Not all of the candidates that were invited made it to the Little Theater at Jefferson College Thursday for the candidate forum sponsored by the Jefferson County Growth Association, but those who did talked about their qualifications for the county offices they are seeking and about their tenure as a resident of the county.
The general election is Nov. 4.
The speeches Thursday were largely free of promises, personal attacks or even strong opinions on any particular controversial issues in Jefferson County. Of the 11 candidates who spoke to the forum attendees, not all of them asked for their vote. In a refreshing change of pace from national political campaigns, there were no personal attacks and no mud-slinging
Robert G. Wilkins was the first candidate to the podium. He's the Democrat in the Circuit Judge Division 1 election, and the incumbent in the contest. He talked about parts of his 29 years in the legal profession and about his efforts as a child advocate in Missouri.
Wilkins' most memorable line? "I'm not a politician. I'm just a judge."
Stan Schnaare, a Republican, will be facing off against Wilkins. Schnaare stressed his wide-ranging legal experience including that as a registered Veterans Administration attorney and his handling of a multitude of small and large cases in family courts.
Schnaare clinched the honor of being a resident of Jefferson County the longest with this assertion: "I live in the house in which I grew up."
Dan Stallman, a Republican, is running for sheriff of Jefferson County against Oliver "Glenn" Boyer, a Democrat, who was out of town and unable to attend the candidate forum.
Stallman spoke of his 14 years as a D.A.R.E. instructor in Jefferson County and vowed to restore the drug abuse information program for 5th graders to the sheriff's department.
Stallman said working with the D.A.R.E. students always was more satisfying than dealing with "the bad guys, ding dongs and idiots of life."
Jefferson County Public Administrator position may be the least understood position in Jefferson County government. The Public Administrator office is responsible for decisions regarding the placement, medical consents, educational/habilitation plans, finances and the general health and safety of each person, or ward, whose care is entrusted to it by the Probate Court.
As a consequence of the duties of the office, the public administrator works with the elderly who have no families to assist them, people of all ages who suffer from mental illnesses, minors with estates that must be managed by someone other than a parent and incapacitated people whose potential guardians or conservators are involved in disputes.
The incumbent public administrator is Democrat Bruce King who has held the job since 1999, a 13-year run in which he says there have not been any problems of any kind in the office.
Best line? "Not one penny of any estate or account has ever been lost by my office."
Challenging King for the Public Administrator post is Republican Steve Farmer, a Tea Party "constitutional conservative" who said he would bring a fresh perspective to the office. Farmer talked about his military background and said he wanted to elevate the awareness of the public administrator's office.
Most memorable line? "I want to say thanks to those standing guard around the world which enables us to speak tonight."
Renee Reuter, the incumbent Republican county council member for the 2nd district, which includes parts of Arnold, High Ridge and Fenton in northern Jefferson County, was next to the podium.
Reuter explained how she, as a member of the first Jefferson County Council was able to lower taxes in the county and save money by scrutinizing bid awards.
Her best line was a re-quote of a book title by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich, an historian of early America and the history of women and a Harvard University professor: "Well behaved women seldom make history."
Cheryl Hermann is the Reuter's Democratic challenger. She spoke of bringing more collaboration to the Jefferson County Council, a trait she said she has as a member of the Fox C-6 School District Board of Education for 12 years.
She said would like to see a safe, clean environment in Jefferson County and a more efficient county council.
Memorable line: "When I look at the Jefferson County Council I see well-meaning people trying their best, but not very efficient."
The next, and final, candidate forum at Jefferson College will feature state and federal candidates who will appear on Jefferson County ballots. The forum will be at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 in the Arts and Sciences I Little Theatre (Room 119) on the college's Hillsboro campus, 100 Viking Drive, Hillsboro.