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Elections Preview: St. Charles County

In anticipation of the Aug. 5 primary election, St. Charles County candidates were invited to answer the following questions: Why are you running and what are your priorities if elected? What are your qualifications for holding public office?

Mid Rivers Newsmagazine has not verified and does not endorse statements made by the candidates. Candidates are listed in ballot order. All candidates and their campaign websites, when available, are posted, even if they did not respond to Mid Rivers Newsmagazine’s questionnaire. Incumbents are marked with an asterisk.

County Executive

Steve Ehlmann (R)* www.steveehlmann.com

I believe the county will continue to grow and prosper only if we 1) provide good schools, 2) provide safe neighborhoods and 3) provide a good system of roads and bridges. All county government can do about schools is enforce truancy laws, and I will do that. Throughout the tough times with declining revenue I did not cut public safety and will continue to try to improve it. With the opening of phase three of the Page Extension, I will direct attention to the I-70 corridor, which needs improvement.

I have a bachelor’s degree from Furman University, a master’s degree from University of Missouri-Columbia, and a law degree from Washington University. My experience also includes nine years of teaching, four years in the Missouri House, eight years in the Missouri Senate (four as Republican floor leader), three years as a circuit judge, three years as director of administration for the county and eight years as St. Charles county executive.

Douglas A. Funderburk (R)

[Candidate announced July 15 that he was ending his campaign for county executive.]

Rod Zerr (D) www.electrodzerr.com

I am running for county executive to restore ethics and integrity to our county government. I am deeply concerned about the massive centralization of power that has occurred in the county executive branch as well as the reprehensible way county employees and residents have been treated by the current administration. My priorities include establishing term limits for the county executive position, restoring ethics throughout county government and providing services to all county residents regardless of political affiliation or socioeconomic status. I will establish an open-door policy and conduct quarterly town hall meetings where residents can openly discuss their concerns.

As a lifelong resident, I have had 32 years of service committed to the public safety of our county residents. As a former county department head, division director, 911 administrator and emergency planning committee chairman, I am uniquely experienced in the inner workings of St. Charles County government. I am qualified in providing cost-effective services on a timely basis in a respectful manner to all members of our community. I have worked within our county government at all levels, so I have a clear perspective of all phases of governmental services. I am a proven leader who can effectively oversee critical governmental operations within our county government.

 

County Council •  District 1

Tony Lovasco (R) www.tonylovasco.com

As a lifelong St. Charles County resident, I have become increasingly concerned about the erosion of private property rights in our community. Rather than sit by as our liberties slowly vanish, I decided to take action to help ensure that government stays within its proper limits. My top priorities are 1) protecting private property rights – I will protect property rights of all individuals and businesses, even those with whom I disagree. 2) reducing wasteful spending – I will only support necessary expenditures and will aggressively attempt to lower expenses. 3) increasing transparency – I will work for a more open government.

I have spent over 13 years directly interfacing with St. Charles County residents as part of my career as an off-lease computer and IT services salesman. I have personally dealt with thousands of people over this time, and have developed the ability to address the needs and concerns of various types of people in a highly efficient and decisive manner. I have no doubt that once elected, I’ll be able to use these skills to effectively work with other elected officials to overcome problems and cut government waste.

Joe Cronin (R)*

 

County Council •  District  3

Michael Elam (R)* www.mikeelam.com 

I currently hold the office of county councilman in District 3 and am running for re-election. My top priorities are 1) maintaining a balanced budget by keeping our taxes low and our spending in line, 2) improving transportation throughout the county by easing traffic congestion and improving roadways, and 3) working to grow our economy by developing an environment for fostering small businesses that want to grow and expand throughout St. Charles County.

For the past 15 years I have been heavily involved in civic improvement with groups such as Rotary International, the Barnes-Jewish St. Peters Hospital and Progress West Hospital Foundation boards, the St. Charles Businessmen’s Prayer Breakfast, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, the Greater St Charles County Chamber of Commerce, the O’Fallon Chamber of Commerce, the Cottleville/Weldon Spring Chamber of Commerce, and have supported local charities and coached many of my kids sports teams. This involvement has helped me get to know the people in my county and learn what is important to them. Safe neighborhoods, quality schools, and low taxes are the things I hear the most, and those are my priorities.

