With 34 years in the Cass County Clerk’s office, incumbent clerk Janet Burlingame is relying on her experience to keep her in office for another four more years.
Her Republican challenger, Mike Vinck, argues that the office needs a new set of eyes. He’s a former Raymore councilman who now serves on the Cass County Park Board.
Burlingame, a Democrat, is finishing her third term as clerk. Her first job in the office was switchboard operator.
“I’ve made it a career and a top priority of mine,” Burlingame said. “I want to continue to make sure elections are done fairly and efficiently.”
Her long tenure, she said, helps do that.
“I have the experience — and to me that is vitally important in a position such as this,” she said. “Experience far outweighs anything else.”
Vinck said new blood can offer a fresh perspective.
“Bringing a fresh set of eyes is an important thing,” he said. “Sometimes you don’t always see other opportunities, and you can look for areas to improve efficiency and improvements.”
Burlingame’s latest term was marked by allegations of nepotism. The Cass County prosecutor sought to remove Burlingame, alleging that she paid her husband and son to do work for her office from 2003, when she became clerk, until April 2010.
A judge ruled that Burlingame couldn’t be ousted because the acts occurred before her current term began.
If re-elected, Burlingame said, her goals would include exploring more grant opportunities and creating a youth election participation program for students ages 15 to 18.
If he is chosen by voters, Vinck believes he also could ffer better customer service.
“Anybody who talks to me knows my passion for public service,” Vinck said
He says his background in business lends him the skills to work in a county administrative role — and to interact with citizens and other office holders.
Address: 1613 W. Christi Lane, Raymore
Occupation: Sales manager/marketing
Education: No college
Previous public experience: Raymore City Council, 1999-2004; Raymore Board of Zoning Adjustment, 2004-2005; Raymore Board of Zoning, 2012-present; Cass County Park Board, May 2013-present
Website: Facebook: Mike Vinck for Cass County Clerk
Address: 1901 Twin Oaks Drive, Harrisonville
Occupation: Cass County clerk
Education: No college
Previous public experience: First elected county clerk in 2002
Website: Facebook: Janet Burlingame for County Clerk