by Kris Richards
Recently, while discussing the upcoming opening of filing for the 2020 Primary Election with Sheriff Zach Jacobsen, I asked him how and when he’d addressed the change of political party affiliation. After a short discussion, I encouraged Sheriff Jacobsen to put something in writing so that it could be published in “The I-J”. The Sheriff had previously announced his move on social media. The following is an open letter from the Sheriff to the residents of Washington County.
My name is Zach Jacobsen, I serve as the duly elected Sheriff of Washington County, Missouri. I wanted to share a little about myself and why I made the decision to switch parties, a decision I did not make out of haste or without merit.
When I decided to seek the Office of Sheriff, I knew I had the ability and drive to do a good job for the citizens of Washington County and Missouri. I knew the job wasn’t going to be easy or without great personal sacrifice to not only me but my family. I knew I had a great support group and had many people in my corner. I knew the “ins” and “outs” of the Sheriff’s Office and had a great understanding of the budgetary and administrative responsibilities required to be a successful Sheriff. I had a great understanding of the oath I had taken when I first became a Peace Officer in 2004.
One thing I never really considered was, was I Democrat or Republican, after all, I have always voted for the person I thought was best suited for the position regardless of party affiliation. When the Democrat Sheriff I was serving announced he was not seeking another term, he approached me and asked me to run. I was absolutely elated that he had such respect for me, that he would consider me. I obviously agreed and began speaking with my family and prospective supporters. The first memorable question I was asked was are you running on a democrat or republican ticket. Wow, I really had not thought about that!
See, most of my family were tried and true Republicans and some were Democrats. I was torn, how do I fit into either party? I felt like the Office of Sheriff was really a neutral position due in part because we serve all walks of life equally regardless of party affiliation. I was right, WE do, but we also do more, we serve as the protector of Constitutional Rights of our citizens from infringement. I decided I would seek the Democrat nomination for Sheriff, and in August of 2016, I won that nomination. I ran a clean and respectable campaign and won the November election. I was sworn into office in January 2017, and immediately got to work doing the job. This was the first and only partisan office I had held and had not really watched much in the way of politics in my adult life. I soon found myself following politics and following the affairs of our country. I have always been pro-life, pro-military, pro-law enforcement and pro-gun. I watched highly televised issues concerning law enforcement, mass killings, acts of terrorism, and other hot button topics. As I watched them, I couldn’t help but see how negatively law enforcement was being portrayed by certain groups. I watched certain elected officials portray law enforcement as the enemy and ridicule us for every action. I watched how certain elected officials were trying to strip law abiding citizens of their constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. I found myself very interested in the views of political figures, their actions and their words alike. I found myself siding more and more with the views and actions of the Republican party.
I cannot say that one issue brought me to the realization, but I knew wholeheartedly I was a republican. I had enough and decided I would speak with my family and explain my views and my decision. I then needed to announce it to the citizens I was elected to serve. So, on August 27, 2019, as I have done with other important issues concerning my position, used the platform of Facebook and announced my decision. I was recently asked about my decision and the process I used in making it. I determined it needed to be explained in a little more detail, which I hope I have done. If anyone has any questions or concerns, as always, feel free to contact me at any time.
I will be seeking a second term for the Office of Sheriff of Washington County and will be filing later this month.
Sheriff Zach Jacobsen”
As filing does open for the Primary Election that will be held on August 4th, 2020, several candidates have announced their intentions to file.
Filing for offices will begin on Tuesday, February 25th, 2020 at 8 a.m.