Clay County Election Preview
Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Polls are open from 6am to 7pm

Clay County Courthouse Liberty Missouri
Missouri Map

Statewide Ballot Issues for Nov Election

Four statewide ballot measures are certified for the ballot in Missouri.

Candidate answering press questions

Clay County Commission Candidate Features

Candidates answer your questions.

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Additional Voter Resources

A collection of links to resources for finding voter and candidate information.

Missouri 2022 Ballot Measures for November 2022 General Election

Amendment 1 – State Executive
Authorizes the state treasurer to invest in highly rated municipal securities
Click for more info

Amendment 5 – Administration of Government Gives the Missouri National Guard it own department in state government
Click for more info

Amendment 4 – Budgets and Police
Allows the legislature to pass a law until December 31, 2026, that requires a city to increase funding without reimbursement from the state to a police force that was established by a state board of police commissioners.
Click for more info

Constitutional Convention Question Ask voters whether to hold a state constitutional convention
Click for more info

Clay County Commission Candidates on the Excelsior Springs Ballot

In August 2020 Clay County citizens voted to change the Clay County Constitution to transition from three commissioners to seven.
This will take effect January 1, 2023.

Western District At Large

Eastern District
At Large

Scott Hayes
JoAnn Lawson
Noel J Shull
James “Jim” Shrimpton
Steve Wolcott

Eastern District
Seat 2

Candidates not linked above are candidates that did not respond to our request

male candidate answering press questions

Commissioner Candidates Answer Your Questions...
(in the order they were received)

Josiah Bechthold, Western District, At Large

In 300 words or less, tell us a little about yourself and why you’re running for office.

I am a former military intelligence analyst and combat veteran of Afghanistan deployed with 101st Airborne Division in 2011; I grew up in Clay County before serving in the US Army from 2010-2019; I currently work for the Internal Revenue Service as a human resources specialist.

How will you make sure you are ethical in your approach for change?

I believe in low taxes, fiscal responsibility and as your next county commissioner, I will focus on cutting wasteful processes and expenses wherever possible to provide better services. Fighting corruption and ensuring that Clay County government is accountable to voters is the most important issue facing Clay County today. The past 2 years of the pandemic have been hard for families. Idle industries across Missouri have thrown workers into low wages, human misery and personal indignity amidst the recent pandemic. Those who pay taxes are denied a fair return, their success penalized, and full productivity hindered. 

What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect when dealing with the public?

In the past we always looked to the federal or state government to protect our freedoms, to rely on our elected representatives to act as a break on Tyranny. Our founding fathers created a system of check and balances to preserve our freedom from the tyranny of evil men. Local government on the other hand has never functioned thru a system of checks and balances because it never needed it. It was a system designed to provide basic services, Zoning, schools, roads, emergency health services, Fire and police protection.  Local government had no power beyond that, or so we thought. And yet in 2020, we witnessed our local government in Kansas City and our local county enact a shutdown of the likes that had only existed in Authoritarian dictatorships like China, North Korea and Cuba. Idle industries across the metro threw workers into low wages, human misery and personal indignity. Our county commission followed Kansas City’s lead in the striping of our freedoms. Ensuring our local government respects basic freedom is paramount.

What do you believe are the three most pressing issues for the County? Why?

The three most important issues are high property taxes, repairing Roads and infrastructure and refunding the Sheriff’s department to make needed improvements to the county jail.  

What is the most important step you could take as a county commissioner to regain the trust of the citizens of the county?

Transparency– My goal is to ensure that Clay County government offices are more responsive and transparent to property owners. Clay county residents deserve to know what processes are used in evaluating how their tax dollars are spent. All expenses will be made public and posted on the county websites.

What is your job or role as county commissioner?

Ensuring our local government delivers efficient services and respects basic freedom is paramount.

Jim Shrimpton, Eastern District, At Large

In 300 words or less, tell us a little about yourself and why you’re running for office.

