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Greene County Presiding Comissioner Candidates Debate Tuesday

Scott Harvey
Greene County Courthouse/Credit: Scott Harvey

Candidates vying for presiding commissioner in Greene County will gather this week to take part in a debate to kick off the campaign season.

Hosted by the Greene County Extension Council, the roughly two-hour event begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Executive Conference Center at 910 W. Battlefield Road.

Matt Simpson, a member of the Extension Council, will serve as moderator.

Five people have filed for the position to replace incumbent Presiding Commissioner Jim Viebrock, who is retiring.

Bob Cirtin, Steve Helms and Jerry Fenstermaker make up the Republican field. Democrat Donna Bergen and Libertarian Benjamin Brixey will also appear on the August primary ballot.

Related: See all countywide primary candidates for Greene County.

The Extension Council says all candidates will be given equal time to answer questions, some of which will be taken from the audience.

Council members came up with the idea for the debate last summer, according to a news release.

“Since the Commission votes on the primary source of our office funding as a county program, since we are now funded at levels equal to our 1953 funding, I think the reason for the council’s interest in this election is pretty obvious,” said David Burton, county program director for Greene County Extension.

Every county in Missouri has a publicly elected extension council. Mandated by state statutes, the extension councils are the governing body for local opportunities provided by University of Missouri Extension. Council members work with extension faculty in making decisions concerning programs, personnel, council elections and the local extension budget.

Savannah Fitzgerald, a political science major at Missouri State University in Springfield has been working on the debate as part of her internship this spring with Greene County Extension.