Begley, Goellner vie for commissioner seat

Voters have just one local race to decide during the Nov. 3 election, that for Marion County Western District Commissioner.

Voters will choose between the incumbent Republican, Steve Begley, rural Palmyra, seeking a second four-year term, and the Democratic challenger, Bill Goellner, rural Palmyra.

Both candidates filled out a candidate survey submitted to them by the Palmyra Spectator.

The following are their responses.

Steve Begley

Biographical Background

I am born and raised in Marion County and have lived my whole life in and around Palmyra. 

I’m a lifelong member of Zion Lutheran Church and have been involved with the youth for over 40 years as well as deacon for over 20 years. 

I have been married to my wife, Karen, for 46 years and have raised three daughters, two of whom live in Marion County, and I have all six of my grand-kids living here as well. 

I worked for the county highway department for 39 years before running for commissioner four years ago. 

This experience has served me well in understanding  our road and bridge needs, as well as dealing with the needs of the public. 

Since being elected, I have been on the Mark Twain Regional Council of Governments as an executive board member. 

I am on the regional solid waste committee in the capacity of secretary. 

I am also on the Transportation Advisory Committee, and the Marion County Extension Council. 

I have also been a 4-H volunteer leader for 35 years currently serving as a shooting sports instructor. 

Why I am running?

I am running for re-election because with my experience and dedication to the needs of Marion County and the people living here, I can continue to serve as a commissioner to do what’s best for the future of the county. 

Since I have most of my family living here, I have a strong desire to keep Marion County moving forward. 

I have a good relationship with all the elected officials and have worked well with them to keep the expenses down, while also providing good wages and equipment for them to do their jobs.

What are the most 

important issues 

facing the county?

The most important issues facing us are illegal drugs and the problems that arise from them. 

Our jail would almost be empty, our child protection services and juvenile justice system would be almost nonexistent if it weren’t for illegal drugs. 

Since we are at a major crossroads between Chicago, Kansas City and St. Louis, we have a lot of outside traffic coming through this area. 

I do my best to see that our sheriff has the manpower and equipment to use against this problem while also being fiscally responsible.

Maintaining our roads and bridges is the second most expensive budgeted item after the sheriffs department. I will continue to work with the road supervisor to keep the roads in Marion County some of the best in this area. 

You don’t have to venture far into a surrounding county to appreciate the roads we have here. To keep them in good shape requires good workers, as well as good equipment, and I will continue to strive to see that we get the best we can afford. 

I also work with the emergency management director to do our best to meet the needs of Marion County citizens and businesses when we have flooding up and down the Mississippi River. 

We need to continue to work toward bringing new jobs and to support the jobs we have to promote a good future for our citizens and youth. I have worked with the regional economic director in doing what we can to promote jobs in this area as well.

I look forward to continuing to serve the people of Marion County and I appreciate your support.

Bill Goellner

Biographical Background

I am a lifetime resident of Marion County. I’ve been employed with the Marion County Highway Department for 33 years. 

My wife, Nancy, and I have been married for 36 years and have two daughters, Rebecca and Sarah. 

I am a member of the United Marion County Democrat Club, an elected representative for the Marion County Democratic Central Committee and Fabius Community House Board member and treasurer. 

Why are you running? 

To be the voice of Marion County citizens as their full-time Western District Commissioner. I want to have a more involved presence to help promote prosperity throughout the county, not just within city limits. 

What are the most 

important issues 

facing our county?

I think the most important issues facing our county are economic development, the improvement and maintenance of rural infrastructure, and maintaining a balanced budget. 

My goal would be to work with city, county and state economic development officials on bringing businesses to Marion County and helping the county to prosper. 

There is commendable maintenance work being done on our rural roads and bridges. I want to continue that progress, along with prioritizing smaller bridge and culvert replacement throughout the county. 

I look forward to working with county officials to maintain a balanced budget by being fiscally responsible and prioritizing key projects.