The race for Second District commissioner of Franklin County features incumbent Jeff Maune, D-Union, and state Rep. Dave Hinson, R-St. Clair, who is vacating his House seat.
Maune, a longtime employee of the assessor’s office, was appointed to the seat by Gov. Jay Nixon in August 2015 after the unexpected death of Mike Schatz.
Hinson, a small-businessman, has served three terms in the state House, having first been elected in 2010.
The Missourian posed the same set of questions to both candidates to get their thoughts on the state of Franklin County and why they want to be a commissioner.
Why are you running for this office?
Maune, who has served as commissioner for more than a year, hopes to use what he has learned thus far to move forward.
“I want to work for the taxpayers, bringing balance and firsthand experience to the commission,” Maune said. “As a former county employee for 13 years, and a businessman working with the county offices for 19-plus years, I can see both sides and represent the county’s and the taxpayers’ interests.”
After six years in Jefferson City, Hinson plans to use his knowledge on a more local level.
“I’m running for office because I enjoy serving my communities,” Hinson said. “I want to make our county a better place to work, play and raise your family.”
What problems do you think need to be addressed in Franklin County?
Both candidates bring up the issue of the county debt in regard to this question. Hinson said he also hopes to address the transportation infrastructure and security throughout the Second District and countywide.
“We have bridges that need replaced and roads that need upgrading,” Hinson said. “We also need to be able to provide more law enforcement to the rural areas of the county.”
Maune stressed the county’s projected financial plan as a road map to future financial security and prosperity.
“The county’s 10-year economic forecast has us paying our bills and maintaining our roads and equipment needed for each office, and planning for future improvements,” Maune said. “The county debt is an issue. The interest rate will more than double to 3.5 percent, which is still a good rate, but we are restricted in when we can pay these down, or off, by the original loan terms.”
What do you plan to change/keep if elected?
If re-elected, Maune says he plans to work toward the future stability for county residents by building on foundations already laid.
“I plan to keep updating and improving the safety of our employees and taxpayers,” he said. “By cooperating with the cities on economic development, bringing new jobs to the county, and making use of the trained workforce provided by East Central College and others.”
Hinson says he will keep a tight watch on the county purse strings and avoid frivolous spending.
“I think we have to look into if we are spending taxpayer dollars on issues that truly need to be provided by the county,” Hinson said. “Or are we overregulating our citizens and duplicating services.”
What, in your opinion, is the most important issue facing Franklin County?
In keeping with his tone of fiscal conservatism, Hinson believes finances should be on the forefront of concerns for any county leader.
“We must keep controlling costs that continue to go up and moving resources to the areas needed,” he said.
On this subject, Maune agrees with his opponent, and credits the county employees for their good stewardship.
“The budget impacts every department in the county, each department must be functional at all times,” Maune said. “We have come to expect first-class service from our county departments and our well-trained, dedicated employees provide that service.”
Finally, The Missourian asked each candidate why residents should vote for them.
“My family has been in Franklin County for generations,” Maune said. “My formative years were spent working on the family and neighboring farms, and enlisting in the U.S. Navy. After being honorably discharged, I attended ECC and my professional life has been very diverse. That diversity includes three years as a life and health insurance underwriter, 13 years as commercial appraiser/chief deputy assessor of Franklin County, and 19 years as a real estate entrepreneur, and now over a year as Second District commissioner.”
Hinson says he has dedicated his life to serving others and that commitment to his neighbors is his driving force.
“I have served my communities as a first responder since I was 14 and have served the people as an elected official,” Hinson said. “I’ve always taken the job as a public servant very seriously, especially with taxpayer dollars. I will bring a ‘we all have to work together for our citizens’ attitude to the county government. We have one of the largest counties geographically. We have a very rural to suburban type of county. This requires planning and the appropriate action to issues.”