by Ivan Foley
A familiar face is wanting to get back into Platte County politics.
Jim Plunkett, former second district county commissioner, said Tuesday that he will be a candidate for the position of presiding commissioner in the county election of 2014.
Filing doesn’t begin until Feb. 25 and will close March 25.
Jason Brown, current presiding commissioner who was first elected four years ago, has not yet announced whether he will be seeking reelection.
"I look forward to hearing why Jim is running, what his accomplishments have been, and what his plans are for moving Platte County forward,” Brown said Tuesday afternoon. “I will have an official announcement at the appropriate time.”
Plunkett was first elected second district commissioner in 2004. He was re-elected in 2008, before stepping away in 2012.
“I took a year off from public service but I’m rested and ready to get back to work with our two district commissioners to move Platte County forward,” Plunkett said in a press release that was sent to the media while the county commission was in session Tuesday morning.
In a phone interview with The Landmark later Tuesday, Plunkett said he stepped away in 2012 as he had bought a house at Riss Lake in Parkville and was waiting for his term to expire. He had lived just south of Platte City until moving in May of 2013, he said.
He indicated he “probably” would have run for another term as second district commissioner if he had not been moving from the district.
Asked what he would be focusing on in the campaign and then if elected, Plunkett said he would be working “to contrast the differences between me and Jason” in the campaign.
“I don’t want to tip my hand just yet,” he answered when asked what those differences are.
Plunkett said in his earlier time in office, he “enjoyed working through the budget process.” He added one matter facing the county is the debt associated with the mandated emergency radio system.
“We need to address the radios,” he said.
Asked if he thinks a tax increase will be necessary to address the radio issue or jail upgrades, Plunkett said: “I’m not comfortable going that far yet. I haven’t spent the time yet to research. I don’t know as much as what they know,” he said of other commissioners.
A similar answer came when asked about the recent approval of the high density housing proposal in southern Platte County known as Chapel Ridge.
“I’m not aware of all the issues. I didn’t attend any of the meetings,” he said.
Plunkett, like Brown, is a Republican.
A primary election for county offices will be held in August, with the general election in November.
OTHER COUNTY SPOTS
OPEN IN 2014
Presiding commissioner is one of six county-level positions up for grabs in 2014. Others include county auditor, county clerk, collector, prosecuting attorney and recorder of deeds. All current officeholders are Republicans.
Joan Harms, county clerk who was first elected in 2010, recently told The Landmark that she will not seek reelection.