Michael E. Carter (R)  www.mikecarter.com

 

County Council •  District  5

Terry L. Hollander (R)*

 

County Council •  District 7

Tyler Holyfield (R)

John W. White (R)* 

I am running for re-election as the county councilman for District 7. My priorities are 1) fair property assessments, a balanced county budget and low real estate taxes; 2) the completion of Hwy. 364 and the continuation of regular maintenance of streets and roads; and 3) continuing the preservation of open space and development of trails and parks.

I have served in public office for 14 years and am familiar with all the procedures . I know how to get things accomplished for my constituents in District 7.  I have always been there for any problem or emergency that comes up and have shown my loyalty by making sure that St. Charles County is a safe place to live and raise a family.  I serve on many committees and have been president of several organizations. I am a proven leader and will continue to serve my district to the best of my ability and listen to any constituents concerns.

 

Director of Elections

AC (Arnie) C. Dienoff (R) www.dienoffelectionauthority.webs.com

I am running to provide much-needed leadership by making the correct decisions, provide for the best customer service regardless of politics, and to always put people first by advocating fair, honest and transparent open elections. I will work to restore honesty, accountability and common-sense fiscal responsibility back to the Election Authority and every taxpayer. I will be your “watchdog” and identify all waste. I will run fair, honest, open elections with full disclosure and transparency, leaving no secrets or hiding any documents from the public. I will work to stop any and all voter fraud.

I feel called to serve the 395,000 citizens of St. Charles County. I believe affordable quality election services and economic growth are vital to the entire county. I bring diverse, vast knowledge and keen skills that will be an immediate asset to the continued success of the county. I am community and civic-minded and talented, college educated in business administration/management, and have either worked or been appointed at the municipal, township, county and state levels. I have managed multi-million dollar organizations, saving taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars by making sure citizens are the first priority and focus.

Patti York (R)

Rich Chrismer (R)*

With nearly 12 years experience administering elections in our county, I will continue to work every day to ensure that when all of the votes are counted, our citizens can trust the final results. I will work with state officials and election authorities across the state to support a law requiring a valid photo I.D. to vote. The goal of this reform should be to make it easier to vote and harder to cheat. I will continue to operate an efficient and effective office that is constantly identifying ways to save taxpayers dollars. I will maintain public confidence by running honest elections that are conducted fairly and accurately.

I served for eight years as State Representative in the Missouri General Assembly, and in 1997 wrote and passed into law the largest tax cut in state history, saving the citizens of Missouri over $350  million every year. As director of elections, I wrote and guided the legislators to pass into law in 2006 a bill that saves the citizens of our county over $200,000 each year in election costs. I have been recognized by both federal and state election officials for my leadership in administrating elections. I was named to the Presidential Commissions Election Task Force and a Missouri voting commission.

Kathryn Runyan (D)

My priorities are 1) open and transparent elections – leaving no question that each election is fair and honest for everyone involved, 2) consistent and reliable communication to educate the public regarding voting equipment and the election process, and 3) a strong and official election judge education program.

 

Recorder of Deeds

Barbara J. Hall (R)*

I am seeking re-election in order to continue to provide the citizens of St. Charles County with professional and competent management of their recorder’s office. My three priorities are 1) maintain qualified management of the office through my continuing education/training/networking in the professional organizations to which I belong; 2) ensure the continued legal and ethical operation of the office; and 3) continue to keep abreast of technological advances in the property records industry and utilize them effectively for improved operations and essential public services.

My extensive knowledge and administrative experience, specific to the St. Charles County recorder’s office, are critical to its successful, legal operation. An outside novice would not be able to step in and perform these crucial duties within the law. In 1984, I began my service in the recorder’s office working as a customer service clerk and document archivist. I have managed this office as recorder of deeds since 1987. My first priority has always been excellent customer service. I have continually planned, implemented and maintained the use of cutting edge technologies in this effort. We receive regular compliments from customers who consistently rank this office well above other government offices. Customer satisfaction is always the best endorsement.

