May 18, 2024

Two run for position of sheriff

Editor’s note - Both candidates were given the same questionnaire; only minor changes have been made for formatting. Additional candidates for other county positions will appear in upcoming issues.

There are two Republican candidates for the position of Clarke County Sheriff who will appear on the ballot in the June 4 primary - George Barber III and incumbent Rob Kovacevich.

Responses appear in alphabetical order.

George Barber III

George Barber III

Background/Why are you running for this position?

My family and I moved to Clarke County from Maryland in 2002. My wife and I have been married for 30 years, have six children (three are married), two grandchildren and two more on the way. Over a period of about three years we were foster parents to six children.

We live on and operate a small ‘hobby’ farm here in Clarke County. We are a Christian family, always active in our community and members of Cornerstone Community Church in Chariton.

I am a full-time deputy with the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office. I started as a reserve deputy in 2008 and was hired on full time in 2014.

A graduate of the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, chaplain, journey bricklayer (BAC Local 3), associate and graduate degrees in theology and a lifelong Republican.

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

The number one responsibility of the Sheriff is to support and defend the Constitution of the United States and Iowa. I believe my law enforcement certification, life experiences, love for our country and deep respect for the Constitution make me a strong candidate for Sheriff of Clarke County.

What goals do you have planned for this position?

If elected, my goals would include: continuing the 24/7 coverage Clarke County expects and depends on, being involved in our county/cities events and schools, keeping all fellow employees well trained, working closely with fellow citizens concerning criminal activities, assisting those who seek help with substance abuse addictions. And to be a part of the community where the people of Clarke County see and know their Sheriff, Deputies, Jailers and Clerks as friendly and trustworthy partners in keeping our county a great place to live, work, play, raise a family and enjoy retirement.

Rob Kovacevich

Rob Kovacevich

Background:

I was raised in Rathbun, Iowa. I attended Centerville Community Schools, and am a graduate of Centerville High School class of 1990. After high school, I attended Indian Hills Community College. I was employed for seven years at Fareway Stores in Centerville.

In 1997, I became a reserve deputy for the Appanoose County Sheriff Office. In June of 1998, I was hired by the Clarke County Sheriff as a Deputy. I worked as deputy for eight years, and was then promoted to Chief Deputy for 10 years. In November of 2016, I ran for office of the sheriff and was elected sheriff, an office I have held for the last seven and a half years.

Why are you running for this position?

For the last 26 years, I have worked for the citizens of Clarke County. I want to continue working for the citizens of Clarke County, making it a safe place to live and raise your family.

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

I am the only candidate with knowledge and experience of the running the Sheriff Office’s daily operations. I run a strict budget, always keeping the citizens of Clarke County tax dollars in mind. I am also in charge of the jail and dispatchers - I have 21 employees at the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.

I still do the daily duties of a deputy sheriff - patrol county roads, serve civil papers and garnishments. I am out with my deputies during criminal investigations, helping or leading the investigations. I cover my deputies vacation days and sick days. I am willing to work weekends when needed. I have a good working relationship with the surrounding counties and cities, willing to help them when called upon.

I am very familiar with all the roads in Clarke County, as well as Murray and Woodburn, and the citizens who live in these areas. This allows me to have a rapid response time if an emergency should arise.

I am the only candidate who is jail certified through the state of Iowa to work in the jail and handle all the jail issues as they arise.

What goals do you have planned for this position?

I want to continue giving the citizens of Clarke County the best law enforcement coverage like they deserve. I want to continue providing the citizens of Clarke County a sheriff office that they can be proud of and are not scared to call upon for any situation that arises.

I have a strong Clarke County sheriff reserve program that is continuing to grow in numbers. They are a very valuable asset to the Clarke County Sheriff’s Office.

I am proud to say that Clarke County Sheriff’s Office will continue to have great working relations with Clarke County Ambulance staff, and the Osceola, Murray and Woodburn fire departments and first responders.

Candra Brooks

A native of rural Union County, Candra holds a Bachelor's Degree in English from Simpson College and an Associate's Degree in Accounting from SWCC. She has been at the Osceola newspaper since October 2013, working as office manager before transitioning to the newsroom in spring 2022.