Franklin County no longer will have a woman or a Democrat on its three-person commission as Republican Mike Schatz of Sullivan was voted in to replace Ann Schroeder to represent the second district.
Schatz defeated Democrat Teresa Connelly of Union by garnering 61.3 percent of the vote during Tuesday’s general election. He received 12,668 of the 20,672 votes cast according to updated totals. Connelly got 38.6 percent of the tally, or 7,981 votes. There were 23 write-ins.
The second district includes St. Clair, Union and Sullivan and basically covers the southern half of the county.
Schroeder opted not to seek another term as a county commissioner and instead ran for a seat in the Missouri House of Representatives in the 109th District. She was defeated by Republican Paul Curtman.
“I will strive to work well with others in a manner to get things accomplished,” said Schatz, who said he spent Tuesday evening at his home with his wife and some friends monitoring the election results. “Franklin County has good people in different offices and departments many of whom I have worked with in some capacity already. We may not always agree on an issue but we all need to focus on what’s best for Franklin County.”
Schatz is a lieutenant with the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. He has served in county law enforcement for 31 years.
“I’ve learned a lot from my time with the sheriff’s office, especially about how to treat people,” he told The Missourian. “When you have the chance to work for 30-plus years with people like Sheriff (Gary) Toelke and Maj. (Mike) Copeland, you have great role models. I will continue to serve the residents with fairness and respect.”
In preparing himself to potentially become a Franklin County commissioner, Schatz said he got involved in the process well before Tuesday’s election.
“My focus will be on acclimating myself to the position and the policies and procedures associated with it,” he said of his new responsibilities. “Myself and Commissioner-Elect (Tim) Brinker have been attending budget meetings all this week to try and expedite the process.”
Brinker ran unopposed on Tuesday after defeating incumbent Terry Wilson and two others in winning the Republican primary in August and will join Schatz and Presiding Commissioner John Griesheimer on the governing board.
In the same primary in August, Schatz defeated four challengers.
“I was comfortable with the campaign, knowing that I ran on issues that I believe are important in this economy,” he said. “I felt good about the process and the race I ran.
“I was relieved that it was done and happy that I won,” he said in describing his thoughts after finding out he was victorious on Tuesday.
And as far as getting the ball rolling and focusing on what he believes are priorities in the county?
“With jobs and the economy a lot depends on what takes place on the state and national level,” Schatz said. “On the county level I intend on working closely with cities in Franklin County to see what we can do in collaboration to attract businesses here. The debt has been refinanced. It needs to be monitored, and the commission needs to look for any cost-saving alternative ways to address it.”
Schatz’s final comments addressed those who helped and supported him.
“I would like to thank once again those who worked with me and supported me in this campaign. I would also like to thank my wife, Christina, who worked with me throughout the entire campaign,” he said. “I am looking forward to January 2013.”