Three Republicans are vying to fill a seat held for the past 20 years by one of the few Democrats in county office.
Jesse Marts, Debbie Willming Aholt and Greg Toelke will all be on the Aug. 7 ballot.
One of them will be the next Franklin County treasruer, replacing current Treasurer Alvin “Squeaky” Marquart, who did not seek re-election this year. Marquart has served five terms in the position.
The winner of the primary will not face an opponent in the November general election.
A newcomer to the political scene, Washington resident Jesse Marts believes he is well qualified to be treasurer.
“I think my diverse background and education make a good fit for the position,” he said. “I have been a supervisor and manager at a couple of different places.”
Marts graduated from Washington High School and Four Rivers Career Center. He became a store manager of Mohr Valu after a short time of being employed there. It was his experience as a manager at McDonald’s restaurant that he claims built the skills he needs to hold public office.
“I learned a lot working at McDonald’s,” he said. “I took management courses and several operations courses.”
Marts says it was one particular course that helped him develop leadership abilities.
“Hamburger University was a big help,” he said. “It teaches you a little more about not only how to cook a hamburger but how to work with employees and how to get them to work with you.”
He is currently enrolled at East Central College, seeking a degree in business management and technology, and is employed as a maintenance worker at Walmart.
If elected, Marts says he would make public communication a top priority.
“Meeting with the public is something I have done very well throughout my career and would continue if I am elected,” he said.
Marts attends Immanuel Lutheran Church where he serves on the finance committee and the usher committee. He also coaches little league baseball.
“I pledge to give the people of Franklin County 100 percent,” he said.
Debbie Willming Aholt
Debbie Willming Aholt feels she is in tune with the needs of the county.
Aholt currently serves as the county’s deputy treasurer under Marquart.
“I have been deputy treasurer for four years,” she said. “It’s a job that I enjoy going to every day. I respect the fact that I am working with taxpayer money.”
Aholt, 47, studied accounting at East Central College after graduating from Washington High School. She worked at Bank of Washington for over 10 years and has held various other jobs in the area before accepting the position of deputy treasurer in 2008.
If elected, one of her goals would be to modernize the treasurer’s office.
“I am committed to investing money in a conscientious manner. All investments would only go to institutions that are fully federally insured,” she said. “I balance to the penny every month.”
She believes her knowledge of the area will be a strength if elected.
“I have lived here all my life. I attend commission meetings; I have a good working relationship with other county leaders,” she said.
Aholt is a member of the Washington Republican Federated Women and a Girl Scout leader. She attends St. Francis Borgia Parish.
“Although I am seeking public office, I do not consider myself a politician,” she said. “I am an average citizen who believes in integrity and putting in an honest day’s work for the betterment of my community.”
Greg Toelke said his 15 years of experience in the finance industry makes him a qualified candidate for county treasurer.
Toelke attended Union High School and from there attended East Central College and graduated with an associate degree in business management.
He says he got into finance in 1997.
“I was sent to banking school in Memphis at Christian Brothers University,” he said. “I also attended commercial lending school in Columbia in 2009.”
Toelke has served as a loan officer at the Bank of Franklin County for nine years. He is head of the mortgage department.
He says his mother was an influence on his decision to run for public office.
“About 10 years ago my mother told me that with my background in finance and the education I have that I should think about running for county treasurer,” he said. “At first I just laughed at her but now the opportunity has presented itself with the current treasurer retiring.
“My family has been here all their lives and we are ingrained in the community,” he said. “My brother (Sheriff Gary Toelke) has done good things on the law enforcement side and I want to give back on the financial side. I feel like I can be a good custodian of the taxpayers’ money.”
Toelke is a member of the Union Lions Club and serves on the Franklin County revolving loan fund committee. He attends Zion United Church of Christ in Union.
“I am going to give 110 percent every day,” he said, “If elected I am going to be in it to serve the citizens of Franklin County as best I can.”