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Republican candidates for presiding commissioner face off Tuesday

Two Republicans are running for St. Francois County Presiding Commissioner and the winner of the August primary will face Democrat Linda Dickerson in November.

Harold D. Gallaher

Harold Gallaher, 66 is married to Sandy Gallaher and has been married for six years with a total of 12 kids. Two biological, one adopted, two foster, five foreign exchange students, and two “new” kids. They don’t use the term “step” children. In fairness, Harold said Sandy’s two children were grown before they married and he had no hand in rearing them but still loves and respects them as his own.

In addition to the children. he has four grandchildren between the ages of 6 to 8 years old and another grandson on the way in late August.

Gallaher is a 1965 Bismarck High School graduate. He earned a Bachelor’s of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1971 from the University of Missouri in Rolla.

He worked for S.T. Echols, Inc. of Bismarck after graduating from college and eventually purchased that small family owned company in 1976. The Echols family had invented the snow cone and held patents on ice shaving machinery to produce that product. He led the company to international sales and added new concession food machinery to the product line. He also patented improvements to these products and sold the business in 1988.

He went on to create SMC, Inc. in 1994 which was a funeral home supply business. Once it flourished to the point that multiple buyers were interested in it, he sold that business in 2001. In 2003 Gallaher purchased a small farm and moved to Libertyville just south of Farmington. Since then he been primarily self-employed on the farm and other ventures while staying actively involved within the community.

Gallaher has attended nearly every weekly commission meeting for five years now and has served at the behest of the commission on the Board of Equalization, the First Class County Committee, and on the Technical Committee for the Big River Watershed project. During the past year he made it a point to help prepare himself for this office by attending the public meetings of some of the cities, the St. Francois County Ambulance District, the senior board, the health center board and other local groups in an effort to listen and learn.

He is a member of the Parkland Beekeepers Association, the St. Francois County Historical Society, and is a Master Gardener through the University of Missouri Extension. He is a member of Meadow Heights Church and Parkland Chapel in Farmington.

Gallaher served as an alderman for the City of Bismarck for two terms in late 1970s and the early 1980s. He also served 18 years on the Bismarck school board for a total of 22 years of elective service within his community.

He is running for this office because the St. Francois County area has been wonderful for both him and his family. It has been a wonderful place to live, work, and raise children. He believes the county has great schools including advanced education, good medical facilities and shopping, along with well serviced highway, rail and air facilities and all near major urban areas. There are communities of every size and there are good recreational facilities.

He feels that the county is growing and is set to grow even more. His years in private industry and his training in engineering, he feels, has given him the experience and skills needed to assist the county as they continue to move forward. He said he is the only candidate with the private business experience and technical training needed to lead the county. He said public office is a seat of service, not a seat of status. It is time he paid back to the community that has served him so well.

Brad Yoder

Brad Yoder, 51 is married to Karen Yoder. They have four children all together, daughters Emylee, Andrea, and Holly, and step-son Zachary.

Yoder is a North County graduate and also attended UniTec. He served six years in the United States Army and he spent two years of that in Germany on the Berlin Wall. After his service in the Army, he started and ran an excavating business. For the last eight years or so he has independently run a recycling business.

Yoder has not served an elected position before. He is a member of the Bonne Terre Church of Christ and races sprint cars on the weekend. He also was active in the Big River Clean Stream Team in the past.

He is running for office because he feels he could do a good job and put this county in a forward motion with less spending. He feels his knowledge of being involved in 30-plus years of excavating work would be a good asset to the county by knowing the price of materials and how the work is done first-hand, since it’s the kind of work that the county does.

He also wants to address Berry Bridge being torn down. It would only be U.S. 67 coming though the county and if the bridge is torn down there will be no outer road to get through. He also wants to address the first class status, since he believes it should be up to the people to decide. He said as a veteran he stood up for his country, so in turn he wants to stand up for St. Francois County.

Yoder has no plans of using signage in this election or knocking on people’s doors bothering them. If he makes it through this election, he may decide to do more in the means of communicating with residents in the county.

Brad Yoder

Brad Yoder

Renee Bronaugh is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-518-3617 or

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