Friday, Oct. 12, 2012
Harrisonville resident Luke Scavuzzo, 56, a Democrat, is seeking election District 1 (South) Associate Commissioner seat.
Scavuzzo, the incumbent, was appointed the seat in mid-January, replacing Bill Cook, who resigned from the office.
He graduated from Harrisonville High School in 1974 and attended Benedictine College for three years.
After returning from college, he went to work at his family’s business, the Scavuzzo Price Chopper in Harrisonville, which he owned for the last 10 years of his tenure with company.
“I want to be apart of getting the county turned back around,” Scavuzzo said. “I think we had some problems in years past, and made some bad decisions and spent a lot of money, and it looks to me, in the eight months that I’ve been in office, it looks like we’re getting things turned around a bit.”
Throughout his career, Scavuzzo has served with ConnectCASS, Bright Futures and the Mid-America Regional Council. He also served two terms in the Missouri House of Representatives for two terms between 2007-2010.
“I think my knowledge of government and serving at the state level was very beneficial in coming in at the county level, along with the fact that I’ve been around the county all my life,” he said. “I know a lot of people in the county, and I know the differences that you have between the northern part of the county.”
If reelected, his goal is to continue to get the county’s finances in order.
“We’re still getting them in order, but it’s getting better as revenues continue to increase,” Scavuzzo said. “The other thing is to make sure we get a good, solid budget, one that is not out of whack as the last few have been. I think without a budget officer to really put those together, they lack some real good numbers.”
Longtime Harrisoniville resident Jim Hoke, 48, is also seeking the District 1 (South) Commissioner seat.
Hoke, who practices law in Raymore, is a 1982 Harrisonville High School graduate and earned degrees from the Metropolitan Community College, University of Central Missouri, and the University of Missouri-Kansas City.
He is a member of the Elks Lodge, Missouri Bar Association and the Cass County Bar Association.
“My father and I were in business here for years, and my father for a long time before me, we’re fourth generation Cass Countian, and the county has been good to us,” Hoke said. “I felt like I wanted to give something back to the community. Also, with the state of affairs of local county government, the situation with the budget, and some of the things that they were not complying with procedures, I thought my expertise would be of a benefit to the county.”
Hoke said he’s a two-for-one deal.
“Being born and raised around here, I think I have a very good feel for the county, and the citizens of the county, and their needs, wants and desires,” he said. “We have the good, old fashioned Cass County common sense, but I’m also going to bring to the table my legal education. My expertise in negotiations and finding compromise, and if I look at a contract, I’m going to look at not only as a lawyer, but as a commissioner, as well. I’m going to be looking at it with that aspect, and that expertise.”
If elected, his first priority would to get the budget under control.
“We need to take a hard look at whether or not we want to continue with broadband. We need to look at a cost-benefit analysis on this Tri-Gen system to see if we want to continue operating it or if we need to get it shutdown. I’ve seen a number of maintenance issues that need to be dealt with. I know that the court system, so far, isn’t getting any money from the state to try and help with our dockets, and probably isn’t going to happen and we’re not going to be able to address that at a county level until we get our budget and some funding under control,” Hoke said.
He also wants to bring jobs to Cass County.
“Those of us who live and work here know that this is a great place to live, raise a family, and to work, but we’re going to have to market that in such a way to draw from the outside Cass County,” Hoke said.