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Each election year, KBIA sits down with local candidates to hear what they have to say on their own terms. Some of these candidates you might see on TV every day. Others might be familiar by name only, if that. But KBIA interviews them all so that you can be informed when you go to the polls in November.

Candidate Conversations: Jenna Redel

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Ellie Lin
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Jenna Redel is running for Boone County Treasurer against Republican incumbent Dustin Stanton.

Samir Knox: Could you talk a little bit about your time in Boone County and how long you've been here?

Jenna Redel: Yeah. So I came to Boone County in 2000. I graduated from undergrad, and I started into a program called the police court and they placed me here in Columbia at the University of Missouri's Police Department. Towards the tail end of that, I went to law school, and I also got a master's in business administration from Mizzou. And then when I finished those programs, I started as an assistant attorney general for the state of Missouri in Jefferson City. So I worked in Jefferson City for about six years. And at the tail end of that. I came here to Boone County government. And I've been their director of risk management and HR ever since.

Samir Knox: What was that experience, particularly in the Boone county government? Like for you, is there anything unique you learned about this place?

Jenna Redel: I love county government. Like I am a local government, public service, big nerd, like I have seen every episode of The West Wing, many times. I usually try to watch them in order. Any time sort of, you know, you get a little rundown from real life politics, it's just really nice to see. Smart people doing really good work to sort of lift people up. And then right like I love Parks and Rec, I've dressed up as Leslie Knope, for Halloween twice, you know, I worked in, in state government, I worked for the University. Those are really big organizations, there's a lot of moving parts to it. They're kind of a big bureaucracy, local government is much smaller, right? Most of the offices have, you know, 15 or fewer people in them. You have direct contact with citizens Boone County every day, the stuff that people are coming in for really impacts their lives.

Samir Knox: And to be maybe a bit more philosophical. What do you think a good treasurer should do?

Jenna Redel: The treasurer kind of has a couple of different major functions, right? They, they invest about $100 million in taxpayer funds into financial products that just keep the money protected and stable, right, just like at your bank. You know, when you see that FDIC insured thing, right? That means that if something catastrophic happened and the bank caught on fire, and someone ran off with all the money, your money is insured, because the county's dealing with $100 million, we're well over the threshold of normal insurance. And so we have to protect the assets by investing them in a variety of different things that all make sure they're insured and protected, but also provide some growth. But when working with brokers, you really need to have a good understanding of how they make money from you, right? Because then you can better filter the advice that they give you to make sure that it's really in the best interests of the county, right, and the taxpayers, and not in the best interest of somebody who's going to make a commission off of the products that you're buying and things like that. So I think they need to be sophisticated enough to sort of understand those layers of complexity.

Katie Quinn studies radio journalism and political science at the University of Missouri- Columbia. She comes from a small town outside of St. Louis called Fenton.
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