by Ivan Foley
The countywide campaign season officially kicked off Tuesday morning when the filing period opened at the Platte County Board of Elections.
Candidates can file from now through March 27 at 5 p.m.
County posts up for grabs in 2012 are first district county commissioner, second district county commissioner, treasurer, assessor, and public administrator.
Among those filing on the first day was a 20-year member of the Platte City Special Road District board of directors who will be seeking a step up in the world of local politics.
Duane Soper, 55, who resides at Lakes at Oakmont just south of Platte City, filed for second district commissioner for Platte County on the Republican ticket.
The commission position has been held for two terms by Jim Plunkett, who won the job in November of 2004. Plunkett told The Landmark on Tuesday that he will not seek another term.
“I’ve thought about this for a few years,” Soper told The Landmark on Tuesday, indicating he started thinking harder about it when he heard that Plunkett “potentially wasn’t going to run.”
“It’s the perfect storm in my life for me to be able to run for this office,” he said, explaining the timing is right for him personally.
“My wife is committed to me running,” he added.
He and his wife, Val, have two children, a son who is a sophomore at Missouri University and a daughter who is a junior in high school.
Soper is a homebuilder who runs his own company, Golden Key, Inc.
His time with the special road district would be a benefit as a county commissioner, he believes.
“I’ve worked with a budget and on budgets all of my life. Roads are a big part of he second district and my background with the road district will help with that,” he said.
If elected, he said he sees two areas where his background could immediately be a benefit: 1. Construction expansion of the two community centers and 2. Looking at the future of the county 3/8 cent sales tax for roads.
“The county is in great shape, it’s just getting into a position to maintain it and keep a quality of life that’s good for all of us. I was born in this county and I’ll be here until I’m gone,” he said.
“I want to make a difference and now is the time,” Soper added.
Soper was recently presented a district award of merit by the Boy Scouts of America for his work with that organization. It is the highest award given to a volunteer.
“My wife asked me what I will give up. I won’t give up Boy Scouts. I have a passion for Scouting,” he said.
As for Plunkett, he made this comment on Tuesday:
“I'm a taxpaying businessman who wanted to bring conservative values to Platte County. During mytime, I have held our governemtn spending to low levels and have built cash reserves to an all time high. I'm not a politician trying to further my career. I have served two terms and will not seek another. I'm honored to have served as second district commissioner.”
Asked if he wanted to elaborate on the reasons he has made the decision to step away, Plunkett replied: “No sir. It was several things, but no, sir.”
Also filing on opening day were incumbent Republican Kathy Dusenbery for first district county commissioner; Republican Rob Willard for treasurer; Republican Mark Owen for sheriff; Republican Toni Clemens for public administrator; current assessor David Christian (Democrat); and Democrat Chris Hershey for public administrator.