|
|
The Daily Guide - Waynesville, MO
  • Pulaski County Presiding Commissioner race to be decided next week

  • Pulaski County voters will have several options for presiding commissioner when they go to the polls Aug. 5.
    • email print
  • Pulaski County voters will have several options for presiding commissioner when they go to the polls Aug. 5.
    There will be five Republicans vying for the position and no Democrats. The race on Aug. 5 is actually a primary election, but since there are no Democrats on the ballot, the winner of the Republican race should win the presiding commissioner seat.
    Gene Newkirk is the incumbent, and he will be challenged by Bill Farnham, Donald B. Mayhew, James R. Skaggs and Kenny Zeigenbein.
    All candidates were contacted by the Daily Guide and given the opportunity to respond to the following four questions.
    Mayhew, Newkirk, Skaggs and Zeigenbein responded to the questions. Farnham declined to respond.
    Here are the candidates' profiles, listed in alphabetical order.
    Don Mayhew
    1. Briefly describe your background, including education, work experience, organizations you are or have been involved in, previous public service experience, family or other related information.
    I was born and raised in Pulaski County and have lived here most of my life. My relatives were some of the first to settle Pulaski County. I graduated from Crocker High School and also from UMR with a BS degree in Civil Engineering.
    I am a licensed Professional Engineer and a Licensed Professional Surveyor. I am a former MODOT engineer and have worked for engineering consulting firms large and small. For the past 17 years I have owned a small business in Pulaski County, Mayhew Surveying and Engineering, INC. My wife Deanna and I have been blessed with four children, all of which graduated from CHS, and 6 grandchildren.
    I have been the elected County Surveyor for six years. I served on the Crocker School Board for 6 years where I was President for one year. I have served on the Policy Council for MOCA and on the Habitat for Humanity Board.
    I served on the Republican Party Central Committee where I was chair for two years.
    I am a life-long conservative Republican. I am Pro-Life/Second Amendment/Traditional Marriage. I don’t believe we can spend our way to prosperity.
    I firmly believe that “We the People” are capable of governing ourselves and the smaller that government the better for all.
    2. Why are you running for this office?
    Pulaski County is facing some critical decisions in the near future. Pulaski County’s economy is tied, for better or worse, to what happens in Washington. We are subject to the whims and fancies of a bunch of patronizing politicians and nameless unelected bureaucrats in D.C.
    A consequence of that is we have suffered massive swings of “boom” and “bust” in the County and all indications are that we are about to go through another of those swings.
    Page 2 of 6 - We have a unique opportunity presented to us that may not come around again and now is the time to take full advantage of it. We have the highest educated work force compared to just about any other county.
    We are strategically positioned in the middle of the country and the state. We have the infrastructure to support any business with excellent highway, rail and airport. We have empty buildings in every community and brand new industrial parks in both Waynesville and St. Robert. States like California have decided that the solution to their bad decisions is to tax their job creators into bankruptcy.
    Those jobs are leaving those states and are looking for a place to go. The Presiding Commissioner is uniquely positioned to encourage, influence, and coordinate economic development. While that may not be in the job description, maybe it should be.
    3. What do you think are the most important issues facing Pulaski County?
    We need to diversify our economy. Our economy will never be totally independent from Fort Wood but we can do things that lessen the effects of the swings in the military budget.
    We have one of the best work forces available to the community with our military retirees and the local men and women who have learned skilled trades while working on post for the last 10 years.
    These folks have a proven work history and are reliable. Keep in mind that many of the local people who have worked on post are our children.
    If the jobs do dry up on post, and I believe that is inevitable, then we need good paying jobs for those people to go to. If we don’t provide those jobs then we will lose these folks.
    After all, this group is accustomed to being mobile from their military experience. Add to that the fact that our kids will be forced to make the same decision that my generation did when we got out of school: they will also have to move in order to find a good paying job.

