Four vie for Perry County presiding commissioner

Wednesday, August 2, 2006

PERRYVILLE, Mo. -- Voters in Perry County will choose a new presiding commissioner Tuesday from among four candidates, two of whom are up and comers and two with a political background.

The post is being vacated by Thomas Sutterer, who is retiring at the end of his term.

Vying for the top county spot are Republicans Harley Geile, Carl "Topper" Leuckel, Kim Moore and First District Commissioner Patrick Naeger.

Because no Democrats or independent party candidates filed for the positions, the winners of Tuesday's primary election will win the seats.

"I think it's going to be a tight race," said Moore, a local attorney and former Perryville mayor.

Tuesday's election features a rematch of sorts between Leuckel and Naeger, both of whom ran for the First District commissioner seat in 2004, which Naeger won.

According to Naeger, a former Missouri state representative, he ran for associate commissioner to gain experience for the presiding commissioner post he wanted.

If elected, he said, "On day one, I hit the ground running."

Leuckel, a retired delivery driver for UPS, stressed he would provide voters with a "common sense personality."

"They don't want a lawyer or a politician, that's for sure," Leuckel said, adding he would devote himself to the job full-time. If elected, Leuckel said he would survey residents of Perry County to learn which issues they want to see addressed.

In light of a March 11 twister that killed two and injured 10 at St. Mary, Mo., a primary issue Naeger wants to see addressed is the implementation of a county-wide tornado warning system The system would sound a siren everyone in the county could hear, Naeger said.

Moore said he would pursue a three-pronged plan if elected: promote tourism, put together a citizen advisory committee to help expand parks, and make Perry County a bigger player in economic development.

"My only goal is to make Perry County a better place to live and raise kids," he said.

Geile, who works as a heavy equipment operator, has been running a word-of-mouth campaign. He said he would do what he could to help children, adding that half his salary as presiding commissioner would be donated to Danny Thomas' St. Jude Childrens Research Hospital in St. Louis.

"I'm just an easy-going guy until someone starts walking over someone," Geile said. "Then I get riled up."

Geile was the only candidate who did not form an election committee. Moore has spent the most in his campaign, a total of $10,498.26. Naeger was closest to matching Moore's expenditures at $4,838.54, all of which was spent in the last half month of July. Leuckel spent $2,919.31 in his campaign.

In Perry County's only other contested race Tuesday, incumbent Susan M. Oster faces challenger Jackie Wengert for recorder of deeds .

Oster is up for her first reelection in the position since taking it in 2002 after 13 years as deputy recorder. Wengert, a part-time real estate agent with 18 years of banking experience, has served for Perry County before as the executive director of the chamber of commerce.

335-6611, extension 127

Harley J. Geile (no photo available)

Age: Preferred not to say

Position sought: Presiding commissioner

Residence: Perryville

Personal: Unmarried with no children

Employment: Heavy equipment operator; worked in refiners, on roads and bridges

Political experience: None

Carl "Topper" Leuckel

Age: 54

Position sought: Presiding commissioner

Residence: Rural Perry County

Personal: Unmarried with two adult children

Employment: Retired from UPS

Political experience: None

Kim R. Moore

Age: 54

Position sought: Presiding commissioner

Residence: Perryville

Personal: Wife, June, and three adult children

Employment: Lawyer

Political experience: Former Perryville mayor and served on the school board for six years

Patrick A. Naeger

Age: 41

Position sought: Presiding commissioner

Residence: Perryville

Personal: Wife, Karen, and two adult children.

Employment: Vice President of the pharmaceutical and healthcare equipment supply company Healthcare Mobility Inc.

Political experience: Current First District Commissioner, served in Missouri House of Representatives from 1994 to 2002, former Perry County coroner

Sue Oster

Age: 55

Position sought: Recorder of deeds

Residence: Rural Perry County

Personal: Husband, Roger

Employment: Incumbent Recorder of Deeds

Political experience: Recorder for one term, worked as a deputy recorder for 13 years

Jackie Wengert (no photo available)

Age: 46

Position sought: Recorder of deeds

Residence: Rural Perry County

Personal: Husband, Steve, and three adult children

Employment: Part-time real estate agent

Political experience: Five a half years as executive director for Perry County Chamber of Commerce

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