Saline County General Election Candidates Participate in Q&A
During the meeting with the candidates at the Martin Community Center on June 21, the Salt Fork Pachyderm Club prepared for a question and answer forum. Opposed and non-opposed candidates answered questions leading to roles and responsibilities for the following positions: circuit clerk, county clerk, presiding county commissioner, clerk, auditor and prosecutor.
— Becky Uhlich (Democrat)
— Cindi Sims (Republican)
— Jessica Baker (Republican)
— Amie Ragan-Brown (Republican)
— Brittni Allison Burton (Republican)
—Carrie Jarvis (Republican)
Presiding County Commissioner
— Becky Platner (Democrat)
– Kile Guthrey (Democrat) – absent
— Karlin Breshears (Republican)
— Tim Thompson (Republican)
Each candidate shared an opening and closing statement during the forum.
“I worked in this office for 12 years…my main job is to maintain court records,” Uhlich said. “There’s nothing more satisfying than going back to the vault and finding a record from the early 1900s when someone asked for it. …Besides the normal annual legislative changes, data processing changes, program challenges and court fee changes – we have seen a fair share of lawyers coming and going, an abundance of changes of judges in trials before jury. If that wasn’t enough, we had to learn how to keep the courts open under COVID protocol. … I would also say that my time as a circuit clerk has been very rewarding.
She added that she had recently completed the Missouri Court Management Institute program. Uhlich graduated from the Supreme Court Building in Jefferson City.
“Generally, if you have business to attend to at the circuit clerk’s office — it’s usually not for anything pleasant — unless you’re applying for a passport or adopting a child,” she continued. “I strive to make this experience the best possible for everyone. It is truly an honor to serve you and all citizens of Saline County as Circuit Clerk. Thank you and I thanks for your support.
Sims shared how she was elected in November 2014. She reflected on things she thought were important and what has been done since taking office.
“We updated our office software – the assessor and I – together – and it’s been a blessing… It helps us all work better together,” Sims said.
She thanked the Salt Fork Pachyderm Club for hosting this forum and she would appreciate the votes from the residents.
“I am your current listener. I was nominated by the governor on September 1, 2020, then I had to turn around and run in the November election,” Breshears said. “Thanks to all of you, I was elected to represent the county as your auditor. Since taking office, we have implemented a new software system, which has helped a lot as we are now all in the same system…I really enjoy my job, I work very closely with all the other officers in the county.…And we do everything we can to balance our budget.
She concluded that if anyone had questions for the Office of the Auditor, she would answer them.
“I’m very happy to be, once again, running for Saline County District Attorney…I’m very grateful, very happy,” Thompson said. “I love what I do as much as I did four years ago.”
The recorder contestants — Baker and Ragan-Brown — each shared a bit about themselves and why they thought they could fill the role.
“I’ve been unknowingly preparing for this job for 11 years,” Ragan-Brown said. “In 2011, I started working for the Saline County Assessor’s Office under Margaret Pond. That’s where I learned a bit about deeds – very basic deeds. The assessor’s office uses it for map changes. … I also learned to read and draw legal descriptions … which is essential in helping people find their deeds. I initially started the GIS program upgrade and worked for three years making map changes to the GIS program…”
“I believe my day-to-day experience … in the office best qualifies me for this position,” Baker said. “I worked closely with the current recorder player, Jamie Nichols, and learned the day-to-day operations of running the recorder office. Like helping clients register and locate deeds, surveys, legal descriptions, marriage licenses…and more.
She explained that she helped implement the new marriage license system.
“Archival preservation is also important to me,” Baker said.
Jarvis said she currently works in the county clerk’s office with current county clerk Debbie Russell.
“I’ve been in the office for five years,” Jarvis continued. “I am the election clerk. If you’ve had elections in the last five years, I’ve been there with you.
“I currently work in the Saline County Assessor’s Office and have been there for five years as of September,” Burton said, opposing Jarvis. “Working there, I learned a lot about our county government offices, and I look forward to continuing that knowledge and hopefully expanding in some way on what we have right now.”
Burton added that she wanted to bring the other offices closer together by working with the county clerk’s office. She indicated that it is a powerful thing.
Finally, Platner ran and is running for presiding county commissioner. She opposes the current Commissioner President Kile Guthrey. Platner said she previously served the public as presiding commissioner from 2003 to 2010.
“The reason I run is because I love the work,” Platner said. “I love being Commissioner President. … There’s a lot of stuff there. The budget has almost doubled since I went. The total overall budget is close to a $36 million budget. You need to understand this budget inside and out. You need to understand the dollars that each of these offices manages and what they collect and work together for you.