I am running for Clay County Commissioner Eastern district at large. I have lived in clay county since 1994 and would like to see the county grow into a model that we can be proud of. My youngest son graduated from the Kearney School District and my wife is a retired teacher. She taught in the Lawson and Kearney school districts. I am not a politician, this is not a stepping stone to another office or a source of additional income to subsidize my retirement. I am not running to see my name on the plaque of a building or my picture on the courthouse wall. I like challenges and want to serve the citizens of clay county. I will bring a new fresh perspective to Clay County Government.

I have over 40 years of private sector experience in auditing, finance, leadership development, and operations. I also have 4 years of city government experience and 2 years in the clay county audit department and an MBA. In the private sector there is always an emphasis on cost savings and operational efficiency. I intend to bring this mindset to county government. While no other candidate I am aware of has my background, I am not claiming to be an expert in every field. There are 7 commissioners, hopefully each with a different set of skills and experiences.

I would be skeptical of a candidate who claims to have all the answers. There was a sign in a boardroom of a fortune 500 company I worked for that said, “No one of us is smarter than all of us.”

How will you make sure you are ethical in your approach for change?

When it comes to ethics and honesty, a person is either ethical and honest or they are not. If they are not ethical in their personal life or business they won't be ethical as a commissioner. Since I am not a career politician I do not owe any favors to any person or special interest group. I will keep the best interest of the taxpayers in mind.

What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect when dealing with the public?

The public is made up of people with different ideas and views, and ‘pet projects.’ It will be a challenge to convince some citizens that I am looking out for the best interests of the majority.

What do you believe are the three most pressing issues for the County? Why?

The most challenging issue facing the Clay County Commission is the lack of trust with the citizens. The commission is making progress with this but it will take time to overcome the mistrust that has built up over the years. My role in this is to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.

The next issue is public safety, this is not to say it is a problem or currently inadequate. Unfortunately, our society has problems with sex trafficking, drug addiction, and cyber crime. We need to keep our public safety adequately funded to address these problems.

The third issue is business development. The reason this is important is sales tax is a major source of revenue to pay for county services, the county experiences the same inflation that citizens do. More businesses means more sales tax collected. I would like to see sales tax collections increase to the point we can reduce the county portion of Real Estate and Personal Property tax.

While these are the current issues, we really don’t know what issues we are going to face in the future. Rising gas prices, hyper-inflation, another pandemic, another 911 are all things we hope to avoid. But if it happens we need commissioners with the experience to navigate through these problems.

What is the most important step you could take as a county commissioner to regain the trust of the citizens of the county?

Trust must be earned over time. My plan is to be transparent and to explain the logic behind my decisions. I will be looking for opportunities to communicate with citizens.

What is your job or role as county commissioner?

My role as county commissioner will be to represent the citizens and be available to them. I will not be a commissioner that just shows up at meetings, votes, and collects a paycheck. With seven commissioners each will have different interest and skill sets. We will need to maximize this to arrive at the best decisions for Clay county in the area of finance, operations, public safety, and infrastructure.

Vern Windsor, Eastern District, Seat 2

In 300 words or less, tell us a little about yourself and why you’re running for office.

I have lived in Clay County and the Eastern District for 42 years. I graduated from Liberty High School, attended Maple Woods Community College, Park University and William Jewel College. I have no degree at this time. I am Retired from Ford Motor Company.

I’m running for for the new Eastern Seat on the County Commission because I believe the citizens of Clay County need to have a Commission that is not into politics and works to make the County run efficiently. I believe in keeping up regular maintenance of County roads, parks, and buildings. I believe the County needs a new Master Development Plan to guide the growth of the County in the coming years. I believe this will help raise revenues without increases in taxes. I would love to see our County Parks expanded with trails throughout the County linking all towns and cities in the County.

