Crawford County News

Sheriffs' Association questions validity of state audit on sex offender registration

In early October, Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway sent out a press release regarding an audit report, with the startling headline, “Local law enforcement can’t locate more than 1,200 registered sex offenders.” The Missouri Sheriffs’ Association was quick to fire back with its own press release alleging that Galloway “published false assertions in her official report regarding the oversight and control of the Missouri Sex offender registry program that incorrectly placed law enforcement in a negative light.” In Crawford County, Sheriff Darin Layman reported that there are currently 100 registered sex offenders in Crawford County, and out of that number, only one was non-compliant and was currently under investigation, as he was believed to be registered in another state. 

Cape and Martin compete for County Clerk; Chipman and Schmitt seek Mo Rep seat

Three Rivers Publishing invited candidates involved in races for the November 6 General Election to submit a candidate profile for publication.

Candidates were asked to present themselves, introduce their family to our readers, and discuss their opinions on any issues they feel are of importance to the voting public, especially specific issues of concern or interest that they wish to focus on if elected.

Candidates were encouraged to tell voters about their family history, work experience, educational background, or other traits that they feel are pertinent to their election. Candidate submissions were edited only for grammar or spelling mistakes, not for content, in order to provide an opportunity for them to speak freely and promote their candidacy.

In this week’s print editions of the Steelville Star and Cuba Free Press, we are sharing the profiles and photos submitted by Crawford County Clerk contenders Tamra Cape (Independent) and John Martin (Republican), along with those from the two candidates for Missouri House Representative for District 120: Jason Chipman (Republican) and Theresa Schmitt (Democrat). Martin and Chipman are incumbents. Cape is a write-in candidate.

Tamra Cape

First and foremost, I want to state I am running as an Independent Write-In Candidate for the Crawford County Clerk’s Office.

This race has been a roller coaster ride so far. I want to start by telling everyone what I am going to do in this office, not what my opponent isn’t doing in this office.

The clerk’s office has a lot of responsibility. It is the hub of our county. This office is the custodian of the county records, including those of county employees, county bids, all licenses issued by the county, utilities located within the county, county contracts, all insurance for the county and county employees, payroll, the county budget and payables, acquiring and maintaining county bids, and for conducting elections within the state statutes.

I have felt the need to give back to our county for a long time, and recently realized this is where I belong – I need to be the Crawford County Clerk. Crawford County deserves a clerk that loves the county. I will work diligently to fulfill all of the responsibilities of this office, in an efficient and cooperative manner. I will assist the commissioners with the budget goals they have set for our county. I will work to make voting convenient and to help the county residents to understand issues on the ballot. I will work to improve the relationships with other county agencies. My priority will be the Crawford County residents, never my own agenda.

I have lived in Crawford County nearly my entire life, growing up in Wesco, on the Meramec River. It was a great place to grow up. I worked as a bookkeeper for a local manufacturing company, where I was the office manager and payroll clerk, while also working as a bookkeeper for a construction company and a local restaurant, doing all of the payroll. I have worked in the appraisal industry for over 25 years, starting as an apprentice appraiser and working my way to real estate appraiser and office manager, and ultimately starting my own appraisal company in 2007. Appraising has led me down most of our county roads. There’s not much of Crawford County I haven’t seen. A little over two years ago, I decided it was time for a second act and purchased a bed and breakfast in Steelville. I love running the inn! I try to tell each guest about our beautiful county and direct them to some of our gems.

I realize running as a write-in candidate is an uphill battle. I need everyone’s help and I appreciate everyone’s support. Please visit my Facebook page “Vote Tamra L Cape for Crawford County Clerk” for easy instructions on how to write-in your vote.

John Martin

I am an eighth-generation Crawford County denizen; a native of Cuba. My family is well-known throughout the county, and I carry on with their work ethic and devotion to service in the community. I am a 1993 graduate of Cuba High School, and I hold a BA and MA in History, and a MS in Defense and Strategic Studies. For the past four years, I have been serving the people of Crawford County as Clerk to the County Commission. Before I took office, I made a promise to the fine people of this county that I would be ever-present and supremely attentive to the many duties of the office. I have delivered on that promise on a daily basis. I also vowed to follow the law in all things, and that vow has never been compromised.

Because of my presence and attention, problems with the county’s finances were exposed and dealt with immediately. The county’s self-pay health insurance plan was found to be a boondoggle, and I worked to get it replaced with an option that wouldn’t bankrupt the county. As budget officer, I discovered that funds to be used for the jail bond payment had not been set aside as required by law. That damage was quickly repaired. Additionally, I exposed the county’s insolvency and set to work to help put together a more conservative and responsible fiscal policy for the county budget. Financially, the county is moving in the right direction, but there is still plenty to do.

Elections in our county are growing, and I strive to keep them as efficient and fair as possible. I brook no nonsense when it comes to election law, especially in the areas of improper registration, filing, or outright fraud. I have not been afraid to prosecute offenders or to disqualify those who choose to go against the statutes in place. I would also put the accuracy of our county’s registration files up against any other county in the state.

As the hub of county business, my office is extremely busy. My staff and I work hard to not only do our own jobs, but also to help other offices function better. We navigate the labyrinth that is human resources, get the county’s bills processed and paid on time, and perform countless ancillary tasks for the entire county so that each office can focus upon its own statutory duties without worrying about how the lights are going to stay on or whether the plumbing is going to leak. Truly, I would not be as successful in the day-to-day operations of county business if it were not for my magnificent staff.

