Dear Editor and Johnson County Voters

As the current President of The Republican Women Of Johnson County I have been asked repeatedly about the local elections, whom should folks vote for this office or that office.
I, of course, cannot tell anyone whom to vote for as it is against our by-laws.
But one race (Sheriff’s race) in particular has gotten a lot of attention. I do have opinions on the job as Sheriff. I have heard the candidates and for the most part they are sincere about wanting to improve the Johnson County Sheriff’s office.
I have talked to Mike Reece and others about the problems he experiences every day keeping this County safe. He has a budget that only allows a certain amount of dollars for each department.
People complain to me about the drug problem in the County, and I now understand the reason why his budget only allows the Sheriff to have one officer for a drug task force. We need at least two. But there is no money available for more.
Another very serious issue is school safety. Are the voters aware that we have only one full time resource officer for all of the schools except the high school? The School Board pays for the high school officer, if my information is correct. The budget again has no money for additional officers.
I can go department by department and explain why we have shortfalls. It all boils down to how much money is granted for the Sheriff’s work.
The simple truth is, they need more funds to do the job, we as taxpayers and citizens expect our city to be safe, our schools to be safe, but are you wiling to pay a little more in taxes for it?
The fact is that our Sheriff’ is protecting the county on a shoestring budget. We as taxpayers need to ask our county commissioners how they feel about raising taxes or finding other creative ways to grant the Sheriff more funds to do the job.
Now, one other question I have been asked is “How do you feel about the Court House Security?
Well this is just my opinion but I would rather see Judges, Lawyers, office staff, and elected officials carrying a gun to work than an elementary school teacher carrying a gun to class.
Fact: There have been 30 school gun related incidents in 2018 alone in the US; I do not have data on courthouse incidents.
So to sum it up I vote for the candidate of choice but know that whoever is elected he will need the proper tools to work with and the funds necessary to do a good job.
These are just my thoughts and I hope that this letter helps you to make the best choice for our beloved county.

Gwen Bell