Presiding Commissioner

Scott Nelson (R)

After completing dental school at UMKC School of Dentistry, my wife, Pam, and I chose to come back to St Joseph to practice with her father, Dr. Larry Jones. We raised our two sons, Adam and Matt, here, and I ran my own dental practice before retiring in 2020.

I am a member of Brookdale Presbyterian Church since 1987. I have served as an elder, deacon, mission committee member, usher, and chairman of the Finance committee. I have taught Sunday School on the JH, HS, and adult levels. I am in a small group Bible study that has been together for over 20 years.

My hobbies include golf, woodworking, reading, gardening, yard work, and traveling.

Life’s Motto: Treat others the way you would like to be treated


Through the years, I have served our community in many capacities: St Joseph Christian School board member, SJCS JH boys and girls basketball coach, SJCS assistant Varsity girls basketball coach for 12 years, InterServ board member, started the dental program at the Social Welfare Board, United Way campaign, past member of Eastside Rotary,  St Joseph Parks, Recreation, and Civic Facilities advisory board member, NWMO master gardener, University of Missouri Extension in Buchanan County Council member/facilities coordinator/treasurer, mason, and Moila Shrine

Our Candidate Summary

Socially Conservative
Fiscal Conservative

These assessments are based on the answers or lack of answers supplied by the candidates. Scott’s responses indicate a socially conservative and fiscally conservative position.

Scott on the Issues

What part does faith play in your desire to run for office?

I would like to think that I’m open to see where God provides opportunities to serve Him. I believe God opened this door and provided this opportunity for me to serve my community in this capacity as the presiding commissioner of Buchanan County.

What parts of the county government would receive more attention if you were elected?

Public safety, economic development opportunities for the county/city and fiscal responsibility.

Do you plan to promote any changes to existing taxes? If so, why?

There is an ambulance tax that was enacted to start-up the county ambulance service. I would look towards reducing/removing it as the program gets closer to self-sustainability.

Are the county’s taxes too low, high, or just right?

Without being part of a budgeting session for the county and knowing exactly where designated and undesignated taxes are applied, it is hard to say at this point. The commissioners need to be prudent in their spending of citizens taxes.

What do you see as the most pressing needs for infrastructure or capital projects in the county?

Infrastructure/capital projects should be looked at from a long-term point of view. Invest in projects that will last and continue to provide jobs, education and products for our community.

Should the county be encouraging building and development?

We should be looking at areas that are designated economic opportunity zones and try to promote these areas to potential developers or businesses.

What budgetary adjustments may need to be made within the county’s fiscal priorities?

Budgetary adjustments are made in the general (undesignated) fund. This is where the county services are funded. These services need to be looked at yearly to determine if the goals for these service entities are still in line with what the commission feels are the citizen’s needs.

When managing public agencies, is it better to have more employees at a modest wage or fewer employees at a wage high enough to attract quality applicants?

Fewer employees working more efficiently and with high quality expectations are better than more mediocre employees. We need to be competitive in our salary structures all the while demanding and expecting excellence in performance.

Should more county services be contracted with private providers or done by the government? What is the appropriate balance?

I believe the county should contract with agencies who have proven they can do the service. Let the experts do the work. Hire good people and let them ply their trade.

What is the county’s responsibility to public education, and what would you prioritize?

The county commissioners need to realize that college isn’t for everyone. We should support trade/technical schools in their endeavor to fill the gap in teaching and training this potential work force. I have said, that if you have a trade and are good at it, you will be needed.

How would you be able to encourage new business development within the county?

I would champion the fact that Buchanan County is a great place to work and raise a family. I would point out the benefits I have seen living here these last 35 years. How many towns/counties our size can boast of having a parkway system that is envied, a state university, NFL training camp, at least 6 internationally renown companies, a top 50 regional medical center/hospital, a symphony orchestra, art museum, 8 high schools, golf courses, tennis centers, and Air National Guard at Rosecrans. All with a population of under 100,000 in the county. We have a lot to offer potential new businesses that may want to locate here.

If elected, how would you communicate with the citizens of Buchanan County?

Transparency is an important aspect when dealing with and spending tax revenues. It is sad but most folks couldn’t tell you where the commissioner’s office is located, much less know what all they support. Meetings are all open to the public (personnel issues that may come up are the exception). Meeting times are posted every week in the newspaper. Even with all of that, attendance by the public is scarce if none existent. I would try to get with the service groups (i.e. Rotary, Lions, etc.) at their weekly meetings to keep them informed of the happenings in the office. I believe they would be open to hearing. Finally, I am of the opinion, if folks want to know it is not hard to find out what goes on. People will only engage if they deem it important.