For the the first time, the Macon Jaycees host a candidate Meet &Greet Forum at the Comfort Inn in Macon, Mo.
There were more than a dozen candidates present, Democrats and Republicans alike. Each had five minutes to introduce themselves and share with the crowd why they should be elected or re-elected. What appears to be the most contested race in the Macon County area is the 6th District State Representative seat. There are four Republican candidates running and one Democrat. Here is summary of what each candidate present at the forum had to say:
1. Associate Circuit Judge Phillip Prewitt: He is the Republican candidate running for Circuit Judge for Macon and Shelby Counties. According to Prewitt, he has 18 years of experience as a private lawyer. He ran his own law firm for 12 years. He is also proud of his military career. He considers himself a "tough, conservative judge."
2. Circuit Judge Frederick (Rick) Tucker: He is the Democrat candidate running for Circuit Judge for Macon and Shelby Counties. According to Tucker, the "job of the circuit court is to correct criminal behavior and restore or foster self dignity.
3. Kevin Shoemaker:current Macon County sheriff's deputy for the past seven years. He is a Democrat, running for Macon County Sheriff. He is a resident of New Cambria and is 31 years old. According to Shoemaker, he is a qualified concealed and carry instructor and a taser instructor. He said he likes to hunt and fish. If elected, he said he will focus on patrols in the rural areas of the county.
4. Macon County Sheriff Robert Dawson: He has been the sheriff of Macon County for the past 20 years and said if re-elected, this will be his last term. He said his goal for this term is to upgrade the jail and he hopes to get that started this upcoming term. During his five minutes, he mentioned that the Sheriff's Office has saved nearly a $100,000 during his time in office by serving in-house meals in the jail and reducing personnel.
5. 2nd District County Commissioner Jon Dwiggins: He is a Republican running for re-election. He has held the position for the past three and half years. He is married and has five sons and has lived in Macon his entire life. He owns three small businesses. If re-elected, he said it will be his priority to get a new jail in the next four years.
6. 1st District County Commissioner Drew Belt: He is a Republican running un-opposed. He has served as 1st District County Commissioner for the past 11.5 years. He said his goal will be renovating the jail. He said it will have to be done using a tax. If voters to do not support the tax, he said the jail will have to close soon.
7. Macon County Assessor Allen Spencer: He is a Democrat, running for Macon County Assessor. He is a life-long resident of Macon County. He is married and has one daughter. During his time in office, he said he has reduced payroll and has developed a good relationship with the county commissioners and the county collector.
8. Diana Scott: She is the sole Democrat running for the 6th District State Representative seat. She is a La Plata resident. She has campaigned for St. Rep. Tom Shively. She opened the first beauty and flower shop in La Plata, Mo., back in 1989. She said she has taught hair dressing in Kirksville and Columbia, Mo. She and her husband live on a farm; her husband is a grain farmer. She said God comes first, then family and then her country.
9. Tony Askew, Mayor of Atlanta, MO: He is a Republican, running for the 6th District State Representative seat. Along with being mayor, Askew has been a military police officer, school principal, and math and science teacher. He also owns a construction business. According to Askew, during his time as mayor, he completed a million dollar sewer system project a year ahead of schedule and without raising taxes. Also, he got rid of Atlanta's only police officer, along with 50 percent of the town's ordinances.
10. Tim Remole: He is a Republican, running for the 6th District State Representative seat. He said he has been participating in freedom marches in Jefferson City. He has been a small business owner for the 22 years. He is a "no nonsense guy" that "knows how to create jobs and has lived through hardships", including when he lost his job in 1989. He said the county "needs to turn to God" and stand together and fight for freedom.
11. Macon County Commissioner Alan Wyatt: He is running for the 6th District State Representative seat. He calls himself a conservative Republican who will not let anyone take his guns away, and believes marriage is between a man and a woman. He also said he doesn't believe in abortion; he said these issues are "written in stone for him." He said the top issues for the district are health care, infrastructure, education funding, and jobs and the economy.
12. Ron Gillet: He is a Republican running for the 6th District State Representative seat. He is from Randolph County and was raised near Cairo, Mo. He is pro-life, and a member of the National Rifle Association for the past 30 years. According to Gillet, every law abiding citizen should be allowed to have a gun. Before retiring, he worked for Southwestern Bell, AT&T for 32 years, reaching to the level of Regional Director. He vows to fight for jobs and "defending and upholding basic freedoms of the country.
13: Kyle Yarber: He is a Democrat, running for the U.S. House of Representatives 6th District. He has been a teacher and he has a Master's Degree in American History. His priorities will be small business, helping young people get into agriculture, and education- especially reducing the debt level of college students.
The Macon County Sheriff race will be decided in the August 7th primary, as only two Democrats are running. Here is a link to their interviews, where they share what plans they have for the department, if they win the primary.