Missouri's Primary Elections are on Tuesday, Aug. 4, and at Lake of the Ozarks, the winner of a primary is considered a shoo-in for their seat in the November general elections. The stiffest competition for most seats happens during the primaries, rather than in the general elections.
LakeExpo contacted candidates in many of the higher-profile races—both local and state—that Lake of the Ozarks area voters will be deciding on Tuesday. We gave candidates a few questions to respond to, with a word limit, and we have published their responses below, verbatim, in order of how they will appear on the ballot.
Watch LakeExpo.com for more candidate profiles this week, download the Lake Expo app in the App Store & Google Play Store, and watch LakeExpo's Politics page for the latest profiles and election results.
Camden County Sheriff
When it comes to skills and experience, I have over a decade of direct work in Camden County within various realms of law enforcement. I have previously worked as a detective and chief of operations/investigations for the Camden County Prosecutor's Office. I am currently an officer for the Camdenton Police Department. I am also a law enforcement instructor for both Missouri State University and Camdenton School District's Lake Career & Technical Center. My passion is not only in upholding the Constitution but also in educating and training law enforcement employees. It is both my experience in a number of different roles in the field of law enforcement as well as my passion to continue to teach and learn that have prepared me to be your sheriff. I can fully understand the perspective of each member of the team and utilize individual strengths.
I desire to bring the community to the sheriff's office for transparency within the budget and operations; I am qualified to bring effective professional development and training to the deputies and staff; and I will work with our county government and community to secure a respectable wage for our deputies. When transparency, efficient training, and effective communication between sheriff and community are highly valued; Camden County WILL THRIVE. I truly believe with the help of our community, together we can bring the Camden County Sheriff's Office into the 21st century.
Three key points that I plan to focus on and implement as Sheriff are:
Increasing training for deputies and correction officers with in-house training and teaming with Missouri State University Public Safety Division. This will help bring training costs down, while giving the deputies and correction officers up-to-date and advanced training. I will implement extensive background checks for all employees and ensure employees are highly vetted. I will make certain that all highered employees are of high integrity and good moral character.
Having a more visible presence in the community, visible to not only the public but also to the road and correction deputies. I will be a working sheriff, in the car, taking citizen complaints, and out in the public eye.
I will also incorporate open meetings with the public, like coffee with a cop, to learn the concerns of the people of Camden County. This type of meeting will be held around the county to meet all community needs. Building better partnerships with the community with programs like a Youth Explorer Program, a Citizen Police Academy, and a Citizen Advisory Board will play a vital role in moving our Sheriff’s Department forward. I plan for the advisory board to be open to the public.
When elected Sheriff, my life, integrity, vision, and purpose will remain steadfast and be geared toward the safety of the citizens of Camden County and the professionalism of the men and women of Camden County Sheriff’s Department.
I am Chris Edgar and I want to be your working sheriff. I respectfully ask for your vote on August 4th.
Tony Helms (incumbent)
I have over 30 years’ experience in law enforcement in Camden County, 28 with the Camden County Sheriff’s Department. I have been Camden County Sheriff since 2017. I am married and have six children. I am a Christian. I am personally and professionally a supporter of the Second Amendment and protecting the rights of the people of Camden County.
I promised that in my first term to address several of the issues and bring strong leadership to the department. I have done both.
Going forward, my number-one priority is to increase deputy pay. To keep good deputies this is absolutely necessary. Law enforcement is difficult work and the pay should reflect that. I will work with the county commission, keep a close eye on the budget and get this done.
I will continue and improve our community service programs such as Shop with a Cop, citizens review boards, junior academy, neighborhood watches and Community Resource deputies. I have fulfilled the promise to put Resource Officers in rural county schools.
The bedrock of my law enforcement philosophy is community policing. It promotes trust among those we serve and protect. Equally important is transparency – I have already instituted the use of body cams and will continue to keep our people informed.
I have made significant headway on animal control and want to do more. We have provided free pet micro chipping and vaccinations for those who qualify and creating animal control laws. I want to work with shelters to continue to address the stray animal problem.
Perhaps most importantly, I want to press forward with the kind of fiscal responsibility that has allowed me to upgrade vehicles at a savings, install new office equipment, increase deputy presence and many other innovations while keeping a close eye on every taxpayer dollar.
My name is Mark Kordula and I’m 41 years old, I’ve been a resident of the lake for over a decade. My wife and I are coming up on our 21st anniversary. I am a proud father to two amazing kids. My daughter is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing at UCM and my son will be an upcoming sophomore at School of the Osage. We are proud members of Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church.
