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Callaway County candidates prepare for primary election

With only a few days left to file for the Aug. 5 primary election — the deadline is 5 p.m. on Tuesday — only two Callaway County offices have two candidates, and only one of those is a contested race for the primary.

Those candidates who have registered — most of them incumbents — shared their reasons for running and what they hope to accomplish should they eventually be elected to office in November.

Auditor

•Republican Karen Rentschler said she decided to run when she heard longtime Callaway County Auditor Rosemary Gannaway is planning to retire.

“I have been in public accounting for 14 years and have had my own practice for five,” Rentschler said. “I just decided to give it a try and see about serving Callaway County.”

She said her goals would be to ensure the county budget is handled efficiently and correctly and to oversee some technology upgrades in the office.

“I think the office is being run really well,” Rentschler said. “I’d just like to continue in (Gannaway’s) footsteps.”

Circuit Clerk

•Incumbent Republican Judy O. Groner said she wanted to run for another term because she likes her job.

“I really enjoy what I do, and I have a wonderful staff,” Groner said, noting everything in her office runs smoothly.

Groner said her main priority, should she be re-elected, is to focus on checking reports as well as doing more cross-training among office employees.

Collector of Revenue

•Incumbent Democrat Pam J. Oestreich also said she is running for re-election because she “absolutely loves” what she does.

“And not to sound overbearing, but I think I do a good job,” Oestreich said. “I enjoy it, and I have a good staff.”

She said her goals would be to continue to update the county’s software system to make it more useful to local taxpayers, to keep up with “ever-changing state laws” and to be there for taxpayers.

County Clerk

•Incumbent Republican Denise Hubbard said she had several reasons for running for a second term.

“I want to continue defending election integrity, increasing government transparency and improving government efficiency,” Hubbard said.

Hubbard said she already has made progress in all three of those areas — making note of improved election judge training, more election results and records being made available online and utilization of electronic poll tabs — and she wants the opportunity to continue with those goals. She said another project she wants to tackle during a potential second term is records preservation and having a backup in case of disaster

•Republican Kathryn S. Potter said she decided to pursue public office because after working in education and public service for years she wants to put those skills to a different use.

“Now I see an opportunity to focus on customer service for the citizens of Callaway County,” Potter said.

Potter said her focus would be on upcoming changes with voter registration and “being able to run a professional, organized office that is there to serve the community — and I know I can bring that to that office.”

She also said she is concerned with voters’ rights and accessibility, referencing the community of Carrington which lost its polling place.

“I’m very interested in keeping a sense of community,” Potter said. “I think it’s important to listen to people and making certain you’re expressing why you’re doing something.”

Presiding Commissioner

•Incumbent Republican Gary Jungermann echoed the common refrain that he wanted to run for a second term because he likes what he does.

“I enjoy the job tremendous, serving the public,” Jungermann said, noting he also has ongoing projects he would like to see completed. “I want to continue in that direction and see that it gets done.”

Among those projects, he specifically mentioned finishing the switch to GIS (geographic information system) at the EOC and other county departments and continued efforts to attract new business and more, better jobs. Another goal Jungermann mentioned was continuing visits with the other commissioners to Jefferson City to keep an eye on what the state is doing and how it affects Callaway County; “smaller government keeping big government from coming in and attacking you.”

Jungermann said his main priority for another term would be to ensure Callaway remains an attractive options for businesses and families alike.

“It’s all about creating a good community and county that people want to come to get a good job, get their kids a good education and is a good place to raise a family,” Juner

•Democrat Janet Gruer said she is running because she wants to give back to the community.

“I believe our local government is where the people are, and I think the people really care about what happens in our community, and I think I can help them,” Gruer said. “I’ve been a strong leader for people with mental disabilities and other disabilities, people with mental illness, the elderly, so I can bring that with me.”

Gruer said her main concerns if elected would be helping the county make the change from a Class 1 county to a Class 2 county — House Bill 1806, passed in 2010, changes the requirements for a Class 1 county from a $600 million assessed value to $900 million. Callaway County is at $773 million.

“There are some disadvantages to changing to a Class 2, but there are advantages, too,” Gruer said. “I believe we can bring a balance.”

Prosecuting Attorney

•Incumbent Republican Christopher D. Wilson said he is running for a second term because “I love the job.”

Wilson said one of the biggest challenges facing the prosecuting attorney’s office right now is a number of homicide cases he said should be resolved by the end of the year.

“Another thing particular to our office is the affect of reclassification of the county,” Wilson said. “Prosecuting attorney would go from being a full-time position to a part-time position.”

He said his office also is moving toward becoming paperless over the next year.

Recorder of Deeds

•Incumbent Republican Christine Kleindeinst said she filed for another term because she believes her experience is of benefit to Callaway citizens visiting the recorder’s office.

“I was in title insurance before and I’ve been able to help so many people when they come in because I know about it,” Kleindeinst said.

She said her main goal for her second term would be to continue efforts to create a digital index of the office’s records — marriage licenses on file, for example date all the way back to 1844.

“It’s important (to have a backup) if anything happens, and we’re going to continue to focus on getting all of the documents indexed,” Kleindeinst said.

Circuit 13 Judge, Division 6

•Incumbent Democrat Carol England said she decided to run for a third term because she enjoys her job.

“I just like working with the public,” England said. “I’ve been in public service my entire life as a police officer, an attorney and now a judge. I can’t imagine working in anything else.”

Circuit 13 Judge, Division 7

•In a written statement, Republican Sue Crane said she has spent 25 years in the legal profession in Callaway County — first as a public defender and then in private practice.

“I’ve been able to handle the many different needs of my clients through the years, and as a result have seen all sides of the legal system except that view from the judge’s bench,” Crane wrote, noting that when current Division 7 Judge Bob Sterner told her he was retiring she knew “the time is right for me to take this next step.”

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