By Debby Woodin
MOUNT VERNON, Mo. — Republican races for three county offices are to be decided in the Aug. 5 primary election in Lawrence County.
The sheriff’s race drew the most interest with five candidates: two current members of the department, two former deputies and an Aurora police officer.
Also contested are the offices of assessor and Eastern District commissioner.
The incumbent sheriff, Ed Weisacosky, 64, who was elected in 2004, decided to retire and is not seeking a second term.
Two of his subordinates, Lt. Brad DeLay and Cpl. Jim Tennyson, both of Mount Vernon, are seeking the seat. Two former deputies, Kevin Davis, of Verona, and Rick Abney, of Mount Vernon, also filed. The fifth candidate is Jay Jastal, of Monett, who works for the Aurora Police Department.
Delay, 36, has worked for the department 15 years. He supervises eight uniformed officers, 22 reserve officers and the victims’ advocate, a program started three years ago.
His priority, he said, would be investigating drug cases. “This is basically the key to everything,” he said. “Any crime we have we can trace to drugs or drug usage.”
Tennyson, 58, has been with the department nine years. Before that, he was a state conservation agent and was assigned to Lawrence County for 26 years.
He said his priorities, if elected, would be drug-crime investigation and livestock rustling, which can become a problem when the economy slumps. “I also would like to improve communication with the department and with the other departments in the county, and with the citizenry,” he said. “I would like to see us more visible in the community.”
Davis, 47, said he has worked in law enforcement for 23 years. He left the Sheriff’s Department four years ago and has operated his own excavating business since.
He, too, cited work on drug-related crime as his priority, if elected. “To me, that’s one of our main problems in the nation, let alone Southwest Missouri,” he said. He also believes the department’s budget needs to be tightened, and that patrols need to be targeted to specific areas of need.
By Debby Woodin
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