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Boone County Presiding Commissioner: Matt Cavanaugh

Party: Republican

Age: 52

Place of residence: Columbia

Occupation: Real estate developer

Education: Florida State University undergraduate; studied economics and finance at University of Missouri; Japanese Language Institute, Sophia University, Tokyo

Political experience: Ran in 2016 for Southern District Boone County commissioner

Opponent: Dan Atwill

What makes you the best candidate for the position?

I’ve built two companies from the ground up, one of them being an oil and gas company and the other one being an environmental services company. I started out with only 13 employees and ended up with over 60 employees in one and more than that in the second one. So I have the experience of running a service-based industry, building a service-based business,. I have more than 30 years of experience in construction and development. I’ve built two off-the-grid resorts in Latin America. I’ve spent the last 25 years building and developing resorts in Latin America.

I have a large financial background in terms of budget, management, political interfacing, logistics. So I think all of those lend credibility to my ability to do this job for Boone County.

As far as presiding commissioner I think the vast majority of the work is managing people, managing budgets and being aware of what it takes to get jobs done and having a vision of the future in order to allocate resources to get to the point where that vision becomes reality.

If elected, what would be your top policy priorities?

My top priority currently is just to make sure that all of our resources, that’s labor, capital and assets are allocated in a manner to benefit Boone County citizens to the best degree possible. I think that today we need leadership that has the ability to plan for the future and not just plan for tomorrow.

We need to make sure that with the growth that’s occurring in Boone County that we have good, long-term growth, growth that we can look back on in 10 years and say we did that right. I think that today we are influenced by a lot of things that don’t necessarily condone smart growth. And I hate to use that term, smart growth, but that’s essentially … sustainable, good growth is probably a more applicable term to that.

There’s several issues that I think are important, the first one being leadership. I think that we have a 911 call center that’s more than double budget. It started out at $9 million, it’s currently $22 million and that’s directly under the purview of the commissioners… Where was the leadership in that? We have a 911 call system software program that doesn’t work for the fire department in Boone County — over $1 million and it’s a disaster.

We have a $3 million fairground that we’ve spent umpteen million dollars on trying to come up with a solution, that’s been closed for four years. Thank goodness for Sturgeon residents to step up and at least attempt to make a good effort to have a fair in Boone County, otherwise we wouldn’t have a fair in Boone County.

I don’t think that it’s fair to call that piece of property a fairgrounds. First off, we paid three times more than it was worth. Today we do own it, so we need to make it an asset that’s viable, and one of those things is I think we can do that without using a tax increase to get to that point.

So to me, the top priorities are good leadership, fiscal responsibility and coming to a conclusion with a positive and successful note on the property that we bought for the fairgrounds that’s now called the Missouri Events Center.

What other pressing issues do you hope to address?

First and foremost I plan to show up every day. I plant to make sure there’s leadership available that actually is engaged in the process. The second thing is that I want to make sure we have the ability to address issues with the city on a friendly and professional level. I think we have pressing developmental issues along St. Charles Road, for example, where the city and county have had trouble coming to a consensus on what needs to be done.

My focus would be to make sure that we have an opportunity to have good communication so that we can solve some of these issues, because they directly impact the ability of our citizens to have a decent lifestyle here. We have issues today that have created one way or another the most expensive city in Missouri to live in, and … while it’s admirable that we have a good quality of living, at some point we’re pricing out future development and future attraction for businesses to want to locate here in the fact that it is expensive for them to live here. And I want to be able to attract businesses that want to be here and in order to do that it has to have some affordability.

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