JOPLIN, Mo. —
Candidates for county and state political offices can file starting Tuesday.
In preparation for that, the Jasper County Courthouse on Friday was the scene of announcements by four candidates, all for offices that will be contested in the August primary.
Law partners Joe Hensley and John Nicholas announced plans to seek associate judge positions in the Jasper County courts system. Associate Judges Joseph Schoeberl and Richard Copeland will step down at the end of their current terms, and four candidates, thus far, have outlined plans to seek the two posts that will be vacant as of Jan. 1.
Nicholas will seek the Division 4 post currently held by Schoeberl, and Hensley will run for the Division 5 judgeship held by Copeland for 32 years. Other candidates who have announced are Joplin attorney Mike Roberts, for the Division 4 post, and Nate Dally, of Carthage, for Division 5.
Nicholas has been an attorney in Jasper County for 18 years, representing individuals, businesses and entities including the Joplin Board of Education in a variety of civil matters. For the past eight years, he has worked as an assistant Jasper County prosecuting attorney.
A native of Oklahoma, he graduated from the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma College of Law.
Hensley, a graduate of the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law, worked in Springfield for four years before returning to Jasper County to open his own practice in 2002. He served as the Jasper County juvenile office attorney and as a Jasper County special prosecutor. He is a certified guardian ad litem and a certified mediator.
Roberts entered the fray earlier in the month, citing as experience for the job his background in law enforcement and the Jasper County prosecutor’s office.
A Joplin native, Roberts was with the Joplin Police Department for 16 years and was working as a police investigator when he decided to pursue a law degree. He is a graduate of the Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kan., and he also holds a criminal justice degree from Missouri Southern State University.
Dally, the first to announce, is the Carthage city attorney and an assistant Jasper County prosecutor. A Carthage native, he holds a law degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Also on Friday, Doris Tatum and Charlotte Feather Pickering announced they would seek the Jasper County recorder of deeds post being vacated by Donna Grove, who is retiring.
Pickering, of Sarcoxie, is a lifelong county resident. She cited 26 years of service to the public. She was the city collector in Sarcoxie for 10 years, and 16 years ago she started working with Jasper County Title Co., now called Waco Title.
“That allowed me a close working relationship with the recorder’s office,” she said.
Tatum, of rural Webb City, also cited her experience, saying she started working in the county office in 1981 and currently is chief deputy recorder.
“Aside from taking some time off when my sons were small, I’ve worked in the office since 1981 and have been chief deputy recorder for about eight years,” she said. “I’m the only candidate who’s worked in that office.”
Grove said she is backing Tatum in the race.
“She’s been in the office for nearly 25 years and has the background and knowledge,” Grove said. “She’s chief deputy, and she runs the office when I’m out of town.”
Marilyn Baugh had the current county clerk and two former officeholders on hand when she announced her candidacy last week for the post of Jasper County clerk.
Baugh, who has worked as a deputy clerk for 35 years, is being endorsed by Bonnie Earl, who will retire after her current term as county clerk. She also has the backing of Ron Mosbaugh and Marjorie Bull, who held the clerk’s post earlier.
SUSAN REDDEN is a staff writer for the Globe. She can be reached at email@example.com or 417-627-7258. Follow her on Twitter @Susan_Redden.