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Boone commission candidates debate COVID-19 response in forum

Candidates for Boone County Commission faced questions about the response to COVID-19 during Wednesday night’s Columbia Chamber of Commerce forum.

Democratic Northern District incumbent Janet Thompson says she supports the health director’s orders, and says they are key to bouncing back.

“The economic development piece of it is we’ve got to have a healthy community first, and it comes hand-in-glove with the ultimate economic recovery.”

Republican challenger Tristan Asbury says he supports health orders too. But he wants more commission oversight of the health director, and more federal relief cash in the community.

“The county has yet to utilize millions of dollars in CARES [Act] funding that was designed to help provide relief for families, small businesses, and nonprofits in need. It’s critical that they do that at this very moment.”

Southern District Republican incumbent Fred Parry says Boone County is doing well with the health response, but needs to focus more on economic recovery. Parry says his decades in the public and private sector help. He founded Inside Columbia magazine, which is now owned by Zimmer Communications.

“I’ve had a front row seat for the last 30 years on what makes Columbia and Boone County such a special place to live. The difference between myself and my opponent tonight is all about experience.”

His challenger, Democrat Justin Aldred, says the best way to support the local economy is to follow health orders. He used to work under Missouri Auditor Nicole Galloway, and has served in the U.S. Army and National Guard.

“I believe Boone County needs to strike a balance between controlling the virus and maintaining the economic infrastructure that allows businesses to operate both safely and profitably. And the best way to support our local economy is to reduce and control the number of positive COVID-19 cases.”

Watch the entire forum at the link below:

(This story was last updated at 9:12 a.m. on Nov. 2.)

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