Ken Evans to file as Republican candidate for county commission

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cape Girardeau County needs to be prepared for a potential period of fast growth as developers speed up construction and county road improvements make rural areas more attractive, county commission candidate Ken Evans said Saturday.

Evans, in a news release announcing his plans to file Tuesday for the District 1 commission seat, said he will campaign for the office on a platform offering a program to make sure the infrastructure is in place to handle growth while protecting the rights of county residents.

Evans will be one of 10 Republicans vying for the nomination to replace Commissioner Larry Bock, a Republican who announced in October that he would not seek another term. The primary will be held in August. The District 1 commission seat includes most of Cape Girardeau County outside the city limits of Cape Girardeau.

In an interview Saturday, Evans said he views Cape Girardeau's recent work on a comprehensive plan as a model for the county. If elected, he said he would work to establish an advisory board on county growth.

"We have a wealth of talent and experience here and it has to come together and study these things," he said.

Evans is vice chairman of the county Road and Bridge Advisory Board, established after passage of a half-cent sales tax for county road improvements and law enforcement upgrades. The board has reviewed county road improvement rules, investigated the procedures for tracking roads ready for work and designated lists of roads for paving.

The District 1 commissioner is responsible for oversight of the County Highway Department, which Evans said consumes about 25 percent of the county's $12 million annual budget. The department needs to improve its tracking of road easements, which landowners must sign to make their road eligible for improvement. Other improvements in the county road program would bring input from highway department employees as well as school districts and residents to identify safety issues, such as places where water regularly runs over roads and where blind corners need work, he said.

"As I talk and listen to the citizens of Cape Girardeau County, I continually hear their desire for more timely and accurate information, a greater opportunity for input and easier access to the process," Evans said in his release.

Preparing for growth also means fostering close cooperation between Cape Girardeau, Jackson, Southeast Missouri State University and county government on the lines of the negotiations that resulted in the construction of a new highway interchange on Interstate 55 at East Main Street, Evans said.

Evans, 57, spent 29 years with Procter & Gamble, finishing his career as a human resources developer. He owns rental and investment property and farms 400 acres.

Evans is the third member of the 11-member road advisory board to enter the race for commissioner. Fellow board members Bill Hahs, owner of SEMO Ag & Dairy in Fruitland, and Weldon Macke, a former county auditor who spent 34 years in office, were among the first to announce their plans after Bock stepped aside.

Other Republicans in the contest include Jackson Alderman Joe Bob Baker, owner of an auto salvage yard; Rick Aufdenberg, a Tilsit farmer; Stephen Daume, a Daisy cattle breeder; Paul Koeper, vice president of Penzel Construction Co.; Rick Schultz, a Jackson businessman; Thomas Allen, former superintendent of the Delta School District; and Jeff Hahs, an Oak Ridge contractor.

Pat Wissman, owner-operator of Wissman Transportation, is the sole Democrat who has announced plans to file for the post.

Other county offices on the ballot this year include District 2 commissioner, county treasurer, county coroner, public administrator, assessor and sheriff.

Incumbent District 2 Commissioner Jay Purcell, a Republican, said he is planning to seek re-election, as have Treasurer Roger Hudson, a Republican; Sheriff John Jordan, a Republican; Coroner John Clifton, a Republican; Assessor Jerry Reynolds, a Democrat; and Public Administrator Phyllis Schwab, a Republican.

rkeller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 126

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