Dan Atwill, Presiding Commissioner of Boone County
- What’s the biggest challenge of your job? Our biggest challenge is to use limited resources to satisfy virtually unlimited needs. Whether it be roads and bridges, law enforcement, mental health, or any of the countless other needs our county has, we must balance the various issues that confront us daily.
- You started your career in the U.S. Air Force before going on to practice law. How did your military and legal background prepare you for your current position? I believe military experience broadens your perspective and exposes people to organizational issues on a large scale, and everything we do has legal implications, so a background in law is very useful. Many years of practicing law involved exposure to many diverse problems and diverse personalities.
- What do you feel is the most pressing issue the commission is currently addressing? There are many pressing issues that take on different levels of importance — sometimes for good reasons and sometimes for reasons that are hard to identify. Because we’re blessed with continual growth, we’re constantly challenged with infrastructure issues, especially road maintenance and construction.
- What’s been your most fulfilling accomplishment while serving as presiding commissioner? Helping to improve Route Z — including the installation of a roundabout at the St. Charles Road intersection — was satisfying because it fixed a very dangerous intersection that Battle High School students needed to access every day. The new bridge over I-70 was also important for industrial development in the area.
- What advice would you give someone considering a run for public office? Plan on working much harder than most people would believe.
- Specifically considering transportation and infrastructure, do you have a “wish list” of projects you would pursue if funding were no issue? In my opinion, the most difficult infrastructure problem is the intersection of I-70 and Highway 63. MoDOT considers it a failed intersection, and more traffic is being added every year. It’s a state road problem, but it affects our daily lives. An organized effort to improve that intersection is needed to encourage future improvements.
- Is there anything you would like the public to be more informed about that doesn’t grab headlines? The daily activities of all elected officials and department heads needs to be illustrated to the public. Many important and interesting things are going on and are being accomplished by dedicated people who are doing great work for the citizens of the county. We hope to publicize these efforts more in the future.
- What guiding principles or values help you perform your duties? Try to learn all the pros and cons of every issue and base decisions on facts and data.
- What is the best way for Boone County voters to stay informed regarding actions of the commission? For our weekly agenda and scheduled activities, check out showmeboone.org. The county has several boards and commissions that are composed of citizens who work very hard and are deeply involved in specific county responsibilities. We’re fortunate to have the participation of these highly qualified and dedicated people. Their work leads to the improvement of our county. I would encourage people to consider applying to participate in these important organizations — they can check the website for vacancies.
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