For the August Primary Election Preview, candidates were sent information forms in mid-July to fill out and return to the Lincoln County Journal. Only candidates who are seeking election in a contested race were sent the information form. All other candidates will be sent forms to fill out closer to the November election.
Candidates for Circuit Judge
Patrick Flynn – Republican
Flynn, 55, served as the associate circuit judge from 1990-2002 and was appointed as judge back in 2014.
Reasons For Seeking Election: I want to restore justice and the integrity back in the judiciary of Pike and Lincoln counties. Both of my political opponents have been removed/suspended/resigned upon violations of their constitutional oaths of office.
I will work with other elected officials so that the numerous lawsuits involving the current presiding judge are avoided; obtain state funding to expand and improve treatment courts; improve the jury selection system so that it is less burdensome on the citizens called to serve on jury duty.
Chris Kunza Mennemeyer – Republican
Mennemeyer, 46, is the current Presiding Judge of the circuit.
Political Background: I have no direct active political background other than running for Circuit Judge in 2012. However, I have always been a Republican, which to me. means a conservative who supports the United States Constitution and the rights granted therein, as well as the laws of this state.
Reason for Seeking Election: Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 2-4.2(A)(3), candidates for a judicial office are specifically prohibited from making pledges or promises of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of the office. This is my reason for seeking election.
Other Comments: Since taking the bench in 2013, I have handled over 7,000 circuit level cases. Of those cases, only 72 have been appealed to a higher court, and only 11 have been overturned. This means 11 times a higher court has directed me to take different action in whole or in part on a case. Circuit level cases are the highest level cases and include felonies such as cases involving death, drugs such as meth-amphetamines, heroin, high levels of marijuana, etc., DWI charges that are at least a third time offense, sex crimes, and other high level criminal offenses.
Circuit level cases also include all types of family law and juvenile cases, property disputes that exceed a certain dollar amount in value, medical malpractice cases, personal injury cases, and other high level civil matters. During my time in office, the Lincoln and Pike County Courts have: 1) transitioned from paper filing to electronic filing and file maintenance, and 2) made wide use of available video equipment to handle court appearances of incarcerated persons by video, rather than having those persons transported from their place of incarceration to court when possible.
What Would You Like to See If Elected: Pursuant to Supreme Court Rule 2-4.2(A)(3), candidates for a Judicial office are specifically prohibited from making pledges or promises of conduct in office other than the faithful and impartial performance of the duties of the office. This is my pledge to our citizens.
Lee Elliott – Republican
Elliott, 68, is an attorney in Troy and a Republican.
Political Background: From 2008-2011, I served as interim prosecuting attorney for Montgomery County.
Reason For Seeking Election: Lincoln and Pike counties deserve a judge with extensive jury trial experience and an understanding of subtle legal principles and regard for regular people. The 45th Judicial Circuit needs to move forward and not continue the ways of the past.
What Changes Would You Like To See: Our circuit currently has to rely on visiting judges regularly to help keep up with its caseload. I would like to see the dockets run more effectively to reduce wasted time.
Candidates for Prosecuting Attorney:
Mike Wood – Republican
Mike Wood, 35, was raised on a chicken farm just north of Atlanta and pursued his law degree at the University of Tulsa, where he received the highest award for trial practice. He has served as the felony domestic violence prosecutor and has represented the Family Support Division for the Lincoln County Prosecuting Attorney’s office. He currently represent clients in St. Louis City and the counties of St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties where he also serves as guardian ad litem.
Reasons to Seek Election: I’ve dedicated my whole life to justice and seeking it. Frankly, I’m running for prosecuting attorney because I’ve seen our prosecuting attorney’s office and I’d like to clean it up. A community who’s proud of their “boys in blue” need to know their prosecutor is leading with integrity. Our men and women who serve deserve respect and admiration for the direction and sacrifice they give to our community. As chief law enforcement officer, I know that the prosecuting attorney must set, uphold, and maintain the highest standards in ethics and transparency so law enforcement can earn and wear proudly the badge of public trust.
Goals You Would Like to Accomplish If Elected: I will push for more proactive, intelligence-based policing and will shift prosecutorial resources to focus on the most serious crimes against people, including sexual assault, child abuse, and domestic violence. Those who commit violent crimes against our neighbors must feel the full force of the law. A perfect example would be the problem of child predators. Our smallest and most vulnerable citizens deserve a prosecutor that uses every resource available to bring their attacker to justice. Too often these violent offenders are given the option to plea bargain down and serve only a fraction of time they should. I will be mercilessly aggressive in prosecuting to the fullest extent of the law and seek the harshest sentence allowable for abuse of our youngest citizens.
