Speaking Personally

What really matters in the Collector’s race
In Tuesday's election, two candidates are running for Howell County Collector — Republican Mark Collins and Independent Janet Crow. I have covered their campaigns in depth for months, and it's time to tell you what I think about all this. You won't find a candidate endorsement here. My honest opinion is that either candidate would perform the duties of the office successfully.
Mark Collins has been a public official for 26 years; Janet Crow is seeking a county office for the first time.
Crow is running as an Independent because Collins challenged her candidacy as a Republican with a lawsuit, alleging her filing documents were incorrect. Collins dismissed the suit when Crow withdrew as a Republican. She completed the initiative process to appear on the ballot as an Independent. They both are conservatives who have consistently shown that they care passionately about this county and its future. 
County Collector is not a policymaking position. Neither Collins nor Crow has much latitude regarding how they will do the job. They must follow state statutes.
This election is about a challenge to the existing power structure in Howell County government. Collins isn't the incumbent in the Collector's seat, but his decades as a commissioner have given this election the flavor of a newcomer challenging a well-established incumbent.
If you are an undecided voter, the question you should ask yourself is this: Does Mark Collins deserve to be rewarded for his 26 years in county government?
If you think, as Collins says himself, that Howell County is in excellent financial shape because of his leadership, you should vote for Mark. A vote for Collins says you are happy with the way things are running in Howell County and that he has earned the highest-paid seat in county government. 
If you think, as Crow alleges, that he is an entrenched bureaucrat, you should vote for Janet. A vote for Crow is a vote of no-confidence in Collins' past performance and the desire to let fresh air blow through the county offices.
It will all come down to who actually shows up at the polls on Nov. 8.
I predict a close race.
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