Candidates vying for the position of Camden County Presiding Commissioner participated in a primary election debate Thursday night at Camdenton Middle School.
The event, sponsored by the Camdenton Area Chamber of Commerce and KRMS Radio, pitted the three candidates in the Republican primary against each other. Several Democrats unopposed in the primary and participating in other races attended the debates.

Candidates seeking the office of Camden County Presiding Commissioner:

Kris Franken (R)
16 years in Lake of the Ozarks construction industry
Making first attempt at politics
"It's very evident that we have a lot of issues out there ranging from roads and wastewater to general efficiencies and how we spend and utilize the tax base that comes to us from the county through sales tax and property tax revenues," Franken said in his opening statement.
When asked to identify non-budgetary issues that the Camden County government should address immediately, Franken selected road repair and Lake of the Ozarks water quality.
"If you can't get to the houses, if you can't get to the businesses, that's going to affect income," Franken said, tying road conditions to economics.
Franken referred to beach closures and a crackdown on wastewater systems impacting the Lake's tourism economy.
"If you've got bad press about E. coli, if you've got bad press about poor septics, that's going to affect our income at a county level. It all trickles down and it gets us in a situation where you have revenue shortfalls, which is where we are right now," Franken said.
Later in the debate, Franken suggested that the Camden County Commission stimulate economic growth by relaxing regulation on development.
"The first thing we need to do is get out of the way. When somebody wants to come to town, we have the obligation to oversee the project and make sure it's constructed in a safe manner and a manner that adheres to the codes we've laid down. But aside from that, we need to get out of their way and we need to work with them," Franken said.

Carolyn Loraine (R)
Incumbent Presiding Commissioner serving 8th year
Owner of three small businesses
"In the 34 years of (Camden County) residency, I have been involved in many community organizations and groups," Loraine said. "This has been a great community to live and raise a family. I spent most of my 34 years in some type of public service and it has been very rewarding."
Faced with questions on a three year decline in sales tax revenues, Loraine took advantage of her incumbent status and referred to several ongoing projects.
"We're working on issues to dispel the E. coli misconception. We continue to work with MoDOT on road improvements in the area. We continue working with other municipalities and taxing entities to support tourism and second home development. We are trying to keep the local workforce employed and encourage local spending," Loraine said.
Loraine serves as President-elect of the County Commissioners Association of Missouri, and mentioned her efforts at the state capitol lobbying against state legislation that creates unfunded mandates.
The commissioner mentioned several specific projects, including: a community development block grant for construction of a new Citizens Against Domestic Violence shelter will utilize local contractors, an acceptance of Missouri Gas Utility's proposal to bring natural gas to Camden County, a grant to make the courthouse more energy efficient, which is a $134,000 project that Loraine says will rely on local contractors. Loraine also mentioned working with companies to bring broadband internet access to the area.
"We're working to streamline county government to maximize efficiency while trying to reduce cost and maintain services," Loraine said.

Scott Martin (R)
Employed in the real estate business
Retired Lt. Colonel in the U.S. Army, decorated Vietnam veteran
"Anyone who knows me knows that I speak my peace. I'm not afraid to make decisions, and I'm not afraid to step on others' toes when deserved. Through my past 22 years in real estate, I have met a lot of people and know what the problems are here in the county," Martin said.
Other than the budget, Martin says the state of public infrastructure needs to be a key focus of change.
"Our county roads are in horrible shape right now. Unless you live over on HH and the special road districts where you have the blacktop, the curbs, and the rest of the stuff. We need an all out effort [...] to bring these roads back up into shape. If you live out in these rural areas and you drive on (the roads) every day, you are putting your life in danger on some of them," Martin said.
Martin also selected rising sewer rates at Camelot Estates, NORMAC, and Sunnyslope as a key issue that needs addressing.
The recipient of five bronze stars called for balanced economic improvement to help the county's income climb.
"We can't just depend on tourism," Martin said. "We still want this to be a destination for the tourists from neighboring states and all, but we also need to look at the businesses that have been here for a long time."
Martin referred to several Lake of the Ozarks businesses that have operated for a number of years.
"We need to see what we can do to encourage (existing businesses) to expand and hire more employees, because by encouraging them to expand of course we are going to create more jobs which creates more taxes and stuff for us," Martin said.

Eric Mayer (D)
President of the Camden County Democrat Club
Official choice of the Democratic Central Committee
Mayer runs unopposed in the August primary. He believes one of the Camden County Commission's prime objectives should be attracting new commerce.
"We need to generate businesses. One of those areas is promoting grants and bringing in businesses," Mayer said.
Mayer supports a plan for Missouri Gas Utility to run lines north from Springfield into the Lake area.
"The natural gas line that is coming in--that's a great thing. That will bring in light industry and so forth, and that's what we need to do is generate jobs. That's the bottom line. People are worried about where their jobs are coming from," Mayer said.
On the topic of Camden County's three sewer districts, NORMAC, Sunnyslope, and Camelot Estates, Mayer called for serious evaluation.
"The biggest area is the sewer districts and how we can reorganize those to be more equitable, and the charges that are facing those three districts--and for the whole county in the future," Mayer said.
The democratic hopeful tied the sewer districts to controversy over the Lake's water quality.
"We're going to have to figure out some way to address the wastewater problem in the county and at the Lake of the Ozarks," Mayer said.
Mayer suggested that the Camden County Commission explore the use of neighborhood improvement districts, financial mechanisms that fund road improvements through special property tax assessments, to pay for road improvements.
"For the last 10 years, the county commission has not allowed a NID, which is a neighborhood improvement district. 'Why haven't they allowed that to develop?' is my question because I think that's one of the ways to fund road improvements without raising taxes," Mayer said.

Louise G. Webb (R)
Webb did not attend the Chamber of Commerce debate.