Another would be drug-related criminal activity and I’d push to focus on reducing recidivism. The opioid crisis has hit Missouri and Lincoln County hard. This is an issue we must confront. There must be a multi-faceted approach to the prosecution of addiction-related crimes. In addition to appropriate sentences and punitive measures, I move to make treatment a significant priority. I’ve personally prosecuted hundreds of drug-related crimes while with the St. Charles County prosecutor’s office. For the last three years, I was named a “Rising Star” by Super Lawyers magazine. I’ve received the National Trial Lawyers “Top 40 Under 40” award for two years. I have been awarded the “Lead Counsel” rating by Thomson Reuters. Join me to help me make a difference.
Leah Wommack Chaney – Republican
Chaney, 43, is the incumbent prosecuting attorney, having served for the past eight years.
Background: As a lifelong resident, first let me say I take great pride in being able to serve, over the last eight years, as your elected prosecutor. While I have never believed politics should have anything to do with the dispensation of justice, nor has it ever affected the way I view a case or a situation, I do have a keen sense of what we value together as a community and what is important when it comes to governing. I have been a lifelong conservative. I was raised as a conservative and continue to be a conservative. My grandfather, Warren Wommack, was a conservative, and he too proudly served Lincoln County residents. My conservative values, my faith, my love for family, remain at the center of who I am politically.
I believe in gun rights, law and order, along with backing law enforcement at all levels of government.
Reason For Seeking Election: I am seeking re-election because I love Lincoln County, and I care about the people that live here. When I was elected in 2010, I decided that I could be a prosecutor that did her best to use the position to make a difference in the lives of the folks that live here. I immediately started working with our school districts around the county to develop programs that help keep our kids safe. I bridged relationships with area law enforcement, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Lincoln County Sheriff’s office in an effort to have a united stance against school violence and holding sex offenders accountable. I am an experienced trial attorney and I have been able to give a voice to thousands of victims over the last eight years as your prosecutor. With my experience and work ethic, I hope to continue giving a voice to those who are counting on me and whose cases are still awaiting trial.
Other Comments: It is important to realize that serving as your prosecuting attorney requires more than just a law license. Beyond that, business management experience is necessary to manage a large staff and maintain and balance a nearly $1 million budget. No matter the challenge, the prosecutor’s office has been successful in serving county residents on a multitude of fronts, and I’m thankful for all the assistance we have had along the way. I hope Lincoln County voters understand the volume of cases that have come through my office. Under my authority, direct assistance, and review the prosecutor’s office has handled more than 20,000 cases over the last eight years to include those municipal cases that the law requires the State to prosecute.
The job of the prosecutor is to prosecute cases while seeking justice, realizing that justice looks different depending on the case, the victim, the defendant, and ultimately, the safety of our community. Prosecutors are not investigators nor are we allowed to direct or lead an investigation. We file charges and prosecute cases as they are brought to us by law enforcement.
The first Grand Jury was impaneled during my administration. Since 2011, I’ve implemented several new programs for first time offenders and those who seek rehabilitation. I have developed programs with our school districts and have gladly accepted responsibility in the joint coordination of community task forces that protect our children, most notably the Rise Above Foundation for at risk youth.
Do You Have Anything You Would Like To See Accomplished If Elected?: I have several goals for my next term. I want to continue working with our Domestic Violence Task Force to develop a Domestic Violence Court for our county. I would like to expand our alternative court to include more assistance for veterans and others facing mental health issues. I will continue pushing lawmakers in Jefferson City to sponsor bills forbidding registered sex offenders from residing in homes where children are present and I’m also hopeful to stiffen penalties that in addition to enhancing criminal charges also mandate compulsory treatment for mothers who abuse illegal drugs during their pregnancy.
Finally, I will stand with law enforcement at all levels when it comes to pushing back against protestors that directly threaten officer safety and our community as a whole. Since 2014, we have seen a growing number of actions that attempt to disrupt our community and others elsewhere. I will continue to work closely with law enforcement to circumvent these occurrences when their aim is to impede upon the rights of others and the safety of Lincoln County residents.
Candidates for Presiding Commissioner:
Dan Colbert – Republican
Colbert, 49, is Lincoln County’s current Presiding Commissioner. He is serving in the last year of his second term.
Reason for Seeking Election: I can continue to build the many good things we have accomplished in my first two terms.
We are on a firm financial footing, improvng our roads and experiencing strong growth in our commercial tax base. I would like to continue our philosophy of taking care of the roads and bridges, being good stewards of tax dollars before spending and continue to improve Lincoln County through economic development.
Goals Who Would Like to See Accomplished: I would like to see at least 100 miles of gravel roads be blacktopped, additional technical educational opportunities in the county, and a continued emphasis on making Lincoln County a great place to live, work and raise a family.
Joseph Kaimann – Republican
Joe Kaimann, 40, is a farmer in the Old Monroe area. He has no formal political background.
