By Mark Vasto
It's the end of an era in Platte County politics: Betty Knight will not run for re-election in November 2010, instead choosing to retire.
“At the end of December 2010 and 16 years as an elected official, I will retire as Platte County Presiding Commissioner," Knight announced in a statement released Monday. “It has been a great honor and privilege to have served the citizens of Platte County.”
Knight, whose announcement quells speculation about her future ambitions that has run rampant at the County Administration in recent years, said she is retiring to spend more time with her family.
"My husband, Bill, and I have two daughters and their families living on opposite coasts," Knight said. "We look forward to a more flexible schedule in 2011 and the ability to travel more often and at a leisurely pace."
Leisure time, at least to Betty Knight, includes farming: "I also partner with my sister and brother to manage a mid-Missouri 1,000-acre pecan farm."
Knight listed the following as her proudest accomplishments from her past 15 years:
- Lowered the property tax rate to fund county government from 17 cents to 2 cents per $100 assessed valuation
- Built a strong reserve fund of $2 million
- Built a capital projects reserve fund of $200,000+
- Built a $14 million law enforcement center
- Tripled law enforcement funding since 1995
- Developed the county’s first strategic plan (updated in 2008)
- Developed a parks plan; built a park system (community centers, trails, parks and sports fields)
- Developed and implemented a Road’s Master Plan
- Developed and implemented a Land-Use Plan to plan and control growth
Knight, a Republican, will leave a vacuum at the commission that most speculate will be filled by term limited State Rep. Jason Brown. Brown, a Platte City native known best for surviving a sniper attack during a tour of duty in Iraq during his term of office, has been rumored to have interest in the post for years -- his name was bandied about as a primary challenger for Knight in her last election -- and he has yet to make strong statements regarding his future plans. Currently, Brown is exploring a run for the State Senate, where he holds the endorsement of term-limited Senator Charlie Shields.
More in future updates and in this Friday's Luminary.