My public service:

1985 – 1992 Untied Way Community Care Volunteer
1990 – 1992 Clay – Platte Emergency Relief Board
1993 – 2012 Clay County Clothes Closet Board Member
1995 –2022 Liberty Area Chamber of Commerce Liberty Fall Festival Volunteer
2010 – 2017 Entertainment Chair for Liberty Fall Festival
1998 – 2008 Liberty Car Cruise volunteer every 4th Saturday at McDonald’s
1998 – 2000 Good Neighbor for the Elderly Volunteer
1995 – 2022 University of Missouri Clay County Extension Council
2006 – 2020 University of Missouri Extension Regional Council
2008 – 2019 University of Missouri Extension State Council
2002 – 2012 North Suburban Youth Football League Board
2012 – 2019 Corbin Theater Board
2012 – 2019 Volunteer for the City of Liberty Council Teching the City Council video feed on the City Channel on cable TV
2014 – NOW City of Liberty Park Board Member
2016 – NOW Meals on Wheels backup Driver
2014 – 2016 Urban Youth Football league Commissioner
2016 – 2022 Planet ComicCon Volunteer
2022 – 2022 Head Superhero for Logistics at ComicCon

How will you make sure you are ethical in your approach for change?

I will follow the Sunshine Law of the State of Missouri fully.

What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect when dealing with the public?

The most challenging aspect to dealing with the Citizens of the County is what a Commissioner is and can do. Helping educate how their tax monies are spent. I expect to learn a lot from the citizens also.

What do you believe are the three most pressing issues for the County? Why?

The three most pressing issues in the County are:

1, Guiding development in the County
2. A new County Jail.
3. Enhancing the Park system

What is the most important step you could take as a county commissioner to regain the trust of the citizens of the county?

Being open and available to the Citizens.

What is your job or role as county commissioner?

My role as a County Commissioner is:

Approve funding requests and contracts that obligate taxpayers
Approve policies that impact how you live, work and play in Clay County
Appoint members to county commissions and boards like Planning & Zoning and Board of Equalization

Sherry Duffett, Eastern District, Seat 2

In 300 words or less, tell us a little about yourself and why you’re running for office.

Resident of Clay County for 38 years.

Education:
Park University: Parkville, MO, Graduate with honors, summa cum laude (GPA 4.0) Bachelor of
Science Degrees: Human Resource Management and Social Psychology

Employment:
Retired from Clay County, MO. My employment at Clay County from 2002 to 2015, in three
elected officials’ offices: County Clerk, Public Administrator, Assessor, from which I retired.
Knowledgeable in county government, the Sunshine Law of the State of Missouri; as well as the
operations, procedures and statutory requirements that is required of elected officials and
employees of First-Class Counties in the State of Missouri.

My husband, Larry is a retired UAW Local 249 millwright from the Ford Motor Company
Claycomo Plant. Larry is also a former member of the Teamsters and AFL-CIO unions.
Two daughters: graduates of Winnetonka High School with Honors. Both received Academic
Scholarships to Columbia College and graduated with Honors. One daughter is employed in
marketing; one is employed as an educator in a local school district.

Four grandchildren: Ages 18, 16 and 10-year-old twins.

One dog: Piper, Re-homed Miniature Schnauzer

I believe I would bring a level of excellence, professionalism, and ethics to the Clay County
Commission. This would include improved communication with fellow commissioners, Office
Holders, department heads, governmental jurisdictions, employees and most importantly, the
taxpayers/citizens of Clay County.

How will you make sure you are ethical in your approach for change?

Elected officials are sworn into office to represent the citizens and uphold the Constitution of Clay County. I will strive to be conscientious, honest, and principled in addressing issues regarding the citizens.

What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect when dealing with the public?

Listening is the most challenging aspect when dealing with the public. People want to be heard. They want their concerns addressed. They want answers. They don’t want to be ignored.

What do you believe are the three most pressing issues for the County? Why?

I believe the three most pressing issues for Clay County are: economic growth, improved infrastructure, and safe neighborhoods.  Clay County is one of the fastest growing areas in the greater metro. It is imperative that with this growth the most intelligent and effective decisions be made to ensure tax dollars are being utilized to the fullest. The development of better infrastructure and safe neighborhoods is essential to all working-class families in Clay County. Better wages result in better jobs, better neighborhoods, and better school districts.  A place where individuals and families will want to live.