I began my law enforcement career in Camden County in 2011 and have served the people here ever since. Throughout the years, I have obtained the training I need to better serve the County. During my time at the Camden County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO), in addition to road deputy I have been a member of several specialized units that include:
Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC)
Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
Major Case Squad (MCS)
Camden County Street Crimes Task Force (SCTF)
Liaison between CCSO and the Lake Area Narcotics Enforcement Group
Criminal Investigation Division (CID)
Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT)
There are several reasons why I’m running for Sheriff. The biggest reason being the county deserves an active working Sheriff. I feel that the position of Sheriff at CCSO has become a retirement position and that approach needs to be corrected. If elected Sheriff, I promise to be out in the communities I’ve sworn to protect.
It is my opinion that the position of Sheriff is better equipped with someone who has worked for our county. Out of the five candidates running for office, other than the current Sherriff, I am the only candidate who has worked for CCSO. I am the only candidate who has worked for the CCSO specialized units: ICAC, SART, SCTF & CID.
One of my priorities, if elected Sheriff, is to tackle the budget and restructure staffing by re-evaluating the importance of positions. My intention is to stop unnecessary spending and reallocate it to positions that will benefit our community. I intend to repair and strengthen the relationships with the agencies that work with CCSO and our investigation division. Next is community policing; being present in the community not only when we are requested (emergency calls) is a large issue that needs to be addressed. In addition, providing our deputies with CIT & job-specific training will be a priority so they can better serve the citizens of Camden County.
I am passionate about my work and am deeply committed to Camden County. I believe that my determination makes me the best candidate for the job. I am experienced and well rounded and always ready for a challenge. I am a hard-worker, a team player, and will work tirelessly for every citizen. I thrive on challenges and will continue these practices if elected as your new Sheriff.
For more information visit: www.kordula4sheriff.com
Although born in Tennessee, I am a native from the State of New Mexico and lived in Carlsbad, New Mexico from 1973 to 2017. I attended schools in Carlsbad and in 1988 joined the United States Army Reserve Corps serving my tenure in Fort Bliss Texas. Upon returning from the military with an honorable discharge, I began aiming towards a law enforcement career. During this time, I became father to one child, Carrie Diane Lowe, who has graduated school, married, and owns a successful business in New Mexico. I joined the Eddy County Sheriff Department Reserves in 1989 and in 1990 transferred to the Carlsbad Police Department Reserve Corps, where I volunteered as a Reserve Officer and worked in the oilfield until becoming a full time police officer in 1991. I have served in both the operations and administrative bureaus and have earned multiple promotions to include the rank of Captain. I am a 2004 graduate of the F.B.I. National academy and authored a Police Officer Report Writing course and an Advanced Less Lethal Weapons Taser course both of which were accredited by the Department of Public Safety. Prior to retirement, I served as Captain in the Support Services Bureau to include the coordination and direction of the department’s mission in Community Policing. I credit much of my success to the unrelenting support and patience of my wife, Allison of 21 years and to the true loyalty of my late best friend and partner, K-9 Officer, Primus. For a short time, I chose to seek employment in the private sector which was both rewarding and competitive; but I always maintained a longing for the passions I acquired in law enforcement and my commitment to citizens as a public servant. Allison and I relocated to Missouri in 2017, where I returned to law enforcement and currently serve as a police officer with the City of Osage Beach, Missouri. At 53 years of age, I remain healthy, fit, and committed to continue serving citizens offering valuable career long experiences and training that can foster the Sheriff’s Organization into an even better, ever stronger representation of services and citizen servants throughout Camden County. I continue to embrace the enthusiasm, passion and commitment of serving others and desire to seek new adventures and challenges representing a progressive and innovative organization, offering unlimited potential to those who serve in the Sheriff’s Department and the citizens who deserve the best in public safety’s “Commitment to Excellence.” If privileged by the Citizens of Camden County, to be elected Sheriff, my immediate goals towards this mission will be to establish a four year strategic plan of improvement, restructure the Sheriffs Organization to more efficiently utilize staffing and manpower, revise policies and procedures that instill best practices and meet the newest federal and state reforms and most importantly, host an agency of citizen access and transparency to personnel, the organization and operations while always prioritizing public relations and public safety for the betterment of Camden County. VOTE KELLY LOWE!
My wife and I have been married for 40 years, have two grown children and two granddaughters. We are devout Christians and believe that doing the right thing, is always the right thing to do. We moved full time to our lake house in Osage Beach a little over 2 years ago and my family has owned property here for over 55 years. My wife is an art teacher at Richland Elementary and I work part time at Lake Regional Hospital and instruct at the MSU campus. Throughout my life, I have been a servant of the people and hope to continue serving as the Sheriff of Camden County.
