Robbins ousts incumbent for commissioner

Tuesday, November 3, 2020
Bithiah McLay, of Cassville, made her selections in the General Election Tuesday, casting her ballot at the Family Life Center in Cassville. Kyle Troutman/

Republican challenger wins with 59-41 margin

A new commissioner will be sworn in to represent the southern half of the county, as challenger and Republican Gene Robbins defeated three-term Democrat incumbent Wayne Hendrix on Tuesday.

Robbins won with 4,971 votes (59 percent), and Hendrix earned 3,386 votes (41 percent).

Robbins said he felt like people in Barry County really just wanted to see some new blood in the county commission office.

“They wanted a fresh set of eyes,” he said. “The next step for me is to ask a lot of questions. I heard people with concerns as I was campaigning, and I want to do my best to address them as quickly as I can.”

One of Robbins’ main concerns when running was the county budget.

“Right now, I think we are in good shape,” he said. “But, I think with COVID-19, there will be some major challenges and belt-tightening.

“We should be concerned about the budget and keep an eye on it.”

Robbins said the concerns on a national level when it comes to COVID-19 will ripple into Barry County.

Going forward, he said he wants to be present in the county government and offices.

“I want to give back,” he said. “As I said before, I think it is a good idea to shadow our deputies, not to judge them, but so when we are meeting with the sheriff we can know what's going on. We should be more hands-on. The same things goes for our road commissioners.”

Robbins aims to follow up on the concerns he has heard and have a good working relationship with those county agencies.

“They are the unsung heroes in my opinion,” Robbins said. “Knowledge is the most important thing.”

Robbins said he does believe without a doubt that running Republican helped in Tuesday’s General Election.

“The thing is, we need to represent everybody, not just the Republicans,” he said. “I would like to give thanks first to everyone who voted.”

Additionally, Robbins said he would like to thank Wayne Hendrix and his family for running a clean race, and for all of his years of service.

“Also, thank you to my wife, son and all of my supporters,” Robbins said.

Hendrix served for 12 years as Southern Commissioner, and he said he felt like he needed the Republican votes to keep his seat, but that just didn’t happen.

“I didn’t get them this time,” he said. “I probably won’t run again. I am getting to that age.”

Drug use was a hot topic for Hendrix in his campaign this term.

“I hope law enforcement and the county commission continue to work together on that and implement what they can to solve the drug problem in Barry County.”

The issue, according to Hendrix, has been around for a long time.

“It won’t be solved overnight, but we have made good steps in that direction,” he said. “[The biggest accomplishment over my 12 years is that] we have repaired and built several bridges and are trying to keep those bridges in good shape.”

“Additionally, the Opioid Drug Monitoring Program that has seemed to help some.”

Hendrix said he wishes Robbins the best of luck.

“I hope he gets in there, does a good job and carries on,” Hendrix said.

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