What is the most important step you could take as a county commissioner to regain the trust of the citizens of the county?

The most important step would be communication with the citizens. I would make every effort to be open, transparent, and accountable to the citizens of Clay County.

What is your job or role as county commissioner?

As set forth by the Clay County Constitution in Article II. County Commission, Section 201.

Powers and Duties: The governing body of the County shall be called the County Commission. The powers of the County Commission conferred by this Constitution are limited only as provided elsewhere in this Constitution or by Missouri law. The County Commission shall have all legislative, executive, and other powers conferred by applicable Missouri law upon counties of the State of Missouri. Duties include, but are not limited to: Administer and set policies for county government, including the budget and payment of bills; Oversee all county roads, county buildings, property, and equipment; Represent the county on various boards throughout the area and state; Appoint residents to numerous boards and committees.

Scott Hayes, Eastern District, At Large

In 300 words or less, tell us a little about yourself and why you’re running for office.

Hello friends, I am Scott Hayes, candidate for Eastern Clay County Commissioner at Large. I have been interested in running for office for three years and when this opportunity presented itself, I recognized the time to become involved was now.

I am a husband, a father, and an educator. My wife is a nurse, and my children are entering their Senior and 8th grade years in school in the Liberty Public School district. I am currently employed as an
elementary school counselor in the Kansas City Kansas Public School district, and I have just started my tenth year. For the last seven years, I have served as the lead counselor for the Early Childhood and Elementary levels, leading 36 counselors across 32 schools. I have spent the last 22 years of my life serving others. I worked in substance abuse and mental health fields as a community support specialist and program specialist prior to moving into education. I have only known working for others in effort to make their lives better. I anticipate working in political office with the same priority; working for others…you!

I have no outstanding agenda other than being reliable, trustworthy, patient and collaborative while maintaining integrity. This position would afford me an opportunity to serve Clay County taxpayers while integrating into the realm of politics. I hope you’ll consider me as a representative for you.

How will you make sure you are ethical in your approach for change?

In my work I have many legal and ethical obligations. I must abide by multiple privacy regulations and serve as a mandated reporter. I am consistently trained on legal and ethical regulations and a common theme exists: If you do what is right, it is probably ethical.

I hope to prove to Clay County taxpayers that I am a man of character; that I focus on traits of trustworthiness, collaboration, and integrity. In effort to be ethical, I will consistently strive to do what is right and be accountable to the Clay County residents.

What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect when dealing with the public?

I believe the most challenging aspect of dealing with the public is addressing their needs in a timely fashion. As an educator, I am quite used to addressing community stakeholders. Caregivers want the best for their children as quickly as possible. Taxpayers want the same. Taxpayers want their tax dollars to be utilized correctly, efficiently, for purposes that suit them, while having access to their representatives. I will work to produce results that Clay County residents find adequate while maintaining efficient stewardship of their tax dollars and providing accessibility to me in effort to gather feedback.

What do you believe are the three most pressing issues for the County? Why?

The Clay County Commission must confront the three areas of transparency, proper management of taxpayer money and addressing community needs/requests. I believe this can be achieved via outreach. Transparency is an obvious need for Clay County Commissioners, but it is already underway. The current Commission has done an adequate job of rebuilding the trust that was lost by previous commissioners that were fraudulent. This must be continued.

Addressing community needs is another obvious need as it directly impacts daily life of citizens. Resident voices have clamored for additional road work, public safety measures, enhancement of parks and recreation, and stewardship of taxpayer money. I will work to achieve these.

Management of taxpayer money is paramount to the Commissioners. It is incumbent upon the Commission to make informed and fiscally responsible decisions within the budget to address the needs of the Clay County taxpayers.

What is the most important step you could take as a county commissioner to regain the trust of the citizens of the county?

I believe the easiest and most effective way to regain the trust of Clay County taxpayers is to be transparent. Furthermore, I believe timeliness and honesty are keys to transparency. As I have previously mentioned, I will demonstrate character traits that include honesty, patience, collaboration, and integrity in effort to serve Clay County Citizens. Additionally, I will work with the other six Clay County Commissioners in coordination with Public Relations teams to increase the availability and speed of which information is shared with the public.

