By Josh Letner
NEOSHO, Mo. —
Voters in Newton County will select from multiple Republican candidates for county offices in the Aug. 7 primary election. With one exception, no candidates of any other party filed for the offices, so the primaries will essentially fill the offices.
1st DISTRICT COMMISSIONER
In the race for the 1st District County Commission seat, three Republicans are vying for their party’s nomination.
• Alan Cook, 50, is retired and holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Oklahoma Christian University. He is a lifelong resident of Newton County and has never held public office. Cook said the repair and maintenance of county roads is his top priority. He said he has worked for large companies and on his family farm, and he believes he can communicate effectively with all of his constituents.
“I can speak in the barnyard, and I can speak in the boardroom,” he said. “I can identify with all the people in the county.”
• Henry Stout, 61, is a detective with the Newton County Sheriff’s Department. He attended some college and has lived in Newton County for more than 30 years. He has never held an elected office.
Stout said the biggest issue in the 1st District is the condition of the county roads. He said his 25 years of experience with the Sheriff’s Department allows him to identify with the people of the county.
“I think most people want a commissioner with common sense who is responsive to their needs,” he said.
• Kyle Seaman, 49, is a service technician and business owner. He is a graduate of Neosho High School and Franklin Technology Center. He has lived in Neosho for 36 years. He has never held public office.
Seaman said it is important to foster growth around the new Mercy Hospital Joplin, under construction in Newton County. He said the growth should be managed to preserve the residential feel of surrounding neighborhoods.
Two Libertarian candidates are also contending for a spot on the November ballot in the 1st District.
• Roxie Fausnaught, 56, is a housewife and a graduate of East Newton High School. She has lived in the county since 1970 and has never held public office.
• Heather Bowers, 38, of Neosho, works at the AT&T Call Center in Joplin. She is a lifelong resident of Neosho and holds a bachelor’s degree in speech communication from Missouri Southern State University. She served on the Neosho City Council from 2009 to 2011.
2ND DISTRICT COMMISSIONER
In the 2nd District, Newton County voters will select from four Republican candidates for county commissioner. The winner will be unopposed in November.
• W.B. “Doc” McCready, 74, is a retired oral surgeon and rancher. He obtained his dentistry degree from the University of Missouri at Kansas City. He has lived in the area for 46 years and served two terms as a commissioner of the Seneca Special Road District.
McCready said roads are the main issue among residents of the county. He said his combination of education and successful business experience separates him from the other candidates.
• Rick McCully, 60, is self-employed. He has attended some college and has lived in Newton County for more than 50 years. He served two terms on the East Newton School Board in the 1980s. He also served two terms on the Granby City Council as well as two terms as mayor of Granby.
McCully said his experience in local government makes him the most qualified candidate.
• Jim Jackson, 58, is a retired broadcaster. He was a news anchorman for KSNF-TV for 32 years. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mass communications from Missouri Southern State University. He has lived in Neosho for the past 16 years. He has never held elected office.
Jackson said he wants to promote tourism in the county and provide fiscal responsibility. He said he is an effective communicator and finds it gratifying to help others with their problems.
“To be a good communicator, you have to be a good listener,” he said.
• Carl Brand, 66, is a field service technician. He has attended some college and has lived in Newton County for the past 25 years. He has never been elected to public office.
Brand said he supports a six-year road plan and would implement a town-hall style meeting with the public once a quarter to discuss issues.
“I’m going to bring common sense to the Newton County Commission,” he said.
The primary will effectively decide the race for county sheriff. Whichever candidate emerges will run unopposed in November.
• Ken Copeland, 62, is seeking his third term as sheriff. He has attended some college at Missouri Southern State University and is a lifelong resident of Newton County. He formerly was a detective with the Joplin Police Department.
Copeland said the most important issue in the county is synthetic drugs.
“I am a proven leader with 30 years of experience,” he said. “I work tirelessly to ensure the Sheriff’s Department is fiscally responsible and accountable to the people it serves.”
• Mike Langland, 59, is a security officer at Freeman Hospital West in Joplin. He holds a criminal justice degree from Missouri Southern State University. He worked for the U.S. State Department training Iraqi police officers in Anbar Province until 2008. He has lived in the county for 50 years. He has made two previous unsuccessful bids for sheriff.
“My experience is second to none,” he said.
The race for county assessor also will be decided on Aug. 7.
• Gloria Gourley, 63, is the Republican incumbent. She is from Neosho and has attended some college.
• Tami Renfro Owens, 47, owns Three Rivers Real Estate. She attended Crowder College. She is a Neosho native and served as deputy assessor for two years, but has never held elected office.
Two Republicans are vying for the office of public administrator.
• JeAnna McGarrah, 58, is a registered nurse with Sisters of Mercy Health System. She holds a master’s degree in health care from Kennedy Western University. She has lived in the area for nearly 50 years. She has served on the Newton County Ambulance Board but has never held an elected office.
• Billie Adams-Herrell, 54, is an assistant in the Newton County public administrator’s office. She is a lifelong Neosho resident and has attended some college. She has never held public office.
A third candidate, Ryan Childers, has withdrawn from the race, but his name will remain on the ballot, officials said.
The following candidates are unopposed and virtually assured of nomination.
Treasurer — Gina Genisio Rodriguez.
Coroner — Mark Bridges.
Surveyor — James Loncarich.