flavor of being involved in politics,” Sullivan said. “That gave me a very positive slant toward the whole arena of people who are involved in political office.”
This official works 40 hours a week at an in-office job. The position entails receiving, disbursing and investing money for the county and ensuring the money goes where it should. The hard part of the job, incumbent Kay Murray said, is working with bond issues. All general obligation bonds and revenue bonds for the county are done through the treasurer’s office. Accounting, financing and investment knowledge is necessary.
The position also includes being on the county’s Self-Health Trust Board and overseeing projects such as the Neighborhood Assistance Program and the Community Art Displays for public buildings. This is a position that serves county officials more than the public, Murray said. The annual salary for the county treasurer is $72,467.
Murray, 60, is a Boone County native. She is divorced and has two adult children. She started in public service in 1967, working for the county clerk. After almost 10 years in that position, she ran successfully for the county treasurer’s position in 1976. She began serving her seventh term in 2001.
Murray is also chairwoman of the county’s self-health insurance committee and coordinator of art for county buildings.
As she seeks election to an eighth term, Murray faces her first opponent since 1992.
“I think having an opponent is healthy for the elective office,” she said. “It keeps you aware of the public interest.”
Murray plans to focus on her experience and accomplishments as treasurer as she campaigns for re-election.
“It is important to me to use the knowledge gained to better serve citizens of Boone County. There is a lot to be gained from someone with some background,” Murray said.
Evermon, 52, has lived in Columbia for 18 years. He is married and has one son. Evermon has 3 1/2 years of experience working with the county on its computer systems and programs for various departments, including the treasurer’s department. He also installed computers systems for the state. He has almost 7 1/2 years of experience in law enforcement, including 3 1/2 in Missouri.
Evermon works for Retail Service Pro-Assembly Co., where he builds lawn mowers. He also volunteers at his church as an accountant and treasurer.
Evermon said his 20 years of experience with computer systems would benefit the county if voters elect him treasurer.
“Since I am already familiar with the County’s AS/400 computer system and programs, I can save the taxpayers money by knowing where the problems are within the system as related to the treasurer’s area and relay that information to the computer department so they can resolve the issues in minutes instead of days,” Evermon said.