There will be a four-way race for the open Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney seat after lawyer Myron McNeal announced his candidacy for the position Thursday.
Speaking to a group of family, friends and well-wishers at the Fox Theater, McNeal touted his experience working both criminal and civil cases and said by focusing on drug-related crimes, other criminal activity would lessen.
“If we actively prosecute drug users we can lower other small crime rates,” he told the Democrat. “As an example, I was visiting a girl in the jail this week on a probation violation. She’s a meth user, shooting up every 12 hours and her motivation was to steal things so she could sell them for drugs. She would steal scrap metal or break into homes to get that drug money.
“If we can control the drugs, particularly meth, we can control other things too.”
McNeal has practiced law for the last 11 years, previously working in the manufacturing industry before deciding to go to law school. After graduating, McNeal worked in criminal and civil law and was appointed by former Mayor Bob Wasson to be the Assistant Municipal Judge for conflict cases. In addition, McNeal has served as the city judge for Smithton and La Monte and represented juvenile offenders.
“About 40 percent of my practice is in criminal law,” McNeal told the crowd on Thursday. “I can assure the people of Pettis County that I will actively prosecute those who commit crimes. I believe drug users and drug dealers make a choice to violate the law, drug abusers are not a victim of circumstance.”
McNeal acknowledged voter turnout for primary elections is generally low, and encouraged those in attendance to “come out and vote.”
“There are a couple of hotly contested races this year and I hope the turn out is good,” he said. “I ask for your vote for prosecuting attorney.”
McNeal will face off with Pettis County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Phillip Sawyer, Stoddard County Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Andrew Rehmer and lawyer Kim Tanner for the open position during the Aug. 3 Republican primary. Currently no Democrat challengers have filed for the seat.
Current Prosecutor Jeff Mittelhauser is leaving the seat after 28 years to run for the Divison 6 Associate Circuit Judge position, being left vacant by Judge Robert Liston.
Candidate filing closes March 25.