Long-time Newton County Presiding Commissioner Marilyn Ruestman was honored just before Christmas as she prepares to retire at the end of the year. She will pass the torch to Bill Reiboldt, outgoing state representative for the Missouri 160th district in Southwest Missouri. Reiboldt was elected as presiding commissioner and will take office effective January 1.

Ruestman has served as presiding commissioner since 2011.

Ruestman was honored with a presentation from Reiboldt and also received recognition from commissioners Jim Jackson and Alan Cook. A large number of her fellow Newton County employees, friends, family and the public turned out for her retirement event held at the Commissioner's Office at the courthouse.

Prior to serving as Newton County Presiding Commissioner Ruestman served as the 131st District Missouri State Representative from 2003-2010. She is and will remain co-owner of Ruestman Construction and Real Estate Development.

She also served as District Administrator for Missouri State Senator Marvin Singleton, as Field Coordinator for United States Congressman Mel Hancock.

Ruestman and husband Richard have three children, three granddaughters and one grandson.

Ruestman earned a Masters of Science degree from Pittsburg State University as well as both a Bachelor of Science and and an Associate of Arts degree from Missouri Southern State University.

Her memberships include Christ Community United Methodist Church, both Neosho and Joplin area Chambers of Commerce, the Newton County Republican Club, the Missouri Federation of Republican Women, the National Republican party, the National Rifle Association, Newton County Republican Women, Soroptimist International and the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society.

Ruestman has been honored with numerous awards including Distinguished Alumni of the McDonald County R-1 School District in 2010, Legislator of the Year in 2001 from the Missouri Bar Association, 2003 Alumni of the Year from Missouri Southern State University, and was named one of the Ten Most Influential Women in 2009 by the Joplin Tri-State Business Journal.

Some of the Ruestman's passed legislation during her time as a Missouri House representative include establishment of the Albert Brumley Memorial Highway, Defensive Use of Force (Castle Doctrine), DNA Profiling upon arrest, also known as Katie's Law, pool safety and insurance requirements, known as Ethan's Law, emergency placement of grandchildren with grandparents and many others.

Ruestman has served on a wide variety of boards. She is a present member of the Missouri Agency on Aging Board, the Newton/McDonald County Landfill Board, the Jasper County Public Housing Authority, and the Joplin Area Transportation Study Organization.

Her interests include fishing, politics and time with her family, all of which her retirement will provide more time to pursue.

Ruestman's final State of the County message also appears in today's edition.