2 announce candidacy for county positions
Plans still up in the air for trio of current officeholders
Filings for the Barry County primaries open on Feb. 27, and with just more than a month to go, two local residents have announced their candidacy for county positions.
John Hendricks, local businessman, has announced he intends to file for the presiding commissioner post, and Jill LeCompte, assistant superintendent at Cassville schools, has announced her retirement from the district and plans to run for county clerk.
Presiding Commissioner Cherry Warren and County Clerk Gary Youngblood are still undecided on their futures, and Collector Janice Varner said she is not running for her current post again, but may pursue another county position yet to be named.
Hendricks said he has talked to some people about his candidacy and has received a good response.
“My main interest in running for commissioner is my years of business experience,” he said. “I am not a politician, but I feel like I can help the communities in a lot of ways. I’ve been a local businessman in the county for almost 40 years.”
Hendricks, the former owner of the Luck “E” Strike fishing lure company and a prolific contractor, sold the Jerseys restaurant last year and presently works as a consultant for the Marck Enterprises recycling firm in Cassville.
LeCompte, who has spent 30 years in the education field, said her experience sets her up for success in a county clerk role.
“I heard Gary Youngblood was not running for his position, so I think it would be a great challenge for me,” she said. “I will run as a Republican, and in my position at the school, I’ve worked with a lot of federal and state departments. The protocols of the county clerk position are similar to what I do in my office. I’m also familiar with budgeting and staffing, so the skill set is comparable.”
LeCompte said she has always been interested in politics, as her family has a history of running for county posts.
“My grandfather was the sheriff and my uncle was circuit clerk, and there’s a lot of other political experience in my family,” she said. “I’m a Barry County girl who’s been here my whole life. I was student body president, a cheerleader, and I married my high school sweetheart.
“I just feel like the time is right for me to retire [from education] and try something else.”
Warren, a six-term incumbent in the presiding commissioner position, said he is still undecided on his future.
“I do not have to make a decision until the filing date, and that is my option,” he said.
Warren hung on to a 141-vote margin to edge out a win in a three-way race in the August 2014 Republican primary.
Youngblood, a six-term incumbent at the county clerk position, said he know what he plans to do.
“I have come to a decision, but I do not want to announce it yet,” he said. “I will make an announcement in the next couple weeks.”
Varner, who has served as collector since 2002, said she will not be running for her post again.
“I am undecided otherwise,” she said. “It will depend on what [Warren] decides to do.”
Varner has not had an opponent since her initial election, emerging out of a bruising three-way primary. She has not tired of campaigning and was one the first party regulars seen wearing a Trump T-shirt in the 2016 presidential season.
“That was a personal effort supporting Trump, making sure the best man for the job would win,” she said. “I will probably be out of county politics if I do not run for office, but I will stay involved in politics at the local, state or national level.”
Also up in 2018 will be the offices of county prosecutor, clerk, circuit court clerk, treasurer and collector. Except for prosecutor, won by Amy Boxx of Monett in a three-way race in 2014, none of those positions have changed since 2002.
Lois Lowe, Barry County treasurer, said she intends to file again her post, which she has held since 1995.
Craig Williams, a four-term incumbent in the circuit clerk position, said he plans to file for his fifth term.
Boxx said she intends to refile for prosecutor. She replaced now-Associate Circuit Judge Johnnie Cox in 2014, garnering 62 percent of the vote in a three-way primary.
Filings open on Feb. 27 and close on March 27. The primaries will be held on Aug. 7.