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Political newcomers Dean, Main in contest for District 7 seat on Quorum Court

by Tom Sissom | October 18, 2022 at 3:30 a.m.
District 7 voters will choose between Charles Dean (left) and Sherry Main for a seat on the Washington County Quorum Court.

FAYETTEVILLE -- District 7 voters will choose between Sherry Main and Charles Dean for a seat on the Washington County Quorum Court.

Main defeated Devonta Dickerson in the Democratic Party primary to win the party's nomination. Dean was unopposed in the Republican Party primary. The incumbent, Sam Duncan, didn't run for reelection.

The Quorum Court is the legislative body of county government and is composed of members called justices of the peace, who are elected to two-year terms. The 15-member Washington County Quorum Court has four Democrats and 11 Republicans.

Early voting starts Monday. Election Day is Nov. 8.

Main said she has been active in speaking for the community when issues such the expansion of a quarry operation have come before the Quorum Court. She said she wants to take that experience to the level of representing the area as a justice of the peace.

"I am a lifelong resident of Washington County and I stay on top of things happening in the area and with my community," she said.

Dean said his main interests are in seeing that county infrastructure, roads, bridge, drainage and other issues are properly addressed.

"We've got a lot of overweight vehicles that are tearing up county roads and the taxpayers are having to step up and fix them," he said.

The two candidates have opposing views on one of the larger issues facing Washington County, a proposed expansion of the county's Detention Center.

The Quorum Court in July approved an ordinance setting a Nov. 8 special election on a proposal to issue of up to $113.5 million in bonds for a jail expansion and up to $28.5 million in bonds for a Juvenile Justice Center expansion project. The bonds would be paid by a 0.25% sales tax increase that would expire when the bonds are paid.

Dean said he favors the jail expansion.

"I am interested in county infrastructure and I know things like our county jail are not adequate for the number of people we have coming into the area," he said. "I do know the jail is lacking in adequate funding and that needs to be addressed."

Main said she thinks the county has alternatives to building a bigger jail.

"We need to view it differently than just building another, expanded jail," she said. The county's Criminal Justice Coordinating Committee has come up with ways to streamline the justice system. We have people on FTAs (failure to appear warrants) and other nonviolent offenders in jail. If they can be booked in and released that will open up a lot of beds for more serious offenders."

Main said she's also interested in updating the county's budget process and with the planning and zoning.

Dean said the county needs to focus on the bigger issues, such as public safety and seeing services are keeping up with population growth in the area.

Each justice of the peace represents a district of roughly equal population. Redistricting for justice of the peace seats took place late last year. District 7 covers parts of western Fayetteville, including the area around Rupple Road north of Wedington Drive as well as parts of Farmington.

Washington County justices of the peace are paid $200 per meeting for Quorum Court and committee meetings they attend.

Charles Dean (R)

Age: 65

Residency: Rural Washington County for seven years.

Occupation: Retired heavy equipment operator.

Education: Dundee High School, Dundee, Ill.

Political experience: None

Sherry Main (D)

Age: 61

Residency: Lifelong resident of Washington County

Occupation: Self-employed, bookkeeping and tax service

Education: Graduated from Farmington High School, certificate of enrollment to practice before the Internal Revenue Service

Political experience: None


Print Headline: Dean, Main in contest for District 7 seat on Quorum Court


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