Candidate forum set for June 29 at Van Buren County Justice Center

By | June 28, 2018 12:52 pm

Last Updated: June 28, 2018 at 12:53 pm

By Hansel Moore, contributor

Van Buren County Democrat Party and Van Buren County Republican Party are hosting a candidate question-and-answer forum, at 6 p.m., June 29, 2018, at the new administrative/justice center. The following candidates have been invited:

State Representative

Cameron Sexton (incumbent – Republican)

Ann Quillen (Democrat)

City of Spencer mayor

Mickey Robinson (incumbent)

Duane Hodges

Jeff Walling


Eddie Carter (incumbent)

Mark Evans

Questions will be asked by the moderator and explanation of the rules. Also, the audience will have an opportunity to asked questions.

An interview with both of the candidates for sheriff are as follows.


“Leaders are made, not born.”

“After serving in the Army for 13 years I returned to Van Buren County and began my career in law enforcement in May of 1996 and have served continuously for 22 years,” said Carter. “I served with the city of Spencer for 17 years prior to becoming sheriff in 2013. I take pride in saying that I was the first SRO in Van Buren County. During that time I also worked as a boating officer with the TWRA for several years to expand my knowledge of the laws of the state.”

In May 2013, Carter was appointed by the Van Buren County Commission to the position of sheriff. Within the next year, he was on the campaign trail to be elected to the position.

“During my campaign as sheriff, the people of Van Buren County asked me to address the serious drug problem in an aggressive manner,” said Carter. “I established relationships with outside agencies on the state and local levels. As of April 2018, the department has made 486 drug-related arrests, not counting citations in lieu of arrest. We have also seized thousands of dollars and several vehicles through the drug seizure process. Some of these vehicles may be used by the county and/or sold to ease the burden on the county for operating cost.

“I take great pride in serving the people of Van Buren County and working with the surrounding counties to accomplish a common goal – SERVING THE PEOPLE. This is not an eight-hour-a-day job, and one must be diligent in the pursuit of justice and the duties that come with the position as sheriff. “

  • What will be the most challenging thing for the sheriff department in the next four years?

“Relocating to the new facility,” said Carter. “We will have to get familiarized with the new equipment and facility, while continuing ongoing operations with inmates and employees. We will have to hire more correctional officers and make sure that they are trained.”

  • What changes do you see for the Sheriff’s department in the next term?

“Law enforcement will have to adapt to different criminal activity as new drugs become popular,” said Carter. “We will have to be proactive to curb the things that are going on. A sheriff must be able to adapt and use common sense”.

  • Why are you the best candidate for the position of sheriff?

“I believe that my military training taught me discipline,” said Carter. “This, along with my faith, has given me a strong work ethic and ability to adapt to any challenge while serving as the sheriff and leading members of the department.”

“I am willing to do the right thing. I am able to utilize assets to meet goals. I approach hard subjects that are part of this position with common sense. I enjoy serving the people of Van Buren County and would like to continue to do so.”


“Being sheriff is a calling, your heart has to be in it.”

“When I first started thinking about running for sheriff, I asked my church to pray,” said Evans. “ I didn’t tell them what it was about, but I wanted to make sure that I was supposed to run for sheriff. The answer to my prayer was that I should run. My wife has provided 100 percent support for my decision, and I couldn’t do it without that.”

Mark Evans is a 1993 graduate of Van Buren High school, and, until the decision to run for the office of sheriff, he was employed as a deputy of the Van Buren Sheriff Department.

“As a deputy, you have to support the sheriff’s agenda 100 percent,” said Evans. “I didn’t think that it would be appropriate to be a candidate against the sheriff while running for the office.

“I have over 20 years of law enforcement experience. I became a deputy in February of 1998 and stayed until February of this year.”

Evans is the third member of his immediate family to run for the office of sheriff of Van Buren County. His father, Donnie Evans, and his brother, Barney Evans, have also worn the badge of Van Buren County sheriff.

  • What will be the most challenging thing for the next sheriff?

“It will be the new jail and the job of staffing it,” said Evans. “It will require the hiring of additional correctional staff. The sheriff’s office requires a lot of money to run, and the jail will definitely add to that. “

What changes do you see for the sheriff’s department in the next term?

“The biggest problem I see is prescription medications and the number of people who are getting addicted,” said Evans, “So many people that start off as needing pain medication become addicted, and this is affecting them and their families. I would like to see some type of addiction treatment or counseling be offered at the jail for all those who are being housed that can’t afford or don’t get accepted to an inpatient treatment facility while there. So many of those addicted don’t have, nor do their families, the means financially to get accepted into a quality rehab facility. “

  • Why are you the best candidate for the position of sheriff?

“I know that being sheriff is more than just driving fast and chasing people like they show on TV,” said Evans. “There is a lot of behind-the-scene stuff like investigations and paperwork. I am the kind of guy that wants to treat others the way that I want to be treated. I want to see increased patrols in the community.

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