Michael E. Copeland (L) 

 

Sheriff

Don Van (R) • www.donvan4sheriff.com

With the department splitting next year into the county police and sheriff’s departments, my priorities   will be to 1) make the new system work better for county government and save taxpayers money; 2) review all security measures within the courthouse, speak with judges and make appropriate changes where needed; and 3) educate the people about the new system. I will make the office more accessible to the public. I will make security my top priority. I will make sure that anyone who has to go to court for any reason is dealt with in a professional manner and feels safe while they are there.

After more than 28 years with the sheriff’s office, I have worked all the positions that the newly elected sheriff will be in charge of, including prisoner transport, court bailiff court security and civil process.

Kevin D. Jett (R) www.facebook.com/kevinjettforsheriff 

Being a current employee of the sheriff’s department and a strong leader in the workplace and community, I want to run for office to use my skills to 1) provide a good relationship with the new police department, 2) assure that the deputies retain the same powers they currently have, and 3) provide a secure presence in the courthouse. These are my top priorities along with helping to make a smooth transition to the split-off of the sheriff’s department for the employees, administration and public and perpetuating positive growth and strength within the department and the community.

I have an associate’s degree in business management and accounting. I have been with the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department for 24 years and have held a leadership position as sergeant for the past eight years. I have also been involved in the community with the Laborers’ International Union of North America Local 42, First Capitol Lions Club, Post 312 Sons of the American Legion and the St. Charles County Sports Hall of Fame.

Scott A. Lewis (R) www.scottlewis4sheriff.com

I have been the Cottleville Chief of Police for the past 18 years and am the current St. Charles County Drug Task Force Chairman. I am the highest-ranking officer on the ballot with the most qualifications for the position. I will make a positive working environment for sheriff’s department employees while maintaining responsible spending. I will seek technological and safety improvements for the department. The voters will know their sheriff.

I will continue to be active in the community by participating in local organizations such as Rotary Club and other charitable groups while maintaining a sheriff’s department with integrity and excellence. I am endorsed by the UAW, Painters, Iron Workers, Operating Engineers, local mayors and past sheriffs.

Dave Warner (R) www.warnerforsheriff.com

I’m concerned regarding current operations within the sheriff’s department, particularly with manpower issues. I’m alarmed that training funds have been reduced or eliminated in recent months, preventing key personnel from obtaining their annually required training. I will streamline operations and remove undue burdens on county residents such as the unnecessary extended delay to obtain concealed carry weapon permits/renewals (up to three times longer than other Missouri communities). It’s time for new blood with fresh ideas for improved operations and empowered personnel. It’s my priority to return ethics and professionalism to the sheriff’s department.

I have a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Columbia College as well as a master’s degree in emergency management services from Columbia Southern University. This fall I will complete my second master’s degree, which is in criminal justice administration. I have been active in law enforcement since 1992 and come from a family involved in law enforcement. I hold several instructor certifications in law enforcement topics. I am experienced in many facets of law enforcement, including budgeting, scheduling, training, grant writing and management.

Missouri House • District 64

Laura K. Castaneda (D)

Robert Cornejo (R)* www.robertforrep.com

 

Missouri House • District 70

Bill Otto (D)* • www.billotto.org

Joe Corica  (R) • www.votecorica.com

 

Missouri House • District 102

John Callahan (D) www.callahanfor102.com

I am running because I am very frustrated with the conduct of our state legislature; the lack of will to work together for the benefit of the people’s business. My priorities are 1) maintaining Missouri’s economic and social infrastructure; 2) focusing on more high quality, value-added jobs; and 3) promoting education as the key to economic development. We need to provide funding for the foundation of our education system. It is a social justice obligation to provide an improved and expanded Medicaid to our children and families in need.

My qualifications include being the vice chair of the city of O’Fallon Charter Commission, member of the O’Fallon Board of Adjustment, member of the Fort Zumwalt School Board, director of No Hunger Holiday charity, past president of St. Charles County Ancient Order of Hibernians, member of O’Fallon Elks, member of St. Joseph-Cottleville and recipient of a BS/BA from University of Missouri.

