We talked to a number of area candidates in the weeks leading up to Tuesday’s elections. We kicked off our interviews in Carroll County.
In the race for sheriff, incumbent Troy Hofstetter said he is passionate about serving the residents of Carroll County. “I am very energetic. I am very involved with the sheriff’s office and everyone else in the county. If there is a major case, I am out there with them working on that case. I am doing backup in the middle of the night helping the deputies and making sure they are safe. I really care about this community. I want this community to be successful. I want people to be able to live here and want to live here.”
Hofstetter is running against Hale Chief of Police Bob Barlow and Carrollton police officer Joe Arnold. Barlow said he’d like to borrow ideas from other successful agencies. “Just like our neighbors to the north in Livingston County, Sheriff Steve Cox has had a tremendous outpouring of support for his website and alert system. I would like to do something like that in our county. I will attend all city council meetings. I will also be available to the public, listen to their concerns, and let them know what is going on in their county.”
Arnold said he would run the office the same way he did when he was sheriff. “I patrolled the county. You have to go from one end to the other, because people get upset when they never see a patrol car in their area. There are 697 square miles in Carroll County. You have the little towns that need to be patrolled. You have to do a lot of investigations and you have to keep the people informed. If you try to keep it covered up, no one will tell you [anything].”
For the first time in more than 30 years, current Carroll County Coroner Steve Bittiker has an opponent. He is running against Doug Saltsgaver. Bittiker said he has accomplished many things over the last 36 years. “I have been instrumental in updating new laws and regulations to the Coroner’s Association. I have been a chartered member of the Missouri Coroner’s and Medical Examiners Association. I am a member of the International Association of Coroner’s and Medical Examiners. I have been the director of Troop A for eight terms. I have been the secretary of the board of directors for three terms. I am the past President of the Missouri Coroner’s and Medical Examiners Association. I have over one thousand hours of continuing education.”
Saltsgaver said he has always wanted to run for County Coroner, but didn’t because he and Bittiker were co-workers. “Since I am semi-retired, I have the time to devote to this position. Once elected, I will proudly continue to serve my entire county with the same personal devotion and dedication.”
In Saline County, candidate for Northern District Commissioner Charlie Guthrie said he has had a long history of service to the community. “I was a former Commissioner several years ago. I enjoy serving people and working with the public. I think that I still have a lot to bring to the office and help to people and [I] will work for the good of the order.”
Guthrie is opposed by Pat Peterson. She said although she has never held a position in a public office, she understands the needs of Saline County residents. “I grew up in a small town, about the size of Slater, and my parents owned a small business. I watched how hard my parents worked. I also farm with my husband now, so I know how hard it is to earn a dollar that way too. I taught for 31 years and problem solving skills is one of the things that I feel I am strong at.”
Monte Fenner and Dee Friel are battling it out for the Southern District Commissioner seat. Fenner, who was appointed to the job last year, said in his interview that he wants to continue giving back to the community. “Saline County has been my home. One of my goals is to make sure that we have a balanced budget. I also want to make sure that we are spending our money wisely. I think it is also important to get along with every elected official in the county.”
Friel, who is a retired teacher, said she is running for the residents. “I have had a lot of budget experience working with school districts. I was on the salary committee for a number of years. I also supervised some grants and everything had to fall within budget. I have been the secretary/treasurer of our local optimist club for over ten years, and I make sure we fall within budget and follow the guidelines that we need to.”
In the race for Saline County Assessor, incumbent Margaret Pond, who has been in office for the last 12 years, said she isn’t ready to give up her seat. “I have made a ton of changes since [I] was first elected. My staff and I have tried to upgrade our system, which we have done. We are also working toward getting GIS. We will be working with the City of Marshall, the 911 Dispatch office, and the Utility Department to help them also be able to use our information.”
Pond is running against Michelle Fuehring who said she could bring a new perspective to the assessor’s office. “I have a business degree from State Fair Community College. I managed the Sweet Springs pool for several years. Now I am the Deputy Auditor. After working with the City of Sweet Springs, I have a better understanding of the budget and use of taxpayers’ money.”
Marty Smith and Bev McCracken are on the Republican ticket for the Saline County Treasurer. Smith said he gained valuable experience during the 22 years he served in the United States Air Force. “My Air Force career has afforded me the opportunity to meet a budget, contract problems, and challenges that I dealt with the military. I dealt with it head on. It gave me the experience, knowledge, and understanding of the problems and how to find solutions quickly.”
McCracken said she has more than 30 years of accounting and financial experience. “My husband and I own and operate McCracken Farms, and I have always done the farm books. I was the Credit Manager at Fitzgibbon Hospital and worked with insurance, medical billing, and reimbursements. I worked for Kraft General Foods and Rose Acre Farms, where I was the Production Accounting Manager. I am currently with MFA Incorporated.”
There are very few contested races in Livingston County. Brent Elliott and Bill Burris have filed to run for Division Two Circuit Judge. Elliott, who is the incumbent, said he brings more than 11 years of experience to the table. “I was the Prosecuting Attorney of Livingston County for several years in the early to mid-1980s. I practiced law in Livingston County for about 20 years before I became the Associate Circuit Judge in DeKalb County. I then became the Circuit Judge and I also currently serve as Presiding Judge for the 43rd Judicial Circuit. If I am re-elected I will make only one pledge: to try to be fair and impartial and perform my duties to the best of my ability.”
According to Burris, judges need to be smarter on crime, court officials need to be held to higher standards, and respect needs to given to state and federal laws. “Having served as the Prosecuting Attorney over the past six years, I have seen what has taken place in the courts and I have seen how our courts have operated. I felt it was appropriate to run for circuit judge at this time. If you want a judicial system and judges that you can respect and can believe in to be fair, honest, and consistent, you should vote for me.”
More than a dozen people filed for offices in Pettis County. Of the ten races, five are contested. The largest candidate pool is on the Republican ticket for Western District Commissioner. Mike Johnson, Doug Needy, John Ficken, and Jim Marcum have thrown their hats in the ring. Brent Hampy and Dan Kroeger are vying for the Eastern District Commissioner seat in Pettis County. The Pettis County Treasurer’s Office has three hopefuls on the Republican side: Kim Lyne, Bill Hering, and David Hagebusch.
We will have live coverage from ten courthouses in the KMZU listening area after the polls close at 7:00 p.m.