Matt Cupps, R-Shell Knob: Barry County southern commissioner candidate
Political Party: Republican
Current Occupation: Cattle/Crop Farmer
Education: Crowder College Neosho, Missouri State University
1. Why do you want to be southern commissioner?
I am proud to call Southern Barry County my home and consider myself lucky and blessed to live here. I understand that every decision made as a commissioner should have the best interests of both current residents and future generations. I do not have a personal agenda and instead enjoy to listen and learn about the problems facing residents. I also feel that we should always consider the long term implications of current actions. My goal is to continue to improve the quality of life for all residents without over extending the county or causing unnecessary infrastructure that will only be a burden for future generation when repair or replacement is required.
2. What makes you more qualified for office than your opponent?
I do not have any political experience but feel I can relate to the everyday issues facing a large percentage of Barry County residents.
I sum myself up as a "farmer in a lake town". Farming in different areas of the county, I get to see first hand the diversity of Barry County and the different issues that residents face. I do not plan to take the "squeaky wheel approach". Instead I like to educate myself on the issue at hand and make my decision based on the most fair solution. I consider myself a critical thinker and enjoy analyzing issues before making a decision. Just because something is seemingly a good idea does not mean there isn't an even better approach that hasn't been thought of or discussed.
3. What is the biggest problem facing Barry County? What moves do you plan to make toward solving it in your next/first term?
While towns like Cassville and Monett continue to have some of the greatest economies for towns their size in the state, other parts of the county seem to be facing the same issues as most of the rural Midwest. Drugs and the crime associated are detrimental to both residents and businesses of affected areas. It's something that we can't turn a blind eye to. We all want our small towns and unincorporated areas to be greater than ever but need to face the reality that upstanding people and businesses do not want to worry about safety.
Barry county is blessed with growth and it is my belief it will continue to grow, but if we want to see our small towns/rural areas prosper we must attempt to take actions to decrease drug related crimes. After this is done, good businesses and residents will naturally take over and create the environment we all hope for.
4. What specific goals do you plan to accomplish in your first term?
I would like to see the commission take a proactive approach with businesses in the county. Learning what things government can do to encourage small businesses is the the key to a great economy. I don't know anyone that has ever visited an area and thought, "Wow this area seems to be prospering because the government is so nice here." It is the businesses and people associated that make an area great. This is nothing but a symbiotic relationship for county government because the more business that can stay in a county, the more revenue the county has to maintain the necessities its residents rely on.
5. Are you happy with how the commission distributes funds? If so, why? If not, what do you plan to do about it?
I am happy with the way the commission has distributed funds in the past. I also understand that the decreased revenue resulting from the economic downturn forced some hard decisions in the last ten years.
As revenue begins to increase, this is not a time to "spend money for fun" Two things I have learned first hand is: If you don't have time or money to do something right the first time, you will never have time or money to fix it. And, Something that is new and exciting now will require continuous upkeep or replacement in the future. These are things I will always consider when making decisions for the county.
6. Do you believe the county road districts need to be consolidated? If not, why not? If so, how would you facilitate the change?
I am proud of what our commission has done at the state level to bring forth legislation that would allow the consolidation of road districts if they so wish. As road maintaining equipment and processes becomes more complex the initial capitol investment also continues to rise. If road districts consolidate they can take full advantage of the increased efficiency of modern equipment. However I believe that the decisions made by road districts need to be made at the local or township level and steps need to be made to ensure every area of a consolidated district is represented locally.
7. Do you see the county jail as adequate for the long term? If so, why? If not, what do you plan to do about it?
The addition to the Jail in 2008-2009 was much needed. Hopefully we never have to say that again in the future. I think most residents can agree that jailing people continuously is a solution but it is not a good solution. Hopefully I can be part of processes that make Barry County a benchmark for measures that decrease crime instead of seeing repeat offenders continue to crowd jails.
8. What's your vision for the long-term future of county dispatching?
As a resident of Shell Knob I was an initial skeptic of the Southern Barry County 911. I was worried dispatchers would not be familiar with the area compared to local emergency officials and it would end up increasing response times and confusion instead of decreasing them.
I was eventually proven wrong and I am glad we have the current 911 system. Because I was proven wrong I am not against a merger of 911 systems to form a county wide 911 but I would only support it if it was also supported overwhelmingly by the people and we could ensure emergency response could seamlessly be enhanced in the process.