Kurt Bahr (R)* www.Kurtbahr.com 

Protecting life, liberty and prosperity have always been my top priorities. This includes protecting property rights as well as Second Amendment rights and fighting for smaller government in general. I will continue to advocate for free market economic growth and fight against corporate welfare that allows the state to select winners and losers. In addition, I will continue fighting for Missouri’s education system to be top notch and controlled by Missouri. I look forward to continuing to put my experience to work for the people of District 102.

Along with the past four years of experience in this seat, I also have a master’s degree in public policy.  Before serving in the Missouri House I served in the United States Air Force as a finance officer. This combination of academic and real-world education has allowed me to serve the people of District 102 well, and I look forward to continuing this service.

Michael Swyers (R)

 

Missouri House • District 103

Kyle Schlereth (R) www.facebook.com/KyleSchlerethForStateRepresentative

Alexander McArthy (R) www.alexandermcarthy.com

John D. Wiemann (R) • www.votejw.com

My concern for the well-being of our state has motivated me to run for State Representative in order to help restore our individual freedoms and make our state a better place for everyone. I believe my education, 20 years of real-world, private-sector work experience, conservative and family values offer  the qualifications necessary to best represent the citizens of Missouri House District 103. My top priorities are 1) economic growth and job creation – tax and regulatory reform; 2) government reform – reduction of state government overreach; 3) protection of individual freedom – property rights, privacy, Second Amendment and stopping Obamacare.

My qualifications include a bachelor’s degree in business and a masters degree in health administration, 20 years private sector experience, two years of state government work experience (i.e., Missouri Secretary of State), small business owner for the past seven years, leadership positions in the private sector and with non-profit civic organizations over the past 20 years, active member of many local community organizations including Assumption Catholic Church, St. Charles Lions Club, Lewis & Clark Pachyderm Club,  JRGAC Youth Football League, Knights of Columbus and Boy Scouts Troop 977.

Dean (Draig) Hodge (L) draighodge.nationbuilder.com

I am tired of being told I have no right to my earnings until the government takes money from me and gives it away to people smart enough to lobby for a cut of my pay. Their attitude assumes I am too unkind to help my family, neighbors or friends unless forced to “contribute.” My top priorities include 1) promoting equality by ending Missouri’s $1 million annual corporate giveaways; 2) achieving justice by correcting bad laws, repealing every exception to bad laws, regulations and rules; and 3) by holding individual government agents personally responsible for violations of a person’s civil rights.

My qualification is this: I trust you to run your own life. Giving government power to force anyone to “be good” or to “do good” is wrong unless there is proof of injury to another person. Adults should be left alone to work out their problems, to seek their fortunes and to arrange their lives without interference from the government as long as they refrain from interfering with anyone else’s right to do the same thing. The government should only become involved when there is an allegation of damage and then only as an impartial arbitrator.

 

Missouri House • District 104

Terry Lesinski (D) www.facebook.com/terry.lesinski

Kathie Conway (R)*

 

Missouri House • District 105

Matt Judkins (D) www.electmattjudkins.com

I am running for state representative on the premise that government should move back to the middle and away from its current polarizing state. This is my highest priority and will allow government to work for the people once more. I also will work to ensure that public education is fully funded and will fight for the middle class through job development with solid wages.

I bring a long track record of leadership and collaboration in marketing communications to public life. My career has been an illustration of how bringing people from different backgrounds and viewpoints together to achieve common goals can lead to tremendous success. I have been a member of several organizational boards and currently serve on the Executive Advisory Board for the Service Leadership Program at St. Louis University’s John Cook School of Business, and was named to the Outpatient Surgical Facility Review Board in St. Peters with full support of Mayor Len Pagano and a unanimous vote by the Board of Aldermen.

