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Cooley, Keller and Johnston vie for district 2 supervisor seat

Published: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 2:03 p.m. CDT • Updated: Wednesday, Oct. 3, 2012 2:05 p.m. CDT

(Continued from Page 4)

Three candidates are running for Clarke County Supervisor District 2 seat in the Nov. 6 election, including Democratic incumbent Jack Cooley, Republican candidate Larry Keller and independent Joe Johnston.

The three candidates were given the opportunity to answer the same questions. Editor’s note: Some questionnaire answers may have been shortened because of spacing issues.

Jack Cooley

Background information

Cooley has lived in Clarke County his entire life. For the past 50 years, he has worked on a family farm raising cattle, corn and soybeans. Twelve years ago, he ran for the position of Clarke County supervisor, and has served in that capacity for three terms.

Why are you running?

“I am passionate about the opportunities that Clarke County has, and am motivated by the young people, especially my grandchildren. They are our future,” he said. “I have experience in this position and a very clear vision regarding Clarke County’s potential.

Top priorities for the county and why?

Cooley said the past several years have been difficult on Clarke’s secondary roads.

“We have many roads, bridges and culverts that have washed out and need our attention,” he said. “The prices of rock, fuel and equipment have tripled in the last 12 years, yet our secondary-roads budget is approximately the same as 12 years ago.”

Another one of Cooley’s priorities is the completion of the Clarke County reservoir.

Why are you a good candidate for the job?

Cooley said he has the heart for this position, as well as the dedication, experience and perseverance to see the county’s vision implemented.

“Over the past 12 years, I have participated in hundreds of votes,” he said. “I can assure you that I carefully consider the repercussions of each vote, asking myself if this is the best things for Clarke County residents.”

Anything else to add?

Cooley is a fourth-generation resident of Clarke County, his two sons are fifth generation and the plan is for his grandchildren to be sixth-generation residents. The welfare of his grandchildren is always on Cooley’s mind, which is why he strives to make the community the best it can be.

Cooley is available in the Clarke County Courthouse 8 a.m. to noon Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Larry Keller


Keller, 61, has lived in Clarke County his entire life. He is currently employed at Clarke Electric, where he has worked for 41 years.

Why are you running?

“Several people have asked me to run, and I think I would be a good voice for the American taxpayer of Clarke County,” he said.

Top priorities for the county and why?

Keller said he believes the top priorities for Clarke County are taxes and jobs.

Why are you a good candidate for the job?

“I live on a farm and I work in town,” he said. “I know that taxes affect everyone. I want to try and help control it.”

Anything else to add?

“I believe in the people of Clarke County,” Keller said.

Joe Johnston


Johnston, 61, has lived in Clarke County for 22 years with 10 years on a 700-acre farm and 12 years in the city of Osceola. He owns Johnston Properties and Osceola Trailer Sales.

Why are you running?

Johnston said Clarke County has some of the highest taxes in the state, and in February, Clarke County Supervisors voted to exceed maximum state rates in both general-basic and rural-basic taxes.

“I can get spending under control and lower the tax rate by consolidation of services and producing a factual fiscal budget; not one that needs amended eight months into the fiscal year,” he said. “I can bring professionalism and leadership to the Clarke County Supervisor’s office.”

Top priorities for the county and why?

Johnston said he believes the top priorities for the county are water and taxes, including Clarke County reservoir.

“We must reduce taxes,” he said, “which will help create private-sector jobs, expand the tax base and reduce the tax burden on Clarke County residents and business owners.”

Why are you a good candidate for the job?

Johnston said he has more than 30 years of county-government experience, 20 years as a supervisor that includes extensive budget, policy and procedure experience.

He retired from the Polk County Sheriff’s Office after 33 years of service and was a supervisor of employees for about 20 years.

“I believe in research before decisions to justify actions,” he said. “I believe that you must spend less than you take in to balance a budget instead of increasing taxes.”

Anything else to add?

Johnston said leadership and experience should be the controlling factors in the upcoming election. His entire life has been in public service. He has attended more than 50 Clarke County Supervisors’ meetings and has served on the Clarke County Landfill study group. Johnston has been a lead-construction supervisor in Neighbors Helping Neighbors for the past five years.

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