Sedalia attorney Kimberly Tanner received an enthusiastic response from supporters following her Friday morning announcement that she will seek the Republican Party nomination for Pettis County Prosecuting Attorney.
Her announcement is the first in what will be a wide open field of candidates after 28-year incumbent Prosecuting Attorney Jeff Mittelhauser confirmed to the Democrat that he will not seek reelection in November.
Tanner, who has maintained a private practice in Sedalia dealing mainly in family law for 11 years, told a large group of supporters at Pettis County Courthouse that she was motivated to run because of “a tremendous amount of dysfunction and brokenness” she has seen in the county’s legal system.
“I am fed up with the wake of devastation that I see criminal activity having on innocent victims and our community at large,” Tanner said. “”My vision for our county is for improved quality of life and increased public safety. I believe that is accomplished by attacking the root cause of criminal activity and then pursuing more efficient and effective ways to punish the activity.”
She said she would be a strong advocate for drug and treatment courts, citing drugs, alcohol and truancy as “root causes” of a host of ills felt throughout the community including crimes directly attributed to substance abuse, such as drug possession and drunk driving, as well as property crimes, domestic abuse and other violent crimes.
“As a prosecutor, I will sternly pursue convictions and demand punishment in accordance with the desired ethical and moral standards of this community,” Tanner said.
She is a lifelong resident of Pettis County, graduating from Smith-Cotton High School in 1990. She earned an associates degree from State Fair Community College, a bachelors degree from the University of Central Missouri and her law degree from the University of Missouri - Columbia.
Tanner is married, and she and her husband, Donny, have three children.
Following her announcement, Mittelhauser told the Democrat that he will not seek another term in office.
“For the first time in more than two decades I can see myself doing something other than this job,” he said.
He said he is still trying to decide his next move, contemplating possibly running for another office or going into private practice, but expects to make a final decision in the coming weeks.
“This has been a very satisfying job and I have enjoyed working with the people here in this office, in the court system and the law enforcement agencies,” Mittelhauser said.
He hinted that another candidate with “more experience prosecuting criminal cases” may come forward, but praised Tanner as a qualified attorney.
“I think she would make a fine prosecutor,” he said.
Filing for the August primary opens Feb. 25 and closes March 25. A candidate for prosecuting attorney must be at least 21 years of age, licensed to practice law in the state of Missouri and a resident of the county one year prior to the November general election.