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story.lead_photo.caption Democrat photo/Austin HornbostelA healthy crowd, adhering to social distancing between tables, was present for the Moniteau County Republican Club’s annual picnic last week. Attendees heard from a variety of candidates running in contested races in the upcoming Aug. 4 election.

Moniteau County's Republican Club heard from most of its local candidates running in contested elections on the Aug. 4 primary ticket at last week's annual picnic.

Along with candidates running in the August primary, attendees heard from speakers like outgoing District 58 representative David Wood and current District 50 representative Sara Walsh. Each candidate had the opportunity to explain their background and ideals to the voters in attendance.

Both Republicans running for the District 58 state representative seat, Willard Haley and Timothy Faber, were in attendance.

Faber, a pastor, explained his focus on how government affects families.

"If I'm honored to be elected by you all, I want to work in the state legislature to improve (things) for families, to strengthen homes," Faber said.

Faber expressed he believes single-parent homes are disproportionately rewarded in comparison to homes where parents have remained married, whether such aid is mandated through the state's tax codes or otherwise. He said this is one issue he plans to keep in mind if elected.

"If we have better families, we'll have better communities. And if we have better communities, we're going to have a better state, and a better nation," Faber said.

Haley, a former educator, outlined his main commitments, if he is elected: He is pro-life, pro-military and pro-Second Amendment.

"I'm very close to education and agriculture, and having experience on the Eldon Chamber of Commerce, including a year as president, I am a big promoter of small business and economic development as well," Haley said.

Haley said one of the things he looks forward to the most, if he is elected, is being in touch with and representing the voices of District 58 constituents in Jefferson City.

Two of the three candidates for the Circuit 26 Division 3 judge race, Jeff Green and Richelle Grosvenor, were also in attendance last week. Fellow candidate Aaron Koeppen was not in attendance, but a representative spoke on his behalf.

Green detailed his background, from growing up in Tipton to his 24 years of experience as an attorney.

"I wanted to tell you a little bit about myself, because I think it's important you know who the person is that you're getting as a judge, presuming you're going to elect me," Green said.

A representative for Koeppen read a prepared statement on his behalf, regarding his experience as associate circuit judge in Camden County presiding over more than 30,000 cases.

"I took an oath as a judge to uphold the US and state Constitutions, and the laws of the United States and the state of Missouri," Koeppen said in the statement. "At the foundation of my judicial philosophy is to always keep my oath."

Grosvenor explained how she found her interest in criminal law, her main focus throughout her career as an elected prosecutor, defense attorney and municipal attorney, among other roles.

"I am passionate about all sides of our criminal law," Grosvenor said.

Grosvenor also stressed she has made it a point to not accept donations throughout her campaign.

The remaining speakers on the night were running in local races. County Assessor candidate Marcy Oerly was the first to address the group. Her opponent, Bill Figgins, was not in attendance.

Oerly served the state of Missouri for nearly 30 years before being appointed to the seat earlier this year by Gov. Mike Parson.

"I believe it's especially important to have a presence in all day-to-day activities, and I've been in the office every day since being appointed assessor," Oerly said.

Figgins previously served as the interim assessor prior to Oerly's appointment, while the position was still vacant at the start of the year.

Candidates for the District I and II Associate County Commissioner seats also addressed the group. For District I, incumbent Noland Porter and challenger Clint Hoellering were in attendance.

Porter, a lifelong Moniteau County resident, explained some of the work he's done during his first term to learn and continue learning about what makes the county tick.

"With your all's support, if I get elected, we can move on down the road," Porter said of the county's future work to improve roads and bridges.

Hoellering, a fellow lifelong Moniteau County resident, has worked a variety of jobs giving him hands-on experience working with roads.

"I think, as far as this job goes, one of the biggest things I'd like to do is presence," Hoellering said. "Showing up, being committed, accountability, and I wouldn't take it for granted."

For District II, all three candidates — incumbent Greg Robinson and challengers Rick Messerli and Wes Kirchner — were in attendance.

Messerli, who has resided in Moniteau County for 50 years, said he wanted to explain to those present why he wanted the job of associate county commissioner.

"The reason I want this job is because I've been in the trenches all my life," Messerli said. "I've worked on construction all my life, farmed, lived in the country all my life, and decided that to make a difference, I had to put my name in the hat."

Robinson talked about his life growing up and the many experiences he had that he believes helps him to be successful in his current role, for which he is seeking re-election.

"I'd appreciate your vote," Robinson said after detailing the work he has been doing since he was first elected.

Kirchner said if elected, he would plan to focus on road improvements.

"I've built bridges for 15 years all over the state, and I believe my background will get us through getting them fixed," Kirchner said.

Cher Caudel and Tony Wheatley, who will appear on the ballot unopposed for the positions of public administrator and sheriff, respectively, were also in attendance and spoke briefly at the event.

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