    4. What will set you apart from the other candidates?
    The county budget is dominated by road and bridge issues. As an engineer, I have designed many roads and bridges and managed the construction of most of those.
    I am knowledgeable with the maintenance challenges facing our roads and the various solutions to those challenges. I am a former MODOT engineer and very familiar with the current funding mechanisms and programs available to counties for funding road and bridge projects.
    Many of the projects I have worked on in my career had budgets in the millions of dollars with some in the tens of millions. As a school board member I, along with my fellow Board members, were required to manage the very large school budget on a monthly basis not just once per year.
    Page 3 of 6 - _________________
    Gene Newkirk
    1. Briefly describe your background, including education, work experience, organizations you are or have been involved in, previous public service experience, family or other related information.
    As chairman of the Parks Committee, I was instrumental in bringing the aquatic facility to the City of St. Robert, as well as establishing new parks for the Bosa Heights area, Plattner Avenue, Paddock Park, and J.H. Williams Park.
    I am currently serving as Pulaski County presiding commissioner. Rather than requesting a bond issue for expansion of governmental offices, under my leadership the old Waynesville Middle School was purchased and is currently being utilized by the ASYMCA, Missouri Extension Center, Pulaski County Sheriff's Department Motor Pool and Pulaski County Emergency Management.
    I have never raised taxes dung my administration; I have had a balanced budget for the last four years, and I have utilized existing space in the courthouse to create a 28-bed pod, thereby reducing the $350,000-plus annual debt for housing prisoners outside of the county.
    Not only have I balanced the county's budget; I have paid off predecessors' debts in excess of $125,000; I have reduced maintenance and fuel from the sheriff's department by $30,000 and added it to the vehicle purchase line for new vehicles for the department.
    I have ended each fiscal year wit h a surplus, and under my administration, four new road graders were purchased for the road and bridge departments for cash, with no financing of county revenue.
    In addition to these accomplishments, I am serving as a member of the Meramec Regional Board and formerly served as vice chairman. I am a member of the Meramec Regional Planning Commission (MRPC), which oversees grant research and writing throughout Pulaski County.
    I assisted Crocker Fire Department in obtaining a new fire station through grant monies. I assisted the City of Crocker for sidewalk and beautification of infrastructure through grant monies. I have established an Intercounty Governmental Agreement with the cities of St. Robert, Crocker and Waynesville for utilization of county equipment for disaster relief and.or road repair.
    I approved the purchase of the MoDOT shed in Dixon for the Eastern District Road and Bridge Department to better serve the residents of the Eastern District in inclement weather and to centrally state equipment for quicker accessibility.
    2. Why are you running for this office?
    Pulaski County is my home. I have been an elected public servant for 12 years. The future of your and my children and grandchildren are dependent upon financial responsibility and accountability in local government. I have proven my leadership not only through the City of St. Robert, but with the county as a whole. We, as local government, should not mortgage our children's future by being financially irresponsible or by placing individuals in an unqualified position. I believe I am the only qualified candidate and I have prove my leadership in the past four years as presiding commissioner. Pulaski County has tremendous potential for growth, but it is dependent upon the right leadership. Therefore, I am seeking re-election as your presiding commissioner.
    Page 4 of 6 - 3. What do you think are the most important issues facing Pulaski County?
    Fort Leonard Wood (BRAC), financial responsibility, utilizing resources that we have- rather than incurring additional debts and growth.
    4. What will set you apart from the other candidates?
    I am the only experienced candidate. I have worked hard for the growth and progress of Pulaski County, including all of the municipalities. I am dedicated and have proven my leadership by the financial accountability and responsibility of balancing the county's budget. 
    _________________
    James R. Skaggs
    1. Briefly describe your background, including education, work experience, organizations you are or have been involved in, previous public service experience, family or other related information.
    My name is James R. Skaggs, and I am from Crocker, Missouri. I have been married to my wife Dorothy for 36 years, and we have two adult children, Jacklyn and Andrew.
