After years teaching government, Pete Frazier will become part of it by becoming Cape County auditor

Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Pete Frazier will move from academia to auditor when he begins his new position with Cape Girardeau County. He was assistant principal at Central High School. (Fred Lynch)

A Cape Girardeau Central High School student once challenged the social studies teacher to run for office if he knew so much about government.

"I stood there for a minute and I thought," Pete Frazier said.

He said he realized he should be willing to step up and find solutions if he challenged his students to do so in the classroom.

So he filed to run for the GOP nomination for state representative of the 158th District. Frazier narrowly lost the August 2004 primary.

Frazier, now an assistant principal at Central High School, did not run for office again until he recently filed for county auditor. After 13 years in education, eight teaching subjects like government and five as an administrator, Frazier will make the transition to county government.

He said he will now get to see the fruits of his teachings. Frazier will replace David Ludwig, who did not seek re-election.

After the death of his Republican opponent, Robb McClary, on April 13, there are no other contenders vying for the county auditor position. McClary was assistant to the Cape Girardeau County Commission and a longtime administrator.

"I really hated to see him pass on because he too had some experience in it," said H. Weldon Macke, treasurer of Frazier's campaign committee. Macke also held the job for 34 years, from 1968 to 2002. He said it would have been a tough campaign with two viable candidates.

Frazier's committee raised nearly $8,600 and had nearly $1,500 on hand April 1, according to the most recent campaign report. Macke said campaign and fundraising efforts have slowed and Frazier is focusing on the new job. He said he advised Frazier to memorize the statute outlining the responsibilities of the job.

"You need a watchdog, and I think Pete would make a pretty good watchdog," he said.

Frazier's experience operating within the school structure, which is guided by a school board, will help him make the transition to county government, Macke said.

Frazier said he pursued the auditor job because accounting always interested him. He originally studied the subject at Southeast Missouri State University but switched to education.

"This is the ultimate intertwining of the two," he said.

Outside of teaching, Frazier spent six years as treasurer for the Cape Girardeau County Republican Central Committee. He was also a legislative representative for the district's teachers organization.

Before coming to Central in 2000, he held teaching and coaching jobs in the Twin Rivers School District near Poplar Bluff, Mo., and in the Sikeston School District for three years.

"It's going to be tough walking out of this building," he said.

He shares the title of assistant principal with two other building administrators. He said he has taken on several duties in the position, including coordinating buses, supervising teachers, monitoring groundskeeping and watching different types of budgets. In the coming months he will oversee summer school.

"Sometimes I get to be a counselor," he said. "Sometimes I get to be a parent."

As auditor, he will prepare the county's annual budget and monitor county finances. He said he does not have all the answers to the budget challenges facing all levels of government but will be fiscally conservative.

"They're going to have to be confident with me that I want what's best for the county," he said.

After running for office in 2004, he said, it was difficult to return to the classroom having shown his political colors. He said he balanced his political life with education and kept his beliefs out of the classroom.

"My goal is to teach both sides," he said.

After his first candidacy, he said, he tried to bring more officeholders into the classroom and hopes to return as a county official.

Returning to the classroom as a teacher in the future is not outside the realm of possibilities, Frazier said.

"It will always be a soft spot in my heart," he said.

abusch@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

1000 S. Silver Springs Road Cape Girardeau, MO

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