Editor’s Note: This article has been updated to correct information about Brent Hampy’s involvement with the Farm Bureau.
As the general election draws near, the Pettis County Pachyderm Club heard from the only local Republican candidate in a contested race at the county level during Friday’s meeting.
Pettis County Eastern Commissioner Brent Hampy, who defeated fellow Republican Darrell Slaughter in the August primary, spoke Friday at Best Western State Fair Inn about his qualifications for a second four-year term. He will face Democrat Charles McCormack in the Nov. 8 general election.
Hampy said his goals and qualifications include “efficient use of road and bridge funds, experience working with rural landowners and agriculture producers, and effective leadership in community affairs.”
Much of Hampy’s experience is with road construction, which is one of the main responsibilities of a commissioner, along with maintaining the county’s budget and assisting with economic development.
“We have quite a few gravel road that require quite a bit of maintenance and upkeep, especially during years like this where we had consecutive hard rains in the northern part of the county, which was really a toll on us and required a lot of man-hours to repair those roads,” he said. “So we are looking for additional ways we can economically afford to continue to hard-surface more roads.”
Hampy explained how asphalt prices are now cheaper than they have been in recent years, but that those prices can still be steep for the county to face, so chip-and-seal becomes a viable option to extend the life of a road. However, Hampy noted that he and his fellow commissioners are looking into other affordable and quality options to create more hard-surface roads.
One such option is Base One, which the county is already using and is one of only a few counties using it.
“We reclaim or till a road and inject a chemical, almost like a plastic, with water and then allow that to cure and it hardens to a very hard base and then we apply a chip-seal on top of that,” Hampy explained. “Chip-seal is basically a coating meant to preserve asphalt, it’s not meant to be the entire hard-surfacing product, but with the hard base, we’re chip-sealing the top, which is quite a bit less money.”
The county used the Base One/chip-seal combination on Hughesville Road two years ago and “it seems to be holding up very well,” Hampy said. “We’re very pleased with it.”
He added that they are continuing to watch Hughesville Road to see how the product holds up.
Talking about the other two points in his platform, Hampy reminded the audience of his role as past president of the Pettis County Farm Bureau, as well as his current service on the Missouri Farm Bureau State Board of Directors and the Sedalia-Pettis County Economic Development board.
“I’ve been a landowner for 30 years, been in rural areas all my life, feel comfortable talking to rural landowners and I think that’s important as a county commissioner to have someone who understands agriculture,” he said.
“… Those three things — the result of having efficient use of road and bridge funds, working experience and community development affairs experience — the result is a signature project like the Katy Trail Overpass where we’ve partnered with Sedalia, we’ve partnered with MoDOT,” he continued. “We’ve created a project that benefited basically all citizens in Pettis County that use Highway 50 to make a safer driving experience as well as a safer experience for the people using the Katy Trail.”
Hampy spent the remainder of his speaking time talking about a new road improvement innovation for Pettis County, which was initially thought of by Pettis County Western Commissioner Jim Marcum. The new product is a combination of creek rock, limestone and pieces of scrap rubber tire that have been milled down to a chip size similar to the rock size.
The county received a grant from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources and has been working with Missouri S&T in Rolla to lab-test the new product. The first field testing is scheduled to take place next week. The Democrat will publish another article detailing the new road product in an upcoming edition.
Nicole Cooke can be reached at 660-530-0138 or on Twitter @NicoleRCooke.