Thursday, May 01, 2014

Over 100 Residents Attend Debate Between Candidates Vying to be Next Greene County Presiding Commissioner

Contact: David Burton, civic communication specialist
County Program Director - Greene County
Tel: (417) 881-8909

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The Greene County Extension Council hosted a debate between candidates vying to be the next Presiding Commissioner in Greene County on April 29 at the Executive Conference Center 910 W Battlefield Rd, Springfield.

Over 100 Greene County residents attended along with area media outlets and four out of the five candidates: Bob Cirtin (Republican), Steve Helms (Republican), Jerry Fenstermaker (Republican) and Benjamin Brixey (Libertarian).


The debate was moderated by Matt Simpson, a member of the Greene County Extension Council. He developed 10 basic questions and touched on many of the hot-button issues.

Taxes was the topic addressed in many of the questions during the evening and when it was not, candidates brought up the subject themselves.

The burden that is placed on county finances by the jail population was also the subject of conversation. Candidates had a variety of ideas on how to fix this problem. Brixey recommended the county stop "the war on drugs." Cirtin said he supported pending legislation to raise state funding levels for reimbursements to county governments for housing criminals on state charges. Fenstermaker emphasized his desire to get county's finances corrected to allow for the future expansion of jail facilities. Helms suggested switching to a minimum security prison and moving cases through the system faster.

On the topic of county funding for Greene County Extension, three of the four candidates in attendance expressed support for the local Extension office but only one held out much hope for additional help from the county. Each candidate’s complete answer to this question can be found online at

Members of the audience also submitted questions on notecards and 12 of those submitted questions were asked of candidates later in the evening.


“County Commissioners vote on the primary source of our office funding as a county program. Since we are now being funded at the minimum level set in 1961, the reason for the extension council’s interest in this election is pretty obvious,” said David Burton, county program director for Greene County Extension.

Every county in Missouri has a publicly elected extension council. County extension councils (mandated by state statutes) are the governing body for local opportunities provided by University of Missouri Extension. Council members work with extension faculty in making decisions concerning programs, personnel, council elections and the local extension budget.

Since 1914, Greene County residents have sought unbiased educational help from Extension in areas related to agriculture, gardening, 4-H youth, nutrition, families, human development, business and community development.  Specialists with MU Extension offer educational programs that make lifelong learning fun and help people help themselves.

More information is available at or by calling the MU Extension office in Greene County at (417) 881-8909.


Post a Comment

Let us know how you have been helped by this article or what you have learned from this story.

<< Home