Mark Parkinson (R)*  www.markparkinson.org

My priorities are to continue working to protect Missourians from the debacle of Obamacare. Missourians want and deserve to have the right to choose their own doctors and health insurance plans, and to make their own health care decisions, free of governmental intrusion. I’m 100 percent pro-life and have been proudly endorsed by Missouri Right to Life. As the co-author of Missouri’s illegal immigration law, I have intimate knowledge of how illegal immigration harms the Missouri economy. Due to President Obama’s gross incompetence in controlling our borders, the first bill I will re-file in December will make it a crime to knowingly hire an illegal alien.

I am a proven leader in the Missouri House of Representatives. While I am a staunch conservative first and foremost, I have a track record of working with colleagues on both sides of the aisle to promote individual rights and liberties, and to make Missouri a better place to live and to raise a family. While most politicians do what they can to promote their accomplishments, I have always said that I do not care who gets the credit – the end result is what matters to me.

 

Missouri House • District 106

Ken Tucker (D) • www.kentucker.org

Chrissy Sommer (R)* www.chrissysommer.org

Simply put, I am running to help shape the future of our state for my family and all of the children in our state. So what’s important to me? Providing for ourselves and our families, limiting the intrusion of government into our daily lives, and keeping our country on a path toward recovery and prosperity.

Three of my priorities are 1) making our business atmosphere more attractive to entice businesses to move to and remain in Missouri, 2) focusing on education to ensure that we provide the best resources and environment for students, and 3) working closely with the Brain Injury Association to improve the lives of people with brain injuries as well as those who suffer from PTSD and other mental illnesses.

My qualifications include professional experience as an office manager, property manager and vice president of a family business for over 30 years. I have degrees from the University of Missouri – St Louis and St Louis Community College at Meramec. I am finishing up my first term in Jefferson City and currently serve as the Vice Chair on the Appropriations Committee for General Administration.

I am an active member of the community, serving as a community volunteer and mentor with over 30 years serving numerous organizations, including the Greater St Charles Chamber of Commerce, Five Acres Animal Shelter, The St Charles Jaycees, Harvester Christian Boy Scout Troop 911, United Way and the Francis Howell School District to name only a few.

Erin Schulte (R) • www.erinschulte.com

 

Missouri House • District 107

Ron Hicks (R)*

 

Missouri House • District 108

Marlon Williams (D)

John J. Haman, Jr. (R)

Nina Dean (R) • www.ninadean.com

I am running for this office because I want to be able to tell my grandchildren that I did the best I could to ensure that they still had a free country, full of opportunities. This desire sets my top priorities. My top legislative priority is to stop the government overreach that is killing opportunities for Missourians. Attracting jobs to Missouri with free market solutions that create a positive business climate is high on my priority list. And improving education while keeping control as local as possible, with teachers, parents, and students involved, is another priority.

For the last four years, I have been the legislative assistant to State Representative Kurt Bahr. I worked side by side with him when we tried to pass the Obamacare Nullification Act and watched it fail in the Senate. We had more success with stopping Common Core this year. I know how a bill gets passed through the legislature. I have the experience and will not have to depend on lobbyists to help me navigate the pitfalls of Jefferson City.

Justin S. Hill (R) www.facebook.com/hillformissouri

 

Missouri Senate • District 2

BOB ONDER (R) • www.onderforsenate.com

I am running because I am concerned about our state and our country, and whether my children will have the freedom and economic opportunity with which I was blessed. Missouri’s economy is lagging. I agree with Ronald Reagan’s statement that government is not the solution; government is the problem. Intrusive government programs and regulation, especially Obamacare, are holding back our economy. I will work to reform and simplify our tax code, cut regulation and limit government to its proper constitutional role. I will fight for the right to life and our Second Amendment freedoms.

I am not a professional politician. I am a husband, father of six, a physician and a small business owner.  I am a former State Representative who, in my short time in the Missouri House, passed a major bill to fight illegal immigration and a major pro-life bill. Since leaving office I have consistently fought Obamacare. I am a former board member of Missouri Right to Life and the Catholic Medical Association. I am the only candidate endorsed by Missouri Club for Growth, Missouri Right to Life and Concerned Women for America. I have been endorsed by five out of the six Missouri Representatives representing my Senate district.

