J.C. Herrell is running for the position of Newton County presiding commissioner on the Democrat ticket in the Aug. 5 primary elections next week, and if ultimately elected to the position in November, Herrell promised he will not be influenced by any political party.

“I felt like the county needs a change,” Herrell said. “For the last six to eight years, Newton County could have become a Class 1 county, however previous commissioners have fought that and, as the old saying goes, ‘time is money.’ Well this time, time has cost us money. If Newton County would have become a Class 1 county six to eight years ago we would have been way ahead of the game, and we’d have better roads, not roads that are repaired but roads that are fixed.”

He said it’s easy to repair a road, but much harder to fix them, and he feels the time has come for change in Newton County.

“Change” is the theme of Herrell’s campaign.

“Change where party politics aren’t involved,” He said. “I am running on the Democrat ticket, however I wanted to run on the Independent ticket but they do not have such a ticket in Newton County, Mo. And I want to represent all the people and not just a few.”

Seeking a position that oversees all county operations, Herrell said he served as a platoon leader during his time serving the U.S. Army, so when he was a young man it was his responsibility to ensure that others got their work done and did so in an orderly fashion. He said he later owned his own business, and managed businesses for others, which included budgeting and other supervisory activities.

“I come from the old school – the school of knocks – you make mistakes, you learn from them, and never make them again,” he said.

Concerning the commissioners overseeing the other county offices, Herrell said that all the officials that are elected by the people should take care of their own office.

“I don’t think it’s a commissioner’s job to try to run the offices of those elected officials,” he said. “A commissioner should take care of the budget. We need to control the budget, but sometimes it does cost money, you have to spend money to get things done and before I spend money I want to know what I am going to do with it first before I spend it.”

Herrell said his greatest issue of importance is to get the people in Newton County to all be one.

“That’s my main goal,” he noted. “For years, I do not feel that local politics should be party politics – should not be a Republican, should not be a Democrat, we’re all living in Newton County, we’re all Newton Countians, local politics should be just for everybody.

“It’s fine to have a party. I do not belong to a party. I don’t think I should belong to a party. I think I could become a member of a party, but I don’t think a party should say I belong to them. And my goal is to get the people of Newton County to work together as one – not as two parties, three parties or how many parties eventually show up.”

Herrell continued that he is trying to get the Republican party and the Democrat party to vote for Newton County.

“By electing me as their presiding commissioner. I’m not going to have a party telling me, ‘We need to do this.’ If I belong to a party, which I don’t, I don’t want them telling me how to run everybody’s business here in Newton County. I want the people to tell me how to run the county. Not a party!”

Herrell solicited your vote, “Because it’s time for the change. I may have been way ahead of my time a few years back wanting a Class 1 county, but when you become a Class 1 county, sure it costs more money, but you have to realize you’re going to get money from the state. You’re going to get turn-back money from the federal government to help do this.”

He said moving to Class 1 county is going to happen.

“With the new hospital coming in – you cannot count a hospital or a school as your county assessment – but when the doctors’ offices, when the motels, when the stores, everything comes south next to that hospital, it’s going to happen. There’s no way of stopping it! We just need to get started on it, and don’t wait.

“We don’t need to buy a building for $435,000 that you don’t know what you’re going to do with. That’s not how you spend money. You spend money by knowing exactly what you are going to do with it before you spend it! And that’s my goal, is to get everybody in Newton County together.”

Herrell faces Jenna Lea Booth in the primary election next Tuesday for the Democrat party nomination as the candidate in the November general elections. The winner will face the incumbent Newton County presiding commissioner, Marilyn Ruestman, who faces no opposition in the Republican primary next week.