What is your job or role as county commissioner?

I simply believe that the role of a county commissioner is to manage the budget and create policy with the six other commissioners. The commissioner’s role includes quality of life improvements for taxpayers while being a good steward of the taxpayer’s dollars. Ideally, the commissioner will work to maintain low (yet adequate) taxes. As aforementioned, I want to increase transparency while demonstrating traits that Clay County citizens can identify with.

Jay R. Johnson, Eastern District, Seat 2

In 300 words or less, tell us a little about yourself and why you’re running for office.

I made a conscious choice to move my family to Clay County, where my wife and I decided we wanted to raise our three children. We watched as the county commission became dysfunctional and even corrupt, and that is when I decided to get involved. I have nearly three decades of managing in the public sector, having retired as a chief of police and also serving as an acting city manager. I have a masters degree in public administration, I am a graduate from the FBI National Academy, I have thousands on hours in specialized training, experience, and teaching in public sector management, leadership, financing, negotiations, and so on. I feel I have something to offer to make the county a better place to live, work, play, and visit. I do not need a job or seek power. I simply think I can help and I am willing to do so if elected.

How will you make sure you are ethical in your approach for change?

My decision to be ethical has nothing to do with this position. I decided to be ethical since my childhood upbringing. It is not something that is hard for me, but part of what I am. I always put ethics and high moral responsibility at the top of any decision making in my life, whether it be in my public life or my private life. When I was sworn in as chief of police, I made a public vow to be accessible, responsive, accountable, and transparent and to ensure the people working for me did the same. The latest commission has done a good job getting us back in this direction, but I will ensure we continue to go even further. Servant leadership and always remembering the public is our boss should be at the forefront of everything elected officials and government leaders do.

What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect when dealing with the public?

I have 30 years of experience in dealing with the public in my professional life. One of my jobs as a SWAT team commander was to train new hostage negotiators. The most important thing I would teach them in communication with a hostage taker was to listen. Listen and try to understand. I think that applies to any type of communication. Too often government leaders have opinions and want to do things their way, without taking the time to listen to the very people we are there to serve. Opinions can sometimes vary greatly. Taking the time to listen, understand, and thoughtfully communicate is one critical part of gaining public trust. One that was lost in recent years with past commissioners.

What do you believe are the three most pressing issues for the County? Why?

So this current election will change the make-up of the county commission drastically. We will go with three to seven board members. We could be voting in a new majority that will either be good or bad for the county. What most people do not realize is that commissioners are solely responsible to determining how to spend roughly a billion dollars of your tax money during a four-year term. It is important to elect someone who is capable to doing so, has experience doing so, and understands the importance of fiscal stewardship and government efficiencies – creating a more effective government using the least about of tax dollars. That is what I did during my career in government.

Secondly, public safety should be at the top of any government priority. It is a basic need that touches nearly every aspect of our lives, from the safety of our children playing in their front yard and their safety at school, our home values, our insurance rates, the success of small business, to so many other aspects of life that people do not often think about. The attack on public safety has done more harm than most people realize. I have the expertise in this area to help get our first responders the support they need to help protect our community.

And thirdly, we have ongoing infrastructure needs that need to be addressed. From streets and bridges to facilities like a jail that is busting at the seams. Capital improvement projects and proper planning and budgeting needs to be done more efficiently. Good leaders and managers at the top need to be able to plan and project for 5-10 years out and even longer, not waiting until the problem has become a reality. This effects everyone’s quality of life in the county, as well as the success of small businesses, which is critical to Clay County being one of the fastest growing counties in the state.

What is the most important step you could take as a county commissioner to regain the trust of the citizens of the county?

Accessibility, Responsiveness, Accountability, and Transparency!!!

What is your job or role as county commissioner?

Servant leadership. To provide oversight and direction with a plan for the future. Fiscal stewardship of taxpayer dollars and to make Clay County government run as efficiently, ethically, and as transparent as possible.

