Members of the St. Francois County Republican Central Committee are elected to two-year terms, to serve as the local tier of the Missouri Republican Party. Each of St. Francois County’s eight townships is represented by a committeeperson, and all eight members are charged with facilitating Republican placement in political positions on the county and state level.
The committee can make recommendations when seats need to be filled, such as when Associate Circuit Court Judge Joe Goff resigned last year to pursue private practice. The Republican Central Committee interviewed candidates for the governor at the county level and put Brice Sechrest’s name forward. The governor approved the appointment in August.
The committee also serves as an election campaign headquarters, which it staffs and finds locations to promote the Republican statewide candidates with election materials. They can also purchase signs for Republican candidates on the federal level.
Three candidates are vying for the hotly-contested St. Francois Township seat on the St. Francois County Republican Central Committee. In order on the ballot, they are: Ben Bradley, incumbent Chuck Dodson and Kyle Smith. Each was emailed a list of questions. Their answers are below.
Ben Bradley, 41
Where do you live? Married, Children, Family? Farmington; wife is Rachel Bradley, 5 daughters
Education and Work Background: Columbia College and University of Kentucky for business. I am a Political Strategist professional and work on campaigns across the State of Missouri. Prior to that I worked in the Automotive Sale industry.
What motivated you to run for this position (concerns, etc.)? Since moving to St. Francois County I have watched the Central Committee shrink and their community involvement decrease. I have seen this happen in other counties before and that concerned me. Political tides change and for a party to withstand that, they must have a strong foundation. I also was concerned about the fundraising or lack of fundraising that the current committee had accomplished. I was informed they had less than $2,500 on hand entering the campaign season, I raised more than that in a single night in December for a PAC which currently has over $11k on hand. Basically I saw lack of direction and no foundation for the party which will hurt us in the long run.
Why do you feel you are qualified for this position? I work as a political strategist and consultant for a living. My experience with winning campaigns, fundraising, grassroots development, community outreach, and networking in the political arena separates me from the other candidates.
What are some goals or objectives you would strive to accomplish if elected? Build a stronger base for the party, increase community involvement, stop closing meetings to the public, increase fundraising, and grow the committee.
Chuck Dodson, 58, incumbent
Where do you live? Married, Children, Family? My wife Teresa and I have been married for over 30 years; we have raised three kids in Farmington. We currently live in Ward 2. In my spare time, I enjoy beekeeping, kayaking, fishing, and I am a certified barbeque judge.
Education and Work Background: Senior Executive with over 20 years management experience, 10 plus years as Chief Compliance Officer and Chief Operating Office for Investment Firms. Firms range in size from small to Fortune 100, currently have compliance oversight of over $100 Billion in investments.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, Southeast Missouri State University, Minor: Political Science.
Notable Accomplishments: Three-time speaker at the National Society of Compliance Professionals, National Conferences in Washington, D.C.; Past Advisory Board Member Boston Stock Exchange; Past Advisory Board Member Chicago Stock Exchange.
Community Organization: I am a Life Member of the NRA and I have organized 3 community events with the NRA -Legislative Institute, this includes a phone bank for Josh Hawley in 2018.
I have organized many events for the local Republican Community including Candidate Meet and Greets, Fundraisers for the Pregnancy Resource Center, Flag Waving, Picnic to Support Law Enforcement, and several group trips to Jeff City to Lobby our Representatives.
I have organized multiple phone banks to support Republican candidates, I am most proud of the successful effort on Amendment 3 that cleaned up Clean Missouri, I was told it couldn’t be done, but we did it.
I have held the following Political Positions: 2016 Delegate, MO State GOP Presidential Caucus; 2018-2020 Treasurer, St. Francois County Republican Central Committee; 2019-2020 President- SFC Conservative Club; 2020 Delegate, MO State GOP Presidential Caucus; 2020 County Coordinator for Gov. Parson’s reelection Campaign; 2020-2022 Chairman, MO HD Legislative District Committee; 2020-2022 Republican Committeeman, St. Francois Township; 2020-2022 Chairman, St. Francois County Republican Central Committee.
What motivated you to run for this position (concerns, etc.)? I’ve always been interested going back to college I started out as Political Science Major.
I got deeply involved in 2016, and it was out of desire to make sure my kids had a better future than the direction I saw the country going. That is still what keeps me motivated today. I started by attending Central Committee meetings was selected as a delegate to the Missouri Presidential Caucus in 2016. I was the Treasurer from 2018-2020. I have been the Chairperson since August 2020.
Why do you feel you are qualified for this position? In the time I have been on the Republican Central Committee, Republicans have went 30-0 winning contested General Elections in St Francois County. I want to keep winning. We have raised more money for candidates than any prior county committees.
After the 2020 election, Republicans in St Francois County were split by the hotly contested State Senate Election. I was able to pull the Committee together and we had a great election headquarters in Desloge. Almost everything the committee has voted on has had unanimous consent. The last item we voted on, which someone pointed to as a split in the committee, only had 1 person who didn’t vote with the majority.
What are some goals or objectives you would strive to accomplish if elected? My first major goal is to make sure we send whoever becomes the Republican Candidate for U.S. Senate to Washington, D.C., as the next U.S. Senator from Missouri. The day after the election August 3, we have to start to work to make sure our candidates are elected in November.
Kyle Smith, 26
Where do you live? Married, Children, Family? Here in Park Hills. My family all lives here in St. Francois County as well, with the exception of an older brother who lives in Florida.
Education and Work Background: I graduated salutatorian from Central High School in 2014 right after I got my Associates degree with Honors from Mineral Area College with the MAC Jumpstart program that was offered by Central High School. After that, I enlisted in the Navy, though, due to medical issues, I could not remain. Once I was back I decided to go back to school and earned my Bachelor’s degree in math education. Now I teach middle school math, a career that I keep separate from politics as education should not be disrupted by politics.
What motivated you to run for this position? I see a huge need for a younger generation to get involved in local politics. While you cannot always have an effect on national or even state-level politics you can make a real difference locally. It is important to make sure that people of all ages have a voice that can be heard, the younger generations need the guidance and education of those who have been active in the community, and the older generation need the ideas and outreach that can only come from a new generation. Many of those who are around my age do not want to get involved in politics nor do they vote, we need to encourage them to participate, to have a say in their community.
Why do you feel you are qualified for this position? I have been attending meetings and assisting with the committee for just over six years. During that time I have seen the committee change for the better and for the worse. I know the various people on the committee and previous members. Right now I am the assistant treasurer, a non-voting member position. I have been involved in the organization and implementation of many events, and though I have learned a lot, I see a need for improvement.
What are some goals or objectives you would strive to accomplish if elected? My goal is outreach; for most people, this election is the first time they have ever heard of the Republican Central Committee. I see that as a huge issue. Our committee needs to be known by the community. We should strive to showcase our great candidates and elected officials in a manner that the public can understand and respect. I would like to increase our participation in events county wide. There are many community events in our county in which we should participate and encourage community involvement. Along with that we should be doing events that showcase our candidates and allow for the community to actually meet and ask questions of those who seek to run for local office.
Sarah Haas is the assistant editor for the Daily Journal. She can be reached at 573-518-3617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.