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Candidates make their case for Casey offices

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By Charlie VanLeuven

A May 15 candidate forum was well attended with approximately 120 people in the Casey County Pork Producers Building.

Thirty-two candidates participated in the event, which included Curt Demrow, who is running unopposed for reelection as Casey County Coroner, Kentucky Sen. Jimmy Higdon and Rep. Daniel Elliott, who are seeking reelection in November, and Supreme Court candidates Debra Lambert and David Tapp.

Those candidates were given two minutes to address the crowd.

Unopposed/State Offices

Demrow said that his term had improved the office of county coroner, and that all 237 cases he had worked in three-and-a-half years were done with integrity.

Higdon and Elliott both said they were glad to attend the forum and appreciated the support Casey County had given them. They both said they felt they had helped numerous people in the county and would like to continue doing so for another term.

Lambert said that she appreciated Casey’s support in the past. She said there was nothing more humbling than to win a county’s election.

Tapp said that he would give the county leadership in the courts and in the community.

“I stand for you,” he said.

Constable

Just three candidates out of the 12 that will be on the ballot came to the candidate forum. They were Felix Seahorse Rodz, District 2 candidate; Derrick Pendleton, District 3 candidate; and Bobby Cook, District 4 candidate.

Rodz said that he was asked to run by his neighbors in District 2 because they feel he would bring honesty to the office.

“People want honesty. They want integrity. They know who I am,” Rodz said. “If you vote for me, you won’t have to be sorry.”

Pendleton said that he would patrol District 3 if elected, and would be there for his community.

“If called upon, I will definitely show up and do what I can to help,” he said.

Cook said that he is retired and has time to serve District 4. He said he would be available “24/7.”

Magistrate

Ten candidates for county magistrate attended the candidate forum. They were: District 1: Cecil Roy, Kyle Evans, Rickie Patten, and Kenny Morgan; District 2: Greg Hansford and Bart Woodrum; District 3: Jerry Brown and Robby Murphy; and District 4: Jamey Maupin and Steve Cochran.

Roy said that he would listen to his constituents and address the issues they feel are important.

“I feel like we need some change in our county,” he said. “I have a lot of issues that I can help with.”

Evans said that he has experience working with state planners on highway and rail projects, and that if elected he would help bring a new east/west route through the county.

Patten said he believed more could be done to fix the roads in District 1, and he felt it was time for a change in the office.

“The new generation has to step up at some point,” he said.

Morgan said that he has been an advocate for District 1 and that the county does the best it can with the little money it has for roads. He said that he is a fiscal conservative.

“I’m a firm believer that you can’t spend more than you take in,” he said.

Hansford said he had experience managing budgets and people, he would seek additional funding for roads if elected, and would look to add more activities for Casey County’s youth.

Woodrum said that he has been honest with his constituents and that the county had learned a lot about roads from last winter’s deep freeze. He said he has been there for his District 2.

“I might not be able to give you the answer you’d like to hear but I’ll always tell you the truth,” he said.

In District 3, Brown said that he would better address the issues his district has.

“We’re supposed to be there for them and hear their concerns and address them,” he said.

Murphy said he had learned a lot over the past four years and would like to continue serving District 3.

“I’ve learned a lot. I’ve talked a lot to the community. I’ve heard their concerns,” he said.

Maupin, incumbent for District 4, said that he has experience managing a successful businesses and he leans on those skills in fiscal court. He said that roads are more expensive than some realize, costing $60,000 to $70,000 per mile.

Cochran bashed the county as he said it was ignoring the people’s needs. He said that employees were doing nothing, and many people didn’t know who their magistrate was. He said that divine intervention would help him win.

“God knows the truth and God’s going to help me win this election,” he said.

Commonwealth Attorney

Candidates for commonwealth attorney Brian Wright and Roger Elliott spoke about drug offenses and prosecution for felonies.

