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New era begins in Clay County government after voters adopt new constitution

Clay County Courthouse
Posted at 4:46 PM, Nov 06, 2020

LIBERTY, Mo. — On Tuesday, voters in Clay County overwhelmingly chose to support a new county constitution by just over 81-percent of the vote.

The main difference residents will see is the county commission will expand from three seats to seven seats.

Kevin Graham was one of the 14 members who crafted the new constitution.

"I think everyone’s really encouraged, everyone’s hopeful that this is going to be the right vehicle to get the county moving forward," Graham said.

Along with expanding the commission, it adds term limits, a path to recalling a politician, and a way for people to watch what happens in the county's chamber from home.

"Coming in January they’ll be required that they be live-streamed in some manner that way that the citizens can see what their government is doing," Graham said.

With the increased number of decision makers, presiding Commissioner Jerry Nolte believes this will create better policies.

"When you have more eyes on a problem and you also got the ability it makes it easier to come up with constructive solutions and it makes building consensus in ways a little easier and more important," Nolte said.

Megan Thompson and Jon Carpenter will join Nolte on the commission for the next couple of years before it expands.

"The first thing we got to get done is restore that trust of the folks that live here and that means accountability it means transparency," Carpenter said. "I have every faith that we’re going to be able to get that done and give the people of this area representation that they can be proud of."

The new constitution goes into effect Jan, 1, 2021 and it will take the two years before it's fully rolled out.

The full constitution can be read here.

41 Action News is committed to providing comprehensive information on the 2020 primary and general elections with an emphasis on several key issues — the economy, the COVID-19 pandemic and race relations. Count on us to provide news and information to help you make an informed choice at the polls.