Kenneth Jamison, Western District, At Large

In 300 words or less, tell us a little about yourself and why you’re running for office.

By way of brief background, I served four years on active duty in the United States Marine Corps. I attained the rank of Captain, was Honorably Discharged, and served one tour in Afghanistan. While in Afghanistan, I was awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal for serving with distinction.

In 2008, I graduated magna cum laude from the top-ranked University of Missouri School of Journalism. During college, I spent the summer of 2006 as a volunteer in the Dominican Republic. I taught English and built homes in Haitian refugee camps. Also, I spent the summer of 2007 as a volunteer in Kenya. I taught all subjects, except Swahili, in Kenyan elementary schools and middle school.

In 2016, I graduated from the University of Missouri School of Law. At law school, I was a dean’s list student. I am the Founder and Owner of The Law Firm of Kenneth L. Jamison, LLC, a law firm located in Liberty, Missouri. Clay County is my home. I was raised in Gladstone, Missouri. I attended Meadowbrook Elementary School, Antioch Middle School, and Oak Park High School.

I live in Gladstone, Missouri, with my fiancée and her three-year-old son, and our dog, Buddy, a 
rescue from the KC Pet Project. I am a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10906, American Legion Post 626, Gladstone Chamber of Commerce, and Kansas City Northland Elks Lodge #2376.

How will you make sure you are ethical in your approach for change?

The United States of America trusted me to lead its sons and daughters in Afghanistan. I ask for that same trust from the people of Clay County.

What do you consider to be the most challenging aspect when dealing with the public?

County government needs to earn the trust of its people. The special interests who allegedly corrupted some of our previous commissioner, those special interests are still out there. I’m a Marine Corps Captain. Those special interests will not corrupt me.

What do you believe are the three most pressing issues for the County? Why?

a. Safe Neighborhoods: As county commissioner, I will ensure our sheriff’s department has the resources it needs. My main focus will be more cops on the streets, replace aging equipment, increase training and ensure better wages and retention for our sheriff’s office.

b. No New Taxes / Balanced Budget: The government is not better than us. The government should live within its means just like us. Clay County pays too many taxes to Kansas City, yet what do we get in return? I will fight to ensure that our tax dollars stay in the Northland. Clay County is rapidly growing. As a small business owner, I will ensure Clay County is accountable to taxpayers and creates an environment where small businesses can prosper.

c. Fair Share of Services: The people of Clay County pay too many taxes to Kansas City, yet what do we get in return? As a United States Marine and Afghanistan veteran, I will stand up for Clay County against the special interests south of the river to ensure we get our fair share of services.

What is the most important step you could take as a county commissioner to regain the trust of the citizens of the county?

Excluding our current commissioners, historically, we have had commissioners who served their own best interests, not the best interests of the people. We must restore the peoples’ faith in our commission. As a U.S. Marine and Afghanistan veteran, I promise to serve the people, not the special interests.

What is your job or role as county commissioner?

To serve the people of Clay County and be a good steward of our tax dollars.

Clay County, Missouri

Additional Voter Resources

Here are some links for helpful information regarding the upcoming August 2, 2022 election.

Clay County Election Board

The Clay County Election Board can give you all the voter information you need for voting locally, including ballot and election results.

How to Become a Poll Worker

Sign up to be a poll worker and help during local elections. The need for poll workers is growing and is a great way to serve!

Missouri Secretary of State

For numerous voting resources, the Secretary of State's office gives you filing and election results.

Missouri Ethics Commission

The Missouri Ethics Commission can give you insight on a candidates financial supporters and expenses of the campaign.

Clay County Commissioners

For the current commissioners information and more information on the commission itself, click here to learn more.

Missouri Voter Outreach

By typing in your address, the Voter Outreach site will give you your ballot and polling place information.

League of Women Voters

The League of Women Voters has done a nice job of summarizing ballot issues and interviewing candidates. Learn more.

Courier Tribune Article

The Courier Tribune has covered many of the candidates in the county race. Click here for a feature on the Eastern seats.

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