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Both candidates for Cole County recorder of deeds say they plan to use a hands-on approach to running the office, if elected.

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The county recorder's office is responsible for recording public documents and preserving them for historical retrieval and legal review. This includes real estate records, marriage licenses, tax liens and discharge papers.

Republican Judy Ridgeway said she would strive to "provide all citizens with an office they can be confident in."

"I want to embody the approach that embraces the Missouri Revised Statutes and regulations as a guidepost to assure accuracy in all transactions," she said.

Democrat Ted Stewart said he would approach things differently than how he believes other officeholders have in past years.

"Most officeholders take on the task of running the office, which they think is big, but generally it is run by the help you have in those offices," he said. "They end up only spending a few hours in there each day. I spoke to some of the county leaders, and they felt they could depend on me to get things done if I were elected — and that's what I plan to do."

Ridgeway is a former chief deputy recorder of deeds who worked in the office for 18 years before leaving in February. Her duties as chief deputy recorder included everything from training the office staff to recording documents in the proper order.

"A county office, to me, has to follow the state statutes, no matter which official it is," she said.

Stewart sees running the recorder's office as just like running a business.

"I've always been a problem-solver," he said. "I can pretty well assess a situation and figure out the right way to go."

Ridgeway sees the role of the recorder's office as helping to prevent residents from paying additional expenses or conflicts with their neighbors or family members.

"The key is to have a knowledgeable staff," she said. "It's not something everybody can do. There is a lot of details and intricacies that must be followed if you work in that office."

Stewart said being involved in multiple businesses for more than 50 years in Jefferson City gives him the background needed to run the office.

"People know that I will always say what's on my mind, and I generally know something about most subjects that would be dealt with in the office," he said. "I intend to help."

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