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The Rolla Daily News - Rolla, MO
  • Voters get a chance to meet candidates, ask some questions

  • No new information was divulged by candidates and no surprises sprang into the open at Tuesday night’s Candidates Forum sponsored by the Phelps County Republican Central Committee.
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  • No new information was divulged by candidates and no surprises sprang into the open at Tuesday night’s Candidates Forum sponsored by the Phelps County Republican Central Committee.
    No such revelations were expected, but there was a crowd in the school board meeting room at the Rolla Technical Center any way. They were interested and engaged voters who showed up to hear what the candidates had to say, to watch how the candidates handled themselves when quizzed and just to be good citizens.
    The candidates who participated in the questioning by moderator Lee Buhr, news director and co-host of the Morning Mayors Show on KTTR, were:
    •Sen. Dan Brown, incumbent Republican candidate for 16th District state senator;
    • Democrat Zech Hockersmith and Republicans Jason Chipman and Shawn Sisco, candidates for 120th District state representative;
    • Incumbent state Rep. Tom Hurst and Bruce Sassmann, both Republicans and both running for 62nd District state representative;
    • Democrat Paul Long and Republicans Rose Breske and Pam Grow, candidates for Phelps County clerk;
    • Brendon Fox and Brant Shockley, both Republicans and both candidates for Phelps County prosecuting attorney;
    • Incumbent Democrat Ron White and Republican Brian Wooley, candidates for Phelps County associate circuit judge (Division 1);
    • Incumbent Democrat Ken Clayton and Republican Mark Calvert, candidates for Phelps County associate circuit judge (Division 2).
    All the candidates had opening statements, then audience questions (screened by the event planners and read by Buhr) were answered and every candidate had a closing statement.
    They were polite. No fights broke out. There may have been a little testiness in a response or two by the prosecuting attorney candidates and the associate judge candidates, but there wasn’t enough to talk about after the forum.
    Buhr may have had the most important comment of the night when in his wrap-up for the evening he noted voter turnout in Phelps County has been poor for the last several elections. He encouraged the interested and engaged voters who attended to speak to their associates about the importance of voting.
    In fact, he said, “take them by the collar and get them to the voting booth.”
    The forum gave each candidate a chance to convey to voters a nugget of truth about themselves.
    Hockersmith stressed the importance of the state’s role in providing equitable educational opportunities for all children in Missouri.
    Sisco spoke on his themes of removing the state from the lives of people by lowering taxation and regulation.
    Chipman, who seems to have been campaigning primarily in the Crawford County portion of the district, introduced himself to Phelps County voters by stressing his themes of family, liberty and leadership.
    Page 2 of 2 - Grow pounded away on themes of transparency and accountability.
    Breske said she wanted to be involved in the community.
    Long spoke about his longtime service and involvement in Phelps County.
    Shockley reiterated his concern for victims.
    Fox stressed his experience in the courtroom as a trial lawyer and his 90 percent conviction rate as an assistant prosecuting attorney.
    Woolley pledged to carry out the duties of judge more efficiently, saving tax money.
    White said the race boils down to experience, education and commitment to community.
    Calvert said he wanted to serve the public by listening and making sound judgments.
    Clayton drew together his years as a public defender, a private attorney and a county prosecutor as preparation for the job he now holds as associate judge.
    Brown talked about service, noting he serves God, family, country and politics--in that order.

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