    I am a lifelong resident of Pulaski County, and my family has been here since the 1800s.
    I graduated from Crocker Schools in 1972 and held various jobs before enlisting in the U.S. Army. I was honorably discharged in 1978, and went to work for my dad, Jack, building Skaggs furnaces.
    I attended Southwest Missouri State University, where I earned a B.S. in Education (Industrial Technology) in 1982. I taught shop in Crocker and in Waynesville for a total of 26 years.
    I am a member of First Baptist Church of Crocker, the Pulaski County Gideons, DAV Chapter 49, IOOF #108, MRTA, Pulaski County Republican Club, and NRA.
    Previously, I served on the Crocker Park Board, Crocker Volunteer Fire Department, Charter Member of the Crocker Swimming Pool Board, Selective Service Board (20 years), MSTA and NEA.
    2. Why are you running for this office?
    I am running for this office because I want to serve the people of Pulaski County. I have leadership experiences and knowledge that I believe will be beneficial to this office. I also believe in protecting taxpayer dollars and county assets while encouraging economic growth for the entire county.
    I am retired and I have time to visit with and listen to the residents of this county. I am a problem-solver and a forward thinker, and I will do the best I can to serve all Pulaski County residents.
    3. What do you think are the most important issues facing Pulaski County?
    Some important issues that face Pulaski County include:
    •  The downsizing of the Armed Forces and the economic impact it is having on the residents of this county.
    • Upgrading and maintaining our roads and bridges.
    • Safety and security of our citizens of Pulaski County.
    • Economic growth and job creation
    Page 5 of 6 - 4. What will set you apart from the other candidates?
    I am an Army veteran, and a former Army Reservist. I have a master's degree in management from Webster University which has provided me the leadership abilities I have to work with others. I am also a retired educator with excellent communication and problem solving skills. I also have construction, drafting and mechanical skills.
    I work well with others to achieve desired goals and I will always encourage teamwork in order to get the job done in a timely manner and within monetary boundaries.
    As a lifelong resident of this county, I will always try to do what is best for Pulaski County. I love living here and I love all the opportunities available here. I want to serve as Presiding Commissioner of Pulaski County so that our county continues to be a great place to live, work and raise our families.
    _________________
    Kenny Zeigenbein
    1. Briefly describe your background, including education, work experience, organizations you are or have been involved in, previous public service experience, family or other related information.
    I was born at the old Pulaski County Memorial Hospital in Waynesville, under the care of Dr. Dewitt in 1958. I lived and went to school in Crocker until the fifth gar. Then, my family moved to Swedeborg until the eighth grade, at which time we moved to Waynevsille, where I graduated from high school in 1976.
    I am a high school graduate and have a vocational degree in electronics. I have held several jobs in my past, most in farming or heavy equipment. My early employers were the City of Waynesville and Howards Construction Company.
    I now live in Devils Elbow with my wife, Linda, who I have been married to for 30 years. We have three daughters and three grandchildren. We own and operate a small cow/calf farm operation and a business coming up on 25 years this November.
    I am a member of Sweet Home Church on DD Highway in Crocker.
    2. Why are you running for this office?
    I am running for this office because I hear a lot of he needs of this county has by my customers on a daily basis. I think this county has a desire to grow, and I think it is our responsibility to try and produce jobs our younger citizens would be proud to have. They need something to come home to after college-- industry, jobs with retirement, medical, sick leave, yearly vacations, things every American wants-- a place you've always called home!
    3. What do you think are the most important issues facing Pulaski County?
    Page 6 of 6 - This county is facing many issues: unemployment, crime, drugs, traffic, worn bridges and roads, and not enough money to fix these issues.
    4. What will set you apart from the other candidates?
    I think being in business for 25 years has given me the insight to what people's needs and wants truly are. am and American, and I love this country. I love my town and am proud of it!

        calendar