(Note: Earlier this week, noting that Rep. Marilyn Ruestman, R-Joplin, has transferred more than $90,000 from her state representative campaign account into her run for Newton County presiding commisisoner, I offered space on The Turner Report to her opponents in the August primary. One of those opponents, Buzz Ball, has taken me up on the offer.)
I’m Buzz Ball and I’m seeking the Republican nomination for Newton County Presiding Commissioner.
Longtime Newton County resident moving to Neosho when I was 4 years old from Carthage. I was raised here and attended and graduated from Neosho Public Schools and from Crowder College. I then graduated from Harding University in Searcy, Ark., in 1978. After working for newspapers in Marshall, Mo., Newton, Kan., Pratt, Kan., Keokuk, Iowa., and Fulton, Mo., we moved back to Neosho in 1999 to become the general manager and editor of the Neosho Daily News. I stayed there until 2007 when I was promoted to the Carthage Press and worked there until 2009.
My wife, Lanette, and I have been married almost 32 years. We have two children – Jeremy and Emily – and both graduated from Neosho High School. Jeremy and his wife, Amber, have twin sons.
I am a member of the Rocketdyne Road Church of Christ and was quite active in the community when I worked at the Daily News.
I am seeking the office of Presiding Commissioner because I feel that I can best serve the people of Newton County at this time. I have always wanted to get involved in politics, but with my position at various newspapers, I could never seek public office.
I have covered literally hundreds of county commission meetings throughout my 31 years in the newspaper industry. I have seen both good and bad county commissions. I believe you can learn just as much from the bad examples as you can from the good examples. That knowledge will serve me well when elected.
I know Newton County, but most importantly I know the people of Newton County. I believe that the citizens want good common sense in a presiding commissioner leaving politics on the doorstep. We need someone in office who will listen to the people and act accordingly. I realize that every decision cannot please everyone. However, listening and comprehending are the keys.
I advocate an open government, one that is accessible to everyone. Everyone has a right to be heard and to voice opinions. When elected, that will continue.
Newton County is very fortunate that the governor signed a bill increasing the assessed valuation threshold, keeping Newton County as a Second Class County. The cost at this time would be astronomical and we simply could not afford the unfunded mandates. In addition, we do not need to be giving elected officials automatic salary increases when so many of our citizens are in dire economic situations.
This next year will be very difficult budget-wise. From what I have heard from various state legislators, 2011 will be a more difficult budget year than this this year.
My No. 1 priority will be to keep the budget balanced and solvent. Everything basically is based on the budget. Yes, I have several “wants and wishes,” such as improved roads and bridges, a high quality Web site, etc. But until I see what the budget numbers look like and see what we can and cannot afford, I am very hesitant to state what we need and want beyond what is provided for in the budget.
My No. 1 goal is to continue to provide high quality services by wisely spending our tax money.
I am not a professional politician. Far from it. I’m just an ordinary Newton County citizen interested and willing to serve the people of this great county. I don’t believe that we need big time politics involved in Newton County government. Yes, I believe that contacts in Jefferson City are important. But that is why we have state representatives and senators representing us in Jefferson City.
My campaign is simple: Meet as many people as possible and get from them first-hand what they want, need and desire in an effective county government. While I will not be able to meet every Newton County resident by Aug. 3, I plan to be as assessable as possible to hear the citizens’ wants and needs.
It is my firm belief that I am the most qualified and willing person on the ballot. My promise when elected will be to be as open as possible and honest. I want the very best for Newton County.