Howard County Clerk Kathyrne Harper announced she will not seek another term in that office. Harper will continue to serve as County Clerk throughout the remainder of her term, which concludes December 31.
First appointed in February 2008 by then Governor Matt Blunt, Harper filled the county clerk’s post when the former County Clerk resigned after accusations of election fraud and financial mismanagement. Harper, who also served a term as county treasurer, stated it is time for her to “move on to other challenges.” Harper stated she does not intend to file as a candidate for public office in 2018 but has not ruled out a run in 2020. “I have not made a decision about what’s next, I just know that my goal of restoring the County of Howard to an efficient and effective government is complete.”
A Certified Public Accountant and former auditor with the Missouri State Auditor’s Office, Harper credits her knowledge of government and finance for Howard County’s improved financial health. “In 2008, we only had $84 of reserves in our General Revenue Fund. Last year, we finished with over $1 million in General Revenue and $2.7 million overall.” Harper points to improving accounting processes and reporting, as well as working with other Howard County elected officials and department heads to streamline practices and increase efficiency, as the main reason for success. “To me, good governance includes elected officials working together to serve the people. We have been able to collaborate to help Howard County thrive.”
Harper has also worked to instill public confidence in the election process in Howard County, arriving after allegations of voter fraud and election irregularities caused her predecessor to step down.  Throughout her term, Harper has overseen the cleanup of the county’s voter rolls, upgrades to the county’s election equipment, and training of hundreds of election judges. “In order to have fair, accurate, and transparent elections, we need citizens to participate in the process. Election judges are on the frontlines and are the true watchdogs of democracy.”
New Franklin resident Harold Kerr has been an election judge since 2005, serving under both Harper’s administration and her predecessor’s. Kerr states that Harper came in as County Clerk “at a time when a change was needed.” He believes she has done an “outstanding job” and is pleased how she and her staff have “worked tirelessly to ensure the election rolls are complete, up-to-date, and accurate.”
A native of Kansas City, Harper has served on a variety of boards including the Missouri Association of Counties and Election Authorities, Missouri Women’s Business Network, and the United States Election Assistance Commission’s Board of Advisors. Harper also represents the US as an international election observer, most recently monitoring the elections in the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. She holds a master of public administration from Villanova University and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Harper resides in Fayette, with her husband, Cord, and her two children, Ethan (20) and Jessica (17).