Both said that they support drug court when appropriate. Both agreed that non-violent drug offenders are often those stealing property from their neighbors and should be incarcerated. Elliott said that he would treat all defendants the same. Wright said that it should depend on the circumstances.

Elliott said that a person should consider which commonwealth attorney they would like to deal with in the event of a serious crime. Wright said that voters should consider the candidates record in their professional and personal lives.

Jailer

Incumbent Tommy Miller and challengers TJ Hayes and John Brown spoke about their plans for the Casey County Jail.

Miller touted his 23-year record of making the jail self-sufficient, when it previously took $500,000 a year from the general fund. He said that programs he has implemented have helped inmates gain GEDs.

Hayes said that training was inadequate for jail employees. He said that the required 25 hours was not enough and jail employees should take 60 hours per year and inmates should be treated more humanely. He said he would add more rehabilitation programs.

Brown said that money wasn’t the only thing important to the jail.

"Folks, we need more than just the bottom line. We need people who care, people who are concerned with more than just the bottom line. It's more than the money, people. It's people. It's more than just about the money," he said.

Court Clerk

Incumbent Casey Davis and challenger Garland Hoskins asked for voters’ support to be the Casey County Court Clerk.

Davis said that he had implemented a plate exchange program, where license plates were recycled and the money given to veterans groups. He said that his office had turned over $700,000 to the county in excess fees during his 8-year tenure.

He said that he is invested in the county and has no plans to leave.

“I’m 100 percent your county clerk. I’ve been here my entire life,” he said.

Hoskins said that despite having served in several elected offices, he felt that the court clerk was the most honorable office. He said that there are many reports, and two audits, but most importantly the court clerk conducts elections, which he said must be fair. He said that he loves the people of Casey County and was happy to return after traveling and working with different counties.

Judge Executive

Both candidates for Casey County Judge Executive, incumbent Randy Dial and challenger Tim Goodlett, attended the event.

Dial said that he was working with the Ag/Expo center to host more RV spots, and was completing a planned upgrade of the entire 911 system. He said that the county had paved 50 miles of road, and received over $1 million in state grants during his tenure as Judge Executive.

Goodlett said that the county needed to decide on a vision for where the county wants to be in the future. He said that more focus should be given to increasing tourism. He added that he believed Casey County was ready to thrive and grow.

“And I want to be a part of that success,” Goodlett said.

Sheriff

Five of the six sheriff candidates were at the candidate forum, with candidate Freeman Luttrell unable to attend due to work. Steve Overstreet, Kenny Patten, Chad Weddle, Scott Floyd and Hershel Price agreed that the county needed 24-7 coverage. All gave different perspectives on why they should be the next sheriff of Casey County.

Overstreet said that he was always interested in public service and would better schedule deputies to have better coverage in Casey County. He said that people in Casey County don’t feel secure at times.

“People need to feel safe,” Overstreet said.

Patten said that he had two incidents in the last few months of him calling and no one from the sheriff’s office coming to investigate. He said that if elected he would arrest the drug dealers and stop them from selling drugs to people in Casey County. He said he knows who the drug dealers are and has tried to help the sheriff’s office in the past.

“I’ve told them where it’s at,” he said.

Weddle said that he wanted to add a K9 officer, and give the people more reports of how many hours officers worked, and how many miles were patrolled. He said he would start a Facebook page to give information to the community. Weddle said he had an investment in the county with his young family. He said that the sheriff’s office would work harder against drugs.

“You’re going to see a more visible and aggressive sheriff’s office,” Weddle said.

Floyd said that the Casey County Sheriff’s Office had not done its job in getting drugs off the street. He said that the county hasn’t had a big drug bust, and that the focus should be on stopping the flow of drugs into the county. He said that this would be accomplished by following the money.

Price said that he would be the most aggressive on drug abuse in the county. He said that more education was needed in county schools about the dangers of drug use, and that if elected he would take property of drug dealers.

“I’m going to declare war—not just a battle—I’m going to declare war,” Price said.

Polls will open at 6 a.m. May 22 for the primary election.