Butler County Collector’s Race Heats Up with Write-in Candidate
POPLAR BLUFF – When long-time Butler County Collector Brenda Fox died in August, she left not only many mourning friends and family but also a vacant county post.
In November, Butler County voters will have the opportunity to elect a new county collector.
Three names are currently in contention for the post: Chris Michel, Emily Parks, and Tammy Marler.
CHRIS MICHEL – DEMOCRAT
Michel believes he can bring “exceptional service” to the post through both customer service and teamwork at the Butler County Courthouse.
“Eight years ago, I lost my wife to cancer and at that point I really needed to concentrate on being both a mom and a dad to my sons,” said Michel. But now the boys are grown, and Michel said he is excited to get back to working full time in a position he is truly excited about. He has lived in Butler County his whole life, and says he hopes to make a positive impact on the county.
“I think I can bring a true sense of professionalism to this post,” concluded Michel.
He cites over three decades of business experience in his favor. He prefers a “sensible and conservative” approach to office management. He notes that he has presented at national conventions and has gained quite a bit of experience in public speaking. He also believes that his skillful use of technology can be a big plus for the county collector’s office.
He is a licensed insurance agent for AFLAC and has served as a web marketing consultant and site builder since 2004.
EMILY PARKS – REPUBLICAN
Emily Parks is the candidate for the Butler County Republicans. Last month, 22 of the 24 county delegates met to nominate their candidate for the county post. She was chosen from among several candidates eyed by the Republicans. That list included Tammy Marler, Larry Kimbrow, Penny McGath and Jerrica Fox. After three rounds of voting by the group, Parks emerged as the winner.
Parks is currently the Director of Development at Three Rivers College and the Executive Director of the Three Rivers Endowment Trust. She has held those positions for four years. She had previously served as interim Butler County Circuit Court Clerk. She studied marketing at the University of Missouri.
Parks told the group several things have prepared her for this post, including the six years she has worked political campaigns, two years she served as Interim County Clerk, and her educational and service credentials. She vowed to work hard to win the support of the community.
Parks says politics has been her life-long passion. “I used to help my father, John Clark, on his campaigns, and then I was fortunate enough to intern at the State Capitol during my college days at Mizzou,” she explained.
After graduation, she took a job with a consulting firm specializing in political fundraising.
“The office of county collector brings with it a tremendous responsibility,” said Parks. “It requires both a proper educational background and real world experience.”
“My primary responsibility while working for Capitol Consulting was to solicit support, funding and setting political strategies for Republican candidates. I was also tasked with handling millions of dollars for candidates,” Parks explained.
She is married to Chad Parks, an attorney who practices with her father. The couple has two daughters.
TAMMY MARLER – WRITE-IN
The third candidate, Tammy Marler, will not appear on the ballot but is running as a write-in candidate.
“I’ve been a citizen of Butler County all my life,” said Marler, adding that she and her husband Quintin own a successful Butler County business and they have two sons and two grandchildren.
Marler is currently the office manager in the Butler County Clerk’s Office where she has been employed for 23 years.
“That has given me the opportunity to learn about county government; I’ve assisted the clerk in the county’s yearly budget process,” Marler added. For the past twenty years, she has helped prepare the tax statements for the Butler County Railroad and Utility Companies and has assisted the Collector in the annual County Tax Sale.
“Each year I prepared the abstract reports for State Tax Commission reporting the County’s Assessed Valuation, as well as, prepared the county entities and school district’s assessed valuation statements,” said Marler.
She thinks that experience will help make for a smooth transition to the Collector’s Office.
“I will continue the legacy of past predecessors, with strong, ethical and conservative values, and I will dedicate myself to be an on-the-job public servant for the citizens of Butler County,” she added.
She plans to implement more modern technology. She adamantly believes the county collector’s salary should be the same as all elected officials, $61,943.51.
Marler noted the former collector received personal fees of $25,000 a year from the City of Poplar Bluff and drainage districts to collect taxes. Under the current agreements, 2% of collected fees goes to the county and 1% goes to the county collector.
Marler said she would choose to put all those deposits in the county’s general fund.
“This position is not about being a politician,” she concluded. “It is about being qualified, dedicated and having the desire to work for the citizens of Butler County.”