Sheriff candidates to debate Oct. 11

Wednesday, October 5, 2016
From left, former FBI Agent Gary Davis, R-Cassville, Barry County Deputy Justin "Dave" Ruark, D-Cassville, Cassville Democrat Publisher Jacob Brower and Barry County attorney James Randall Jr. discuss the upcoming Barry County sheriff debate, to be held on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Cassville Event Center. The debate is free and open to the public. Kyle Troutman/

Both candidates for Barry County Sheriff have agreed to a debate at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 11, at the Cassville School District's event center.

Nominees are former FBI agent Gary Davis, R-Cassville, and Barry County Deputy Justin "Dave" Ruark, D-Cassville. The debate, sponsored by the Cassville Democrat, will be moderated by Barry County attorney James Randall Jr.

"I'm happy that the candidates have agreed to this debate, and look forward to hearing what they have to say," said Jacob Brower, publisher of the Cassville Democrat. "We are always looking for ways to keep the public informed, and we believe this will be another tool in helping Barry County voters choose their next sheriff."

Brower said the newspaper reached an agreement with both candidates Wednesday afternoon. Brower and Randall will meet with the nominees Monday to work out details of the debate, which is expected to last 90 minutes, he said.

Davis said he is looking forward to the debate, and hopes to highlight his experience in law enforcement.

"I hope to contrast my experience and education with that of my opponent, and also put forth my vision for the future of the Barry County Sheriff's Department," he said.

Barry county sheriff nominees Gary Davis, R-Cassville, left, and Justin "Dave" Ruark, D-Cassville

Ruark said he is also looking forward to the debate as an opportunity to thoroughly articulate his positions.

"My goal is to explain myself and let people know why I'm the better choice," he said. "Nothing against my opponent, but the way things are going, I think a younger sheriff would be better for tackling the drug problem and other things that need to be addressed in our county."

The event center is located at the Cassville School District's 1501 Main Street campus. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 8.

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