Four years ago, you elected me to be a leader for this county, and I have done so with integrity, knowledge, and tenacity. On November 6, I ask that you leave no doubt as to who should continue to lead on the county’s path to improvement. Please cast your vote for me, John G. Martin, for Clerk to the County Commission.

Jason Chipman

My name is Jason Chipman and I would appreciate your vote for State Representative. I live in Steelville with my wife Elane and our four children. After graduating from Steelville High School, I served in the U.S. Navy for five years as a Machinist Mate on the aircraft carrier USS John F. Kennedy. I was deployed twice to the Persian Gulf as part of Operation Southern Watch. I earned the Good Conduct, Armed Forces Expeditionary, Navy Expeditionary, National Defense medals, as well as two Sea Service medals and a Flag Commendation.

After being honorably discharged, I moved back to Missouri to start my 14-year tenure at Brewer Science in Rolla. While at Brewer, I earned an associate’s degree from East Central College and a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Drury University.

We have accomplished much during my four years as your State Representative. I say “we” because it is your voice that I take with me to Jefferson City to continue protecting our freedoms while advancing our communities. We have made advancements such as expanding rural broadband, making college more affordable, and reducing regulations that prevent people from starting new businesses. I have also returned over $100,000 dollars to the taxpayers by running my office efficiently.

I voted for record funding for public education. In 2017, we fully funded the education formula for the first time ever and did it again in 2018, while also balancing the budget and cutting taxes. This year, I voted for the creation of a special fund to raise the starting salary for teachers. The only changes to the teachers’ retirement system I endorsed were those the teachers were in favor of. Taking care of our teachers is taking care of our children.

As your conservative voice, I have protected our Second Amendment rights and the right to life for every unborn baby. Democrats openly advocate for extreme gun control and for abortion on demand.

Americans and Missourians come first. That’s why I voted against Democrat-sponsored legislation that would have given your Missouri tax dollars to illegal immigrants for higher education. Democrats want to open the borders to flood our country with illegal immigrants, overwhelming our systems.

I believe what a person does on their own property is their business as long as it doesn’t infringe on the rights of their neighbors. Democrats want to control every pond and puddle on your property – personal and commercial. Our local outfitters could be held responsible for every violation of their customers on the rivers, instead of the customers themselves. This would ultimately lead to a decrease in revenue for our outfitters and our district.

I have already drafted a bill to combat the opioid epidemic, and I intend to re-file a bill to give more resources to babies born addicted to drugs. We have many issues facing our district, and with your support, I plan to continue fighting for our rural Missouri values. I would appreciate your vote on November 6.

Theresa Schmitt  

I have lived in my car and I have lived on a tropical island, but 25 years ago I chose to live in the Ozarks to raise my family. My parents, Jim and Nancy Schmitt, retired to Steelville when I was in high school. When I graduated, I went to St. Louis University, earning my aircraft mechanic’s license. On weekends, I spent time enjoying our creeks as an enthusiast for our environment and the sport of skeet shooting with my shotgun as a strong supporter of the Second Amendment.

Since my decision to move back into the Ozarks, I have been trained as a domestic violence hotline worker, I’ve become a board member for Onondaga Friends Association, and have been the top agent for my real estate office in St. James. I have built and restored numerous homes through the years in our communities. I have opened my homes as a shelter for recovering addicts and domestic violence victims for the last 23 years. Currently, I am owner and operator of my upholstery business of 18 years and have three students for this trade. I am also enrolled at UMSL as a full-time student for Political Science and Communication. I have raised my three children mostly by myself. My children, Kevin, who is a security guard; Mark, who is a disabled Navy vet; and Danielle Brand, who just graduated from university, are all a blessing in my life.     
I do not have a personal agenda, and instead I care for the individuals in our communities. I will be a representative with a bipartisan voice for all constituents, and that’s why both Republicans and Democrats are supporting me. I am a person who is tenacious enough to fight for education, unions, and rural healthcare.  

I understand the importance of higher education balanced with trade schools. The budget for fully-funded schools has been stagnant and reduced, so I will fight to turn this around. I’m against diluting our public school funds by funneling money to private or voucher school systems. I also believe our teachers need better pay and their retirement funds left intact.  Missouri voted for unions, and I will fight for Missouri’s decision for improved wages and benefits. I am opposing anti-labor laws. I understand the need for rural healthcare expansion to maintain our personal dignity. Rural healthcare effects many aspects of our lives. The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program has proven to reduce overdoses when implemented and has been a step in the right direction for our communities. We cannot argue about this crisis; instead we must implement solutions by listening to all our sources.

Choosing to live in in the Ozarks should not be burdened with a lack of choices in the 21st century. I can see from living and working in our communities what we need and deserve, and I am planning on taking these observations to Jefferson City as your MO House Representative for District 120. Please consider voting for me on November 6. Never hesitate to contact me at 573-263-8663 or


Cape files as write-in candidate for county clerk - UPDATED

Current Crawford County Clerk John Martin has opposition in his bid for re-election. On Wednesday, October 17, Tamra Cape filed as a write-in candidate for the office so that voters could choose to write in her name on the ballot at the November 6 General Election.

On Tuesday morning, Martin reported that Cape was ineligible as a candidate because she did not meet all of the general qualifications to run for county office due to her not being current on county taxes. Upon investigating the situation, Cape discovered that there was a tax bill that had her name misspelled, one she said she had been unaware of, and which she paid immediately.

Martin subsequently sent notice to Three Rivers Publishing stating, "Ms. Cape swears she didn't know anything about the bill until today. She paid the delinquent bill and, by swearing she knew nothing about it, I allowed that she could be proffered as a write-in candidate."