Vicki Schneider (R) www.vote4vickischneider.com

Chuck Gatschenberger (R) www.chuck4mo.com

 

Missouri State Auditor

Tom Schweich (R)* www.tomschweich.com

Sean O’Toole (L) www.otoole4mo.com

Rodney Farthing (C)  www.cpmo.us/2014cpmo

I would like to serve the state of Missouri by running for state auditor. My top priority would be to ensure compliance with state statutes by agencies who receive state funding and by those who oversee making decisions for the state. We need to get everyone on board to understand the auditor’s position, which should not be a political office. By not being from one of the two major parties, I would be in a better position to educate/negotiate with these offices and the public so they will realize that the auditor’s primary job is to protect taxpayers’ money, which benefits everyone.

 

U.S. House• District 2

Arthur Lieber (D)  www.lieberforcongress.com

I am running for office to (a) diminish the role of money in politics, and (b) increase the level of dialogue in politics. I believe that whenever possible, political races should be competitive. I support a  progressive agenda which sees providing a sound social safety net as an essential role of government. Our economic policies should be based on a full-employment economy, even if it means that the government hires unemployed people to help rebuild our infrastructure and preserve our environment. I support a woman’s right to choose and stronger gun control legislation.

I have not held previous political office. I have been an educator for over 40 years, teaching in both public and private schools. I was a co-founder of Crossroads College Preparatory School in the city of St. Louis and was director of the school for its first fifteen years. I have worked a great deal in conflict resolution. My common ground work in the pro-life/pro-choice divide was featured on CBS’ “60 Minutes.” I believe that because I am not of the “political class” that I am more in touch with ordinary citizens.

Ann Wagner (R)*  • www.annwagner.com

I’m running to be your representative because I want to create an environment for good-paying jobs, increase upward mobility, reduce the size and scope of government, strengthen our national security, restore your individual liberties, and lower costs on everyday items that you depend on like groceries, gasoline and the cost of your health care. I will continue to fight for you, the taxpayer, by supporting policies that will put more money in your pocket and restore the sacred belief that government ought to work for the American people and not against them.

The Second District is my home. It’s where I was raised, work, volunteer, go to church, raised my children, and where I met my husband of 27 years, Ray. My life is woven into the fabric of this community. I have been a “doer” my whole life whether it was in the private business sector or serving as a local Lafayette Township Committeewoman. I have always fought for solutions that will get the job done. As your representative, I have supported nearly 300 pieces of legislation that will grow the economy and restore the American Dream. With your support, we can make that dream a reality.

Bill Slantz (L) 

 

Constitutional amendments

Constitutional Amendment No. 5: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to include a declaration that the right to keep and bear arms is an unalienable right and that the state government is obligated to uphold that right?

State and local governmental entities should have no direct costs or savings from this proposal. However, the proposal’s passage will likely lead to increased litigation and criminal justice-related costs. The total potential costs are unknown, but could be significant.

 

Constitutional Amendment No. 7: Should the Missouri Constitution be changed to enact a temporary sales tax of three-quarters of one percent to be used solely to fund state and local highways, roads, bridges and transportation projects for ten years, with priority given to repairing unsafe roads and bridges?

This change is expected to produce $480 million annually to the state’s Transportation Safety and Job Creation Fund and $54 million for local governments. Increases in the gas tax will be prohibited. This revenue shall only be used for transportation purposes and cannot be diverted for other uses.

 

Constitutional Amendment No. 8: Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended to create a (Veterans Lottery Ticket) and to use the revenue from the sale of these tickets for projects and services related to veterans?

The annual cost or savings to state and local governmental entities is unknown, but likely minimal. If sales of a veterans lottery ticket game decrease existing lottery ticket sales, the profits of which fund education, there could be a small annual shift in funding from education to veterans programs.

 

Constitutional Amendment No. 9:

Shall the Missouri Constitution be amended so that the people shall be secure in their electronic communications and data from unreasonable searches and seizures as they are now likewise secure in their persons, homes, papers and effects?

State and local governmental entities expect no significant costs or savings.

 

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