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Jungermann wins third term as presiding commissioner

Jungermann wins third term as presiding commissioner

November 7th, 2018 by Helen Wilbers in Local Politics

Callaway County Commission candidates Susie Ferguson (D) and Gary Jungermann (R) are seen at a debate Thursday.

Photo by Jenny Gray /Fulton Sun.

Gary Jungermann won his third term as presiding Callaway County commissioner in Tuesday's general election.

"I feel good," Jungermann said.

The Republican candidate, who has held the seat since 2010, easily defeated Democratic opponent Susie Ferguson. Unofficial, but complete results from the Callaway County Clerk's office showed Jungermann defeated Ferguson 11,203-5,554.

Jungermann said he thinks his open-door policy earned voter report.

"I think most people are happy with what's going on," he said. "(I try to stay) open-minded with everyone who walks into the office and calls me, treat everyone with respect and give them time to speak their concern. As we all know, we're not going to make everybody happy. You just have to do what you think is in their best interest."

Jungermann grew up on a family farm on the east side of the county. He has a wife, three children and five grandchildren. He previously worked as a service technician and then he and his brother ran a construction company for five years. His wife operates a day care. He's said he considers his work as a county commissioner to be a full-time job.

"Honestly, I enjoy doing what I do for Callaway County," Jungermann said. "I'm excited to get to do this for another four years."

During a contentious race, confined animal feeding operations proved a particularly hot-button issue.

In March 2017, County Commissioner Roger Fischer proposed a health ordinance to regulate these types of farming operations, but on Sept. 17, two of three commissioners — Jungermann and Randy Kleindienst, said existing Missouri Department of Natural Resources rules already cover the same large farming operations the ordinance would regulate.

Jungermann has said he supports encouraging the state legislature to address the issue.

However, he said, budgetary issues related to the justice system in Callaway County will likely be his first priority this term.

"Right now, looking at what's going on within our jail and judicial system, we're going to have some big decisions to make," he said.

The jail is stuffed to overflowing and the county plans on adding two more officers to supervise it, Jungermann said. The prosecuting attorney's office is handling at least 1,000 felony cases per year, in addition to about 2,500 misdemeanor cases. In the courthouse, closets are being converted to offices.

"We're going to have to look at a lot of things that are very expensive," Jungermann said. "Raising taxes is not the answer."

In an another contested race in Callaway County, Republican Sarah Gladman won with 11,272 votes. Her Independent opponent Nancy Elkthunder received 4,786 votes.