Ah, Clay County politics, it is always so entertaining. Thankfully we have an exceptional newspaper like the Liberty Tribune to keep you informed, err….wait…. Anyway, I have some information on the Republican Clay County Assessor’s race.
A Meandering’s tipster tells me that Phil Wilson may be friends with Vic Hurlbert and Pam Mason. As usual Pam and Vic need to have some pawn in the game, so this is probably the case and the reason he is in the race. (Word is Vic thinks he is a Clay County political kingmaker.) Supposedly, Wilson once tried to be appointed to county office as a Democrat. He also has some ties to current Assessor and sexual harassment lawsuit extraordinaire Cathy Rinehart.
Don Jobe is actually Cathy Rinehart’s ex-husband. There is an odd history here, supposedly Rinehart in the recent past hired him as her Chief Appraiser so that he could keep contribute to their son’s college education. At some point the son either left college or graduated, the dad stopped paying child support, and then Ms. Rinehart fired him. In an attempt to prevent a lawsuit he was given a job with the county in the facilities management department. Now as bad as this all sounds, I have been told that Mr. Jobe is a good candidate and is a competent appraiser. My point here is more directed at Ms. Rinehart, not Mr. Jobe. Ms. Rinehart sure is an attorney’s dream!
Finally, the third candidate is Jesse Leimkuehler. I spoke with Mr. Leimkuehler a couple of weeks ago. I was very much impressed with him, and relieved that he appears to be sane and in the race for the right reasons. Here is an email that he sent to me.
My name is Jesse Leimkuehler. I’m 37 years old and I’m a lifetime resident of the KC metro area. As you correctly cited, I have filed as a candidate for Clay County Assessor on the Republican side of the ticket. I would note that I have been a regular follower of your blog and noticed some ‘issues’ with our county office holders. I see the same names and same issues coming up time and time again in our local media reports and always thought to myself, “There has to be some better options than that.”
I carry two bachelor degrees in Business Administration and Accounting from William Jewell College along with a Masters Degree in Accounting Information Systems. I worked for Sprint and the US Dept. of Agriculture for 12 years in various IT roles. Over the past two years, I have turned my attention locally. I quit my job as a IT professional to turn my attention to assisting my family in what I believe is the most important project that is and will be undertaken in Liberty over the next 10 years. We have transformed what most Clay County residents know as ‘The Odd Fellows Home’ into Belvoir Winery, a winery and event location that our Liberty and Clay County residents can be proud of as a regional treasure. We have seen local and regional visitors flock to our site with a sense of pride about their city/county.
We have created two full time positions and several seasonal/part-time positions to boost the local economy when most business are cutting employees and reducing payroll. I have worked with local and county leaders extensively to not only boost our own business, but also boost local and regional business through networking and references. We have increased the demand for local industries such as caterers, florist, photographers, and wedding planners along with some secondary retail effects. We allow not-for-profit groups to use our facilities at no charge on weekdays, allowing them to hold their event at a local facility and maximize their fundraising dollars to boost the local community. I believe it’s the responsibility of all citizens and businesses to find ways to help others within their community in some way.
I now turn my attention to what I believe is a severely neglected asset in our community: our county government. There are far too many candidates/incumbents that do not serve the best interests of our county. They collect the full-time paychecks from the taxpayers while only working part-time hours. They neglect their leadership responsibilities within their office, which has cost the taxpayers literally millions of dollars in certain cases. They ride the coat tails of name recognition rather than proving their worth as an officer of the general public.
I’m part of a growing movement within the county to enact real improvement within our local government. I’m not promising the world, but I am promising that I will provide stable leadership within our county office that our residents can be proud to see. People ask me why I’d want to involve myself in the cesspool of local politics. To that, I respond that I’m not involving myself in the cesspool at all. Rather, I’m looking to clean up that cesspool and bring our local government back to the high level that should be expected. This isn’t a Republican or Democrat issue. This is about putting someone in the office who can effectively provide leadership in a situation that currently lacks that leadership.