Reason for Seeking Election: I am currently involved in my community through the public water district board, the Knights of Columbus, and through my church. After long discussions with several businesses and residents, it seems the citizens have lost trust in county government. My decision to run came after listening to these stories. I believe the constituents deserve a voice, and I feel this is my opportunity to get involved. I hope to restore the voters’ confidence in the commission. I am also seeking election because I want to work with my fellow citizens to make better decisions in government.
Other Comments: While I understand that making preparations to becoming a first class county is important, my concern is that the basic needs of the county are being overlooked in an effort to grow too quickly. Growth is great, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the existing taxpayers. As a Republican, I believe in small government, low taxes and fewer regulations. As a landowner, I value the right to choose how I use my land. Although the current presiding commissioner is now a Republican, it is obvious we have vastly different opinions in these matters.
Hope to Accomplish If Elected? I hope to improve transparency by including citizen feedback in the decision-making process. I would like to build quality roads instead of using unsustainable materials in an effort to cover as much gravel as possible. I’ll fight to protect landowners rights and reduce bureaucratic burdens. I will establish good working relationships with all Lincoln County city officials to ensure they are involved in the decisions which affect their work. I will continue to support our law enforcement and first responders with the necessary means to keep our constituents safe.
Candidates for County Collector
Trent Crenshaw – Democrat
Trent Crenshaw, 37, of Foley, is an educator seeking to serve as county collector.
I want to serve the constituents of Lincoln County by helping them be proactive with paying taxes, save money by avoiding penalties, and develop positive relationships while working the tax paying process,
I would want individuals to know we have worked tirelessly and endlessly to make the tax paying process as positive as it can be, that would be an accomplishment for me.”
Additionally, he said,” I wish to continue serving the public through a different method other than through teaching, which is what I do now. I am earning a Master’s Degree in Administration and balancing various educational and farming budgets because I also run a family farm. I believe my experience provides me with a skill set to effectively serve the fine people of Lincoln County.”
Jessica Zumwalt – Republican
Jessica Zumwalt, 43, is a small business owner and custodial services worker for Lincoln County. She is running as a Republican.
I have no prior political experience. I am simply a citizen who would like the opportunity to serve the people of Lincoln County.
I believe I would be a great asset for the position due to my professional experience in management finance and fiscal budgeting. Most importantly, I believe my ability to communicate with individuals and treat people fairly and equally are my greatest qualities in seeking the position of Lincoln County Collector.
In the days before and since making my decision to run, I have and still continue to research the position I am seeking. I have personally met and verbally spoken with Missouri State collectors of other counties to get their views and insights on the position.
If elected my #1 priority would be excellent customer service. I will always maintain an open door policy to your concerns and will deal with issues professionally and in a respectable manner. Also, if elected, I look forward to working with the Assessors office, as well as the many other elected officials and employees we have in the Lincoln County Courthouse. It takes everyone working together as a team to make Lincoln County operate, from commissioners to custodians and everyone in between.
“Amy” Neel – Democrat
Amanda “Amy” Neel, 52, of Troy, is a Deputy Collector with the Lincoln County Collector’s Office.
I am seeking election to continue my dedication and loyalty to the Lincoln County Collector’s Office and tax payers of this county.
Having worked in the office myself for 20 years, I have the experience and knowledge that allow me to know how to prioritize my actions in the Collector’s office. I know which direction the office needs to move in, and the current Collector’s staff and I work hard to make sure that paying taxes is as convenient and efficient as possible.
Above all, we aim to listen to the tax payer’s suggestions, and I operate with the most honest of intentions to help improve services for our tax payers.
I cannot just say, “Me, or I will,” because it is all of us, the taxpayers, the citizens, that I hope to work with to achieve our goals.
I aim to listen, communicate, offer new ideas, and keep everyone informed while utilizing my experience to make any changes or improvements in a suitable manner. I am striving to provide the best service to help the citizens of Lincoln County.
Brian Brown – Republican
Brian Brown, 56, of Troy, a Republican candidate, is a GIS analyst with the Lincoln County Assessor’s Office.
My main reason for seeking office is because I think the people of Lincoln County deserve someone, on the Republican ticket, with experience in the Collector’s office.
For the past ten years, I have worked at the Assessor’s Office. I manage the maps for the county which includes the creation of parcels, new subdivisions, road, and right of ways for the county. I am proficient in reading the legal description of deeds and in creating waivers and affidavits in personal property, all of which are used in both the Assessor’s and Collector’s offices.
If elected, my focus will be on customer service and technology. I want to improve the process of paying online allowing for easier payment of taxes. I want to create a prepayment or partial payment plan so residents can make payments throughout the year. I also want to provide better access to paid records for title companies and realtors.
Above all, I am committed to making sure that the relationship between the Collector’s and Assessor’s offices is streamlined and efficient. Electronic communication would be utilized to its fullest potential and an open door policy would always be in effect. Taxpayers deserve the best possible service and should be treated with the utmost respect.