I was raised in family business controlling budgets and moving our organization toward a positive and successful outcome. We owned a transportation company, where I was operations manager over distribution, warehousing and international freight forwarding. I also provided business consulting for court ordered reorganization of Chapter 11 bankrupt companies.
Later, I gained the highest law enforcement position in the nation as a United States Marshal. I led teams in high threat warrants, the witness protection program and close protection for Federal Judges, Senators and International Dignitaries. I was also a Threat Analysis investigator for the judicial system and eventually became a counter terrorism specialist.
I served 3 tours of duty in Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan). There I had direct oversight of a $248 million per year budget, for the development and implementation of an Afghan Border Police Program.
I have worked with Federal, State, local and International Police agencies and am likely the most diversified and qualified person on the Sheriff candidate list. I am more than capable of properly and professionally running the Camden County Sheriff’s office.
show up to work.
stop the loss of personnel, which is costing this County hundreds of thousands of dollars.
create a positive and professional work environment.
fix the broken system that is creating risk for the deputies and the people of Camden County.
be a full-time sheriff, unlike Tony Helms who has been heard by many to say: “I am just here for the retirement check”.
surround myself with capable managers and team members to help lead us to a Class “A” department.
stop the constant cursing and internal fighting that currently exists at the department.
work with the County committees to regain trust and stop the poor spending habits of the current Sheriff. In other words, we will NOT spend taxpayer money on items for personal use.
initiate a new patrol system that will have Deputies in the County where they belong; performing proactive policing that Tony Helms has failed to provide.
bring experience and a management style that will initiate new levels of training for our Deputies.
use my government background to bring new support from outside sources.
I have always enforced the laws and constitution and will continue to do so for the benefit of Camden County residents.
I approve this message. Jerry Peters.
Miller County Sheriff
Louis Gregoire (incumbent)
Sheriff Louie Gregoire is a lifelong resident of Miller County. He is married and has two children and is an active member of the Tuscumbia First Assembly of God. Sheriff Gregoire has worked for the Miller County Sheriff's Office for about 21 years. He has worked hard to learn every aspect of the job and knows what needs to change to make law enforcement services better for Miller County. Sheriff Gregoire is wanting to be re-elected because he cares about Miller County and wants to continue making progress and change in the sheriff’s office. Sheriff Gregoire is not a person that makes empty promises and believes change can and will happen with the understanding and knowledge of how a budget works and by building relationships. Even though the pay of a Miller County Deputy is some of the lowest in the region, Sheriff Gregoire's administration has experienced the lowest turnover rate that the office has had in many years. It takes a lot of knowledge and money to operate a jail and provide law enforcement services for roughly 600 square miles. Of the budget nearly 62% is used for payroll purposes. That leaves just 38% of the budget to operate the sheriff's office and jail. Through research and working agreements, Sheriff Gregoire has been successful in bringing in over half a million dollars in state and federal grant money to help increase the pay of employees and advance the technology of the sheriff's office. Sheriff Gregoire has been successful in helping develop neighborhood watch programs in the county and has made it a priority for getting better training for staff including getting all officers Crisis Intervention Trained. Sheriff Gregoire would appreciate your vote and support and will continue to work on deputy response time, more deputies, and more funding.
My name is Dave Stark, and I am a Republican candidate for the office of Miller County Sheriff.
My parents are Nancy & the late Wayne Pruitt, and the late Cletis Stark. I spent much of my growing up years around the Eldon area. Miller County will always be my home.
My lovely wife Rhonda and I have raised six sons. They are Lucas and Brandon Stark, and Bobby, Tom, Mike and Bryan Beanland. These fine young men are now raising families of their own, resulting in a passel of grandkids.
I have a verifiable record of success during my 26 years of law enforcement. I have been an administrator, (handling budgets, grants, personnel, etc.), and I have successfully investigated crimes ranging from burglaries and drug offenses, through child abuse and homicides.
My plans for the Miller County Sheriff Department include, but certainly are not limited to:
Timely response to all calls / incidents.
Improved training and education for Deputies and support staff.
Body cameras / dash cameras for all Deputies
Mandatory, random drug testing for all employees.
Fiscal responsibility and accountability; know where your money was spent and why.
Improved coverage / patrol of the county.
Establish a Cold Case Squad.
Fairness and consistency.
My family, my friends, and all Miller County residents deserve a Sheriff department they can rely on and be proud of. Through my proven leadership, I will deliver this.
What has kept me going in law enforcement all these years is every morning when I get up, I know there is a real possibility that I will have a positive influence on somebody’s life. That has never changed, and I hope it never does.
I ask for your prayers and your support.
On August 4th, make your mark. Vote for Stark! Thank you.
(Morgan County Sheriff candidates did not submit answers to candidate profile questions/requests)