Chris Steward announced Friday that he is seeking the job of Barren County judge-executive.
Steward is in his second nonconsecutive term as District 6 magistrate and had unsuccessfully sought the top county government seat for the interim of those terms as magistrate.
Steward chose to have Mexican-American college sophomore Michelle Baltazar speak first. She told the crowd of approximately 35 people her family had known Steward for many years.
“He is one of the most caring, polite, humorous and courteous people you will ever meet,” Baltazar said, adding that he has “a compassion so pure and clean that it does not distinguish color, race or accent.”
When Steward took the podium, he first talked about his philosophy of government.
“Government exists to serve the public, not to dictate terms to the public,” he said, slapping his hand on the podium rhythmically with each word or two. “It is high time we get government off the backs of people and instead walk hand-in-hand, side-by-side in a cordial relationship – in harmony and in a cordial relationship. ... I will be a faithful watchdog to be sure that abuses of government power will never be used against Barren County taxpayers and citizens.”
Steward went on to discuss his passion for economic development, explaining that it is not his job or goal to be the expert in those ventures, for others involved in the process know much more about it. He plans to make use of the contacts he’s made over the past several years to get and keep things moving in that arena.
He said the primary responsibility of fiscal court is to manage the county’s money, and holding up recent copies of local newspapers, he discussed recent issues such as lawsuits that have cost the county in payouts and in insurance rates. Steward said he doesn’t want to ignore problems like that.
“Controversy and contention is not a bad thing when the alternative is corruption,” he said. “I want to see that the job gets done. … Everything I speak up about has to do with financial issues, it’s not some petty thing that I’ve got some bone to pick with somebody.”
Steward has hired political consultant Dale Ammons of Richmond, who arrived slightly late because he had gotten tied up in traffic, and told of his diplomacy.
Steward has not officially filed for the office yet, but he and two witnesses signed his candidacy papers at the end of the announcement, which didn’t start until after 4:30.
Steward has two Democratic opponents so far in the primary: Brian Scott Taylor and Bud Tarry. Candidates can file until Jan. 28.
Three people have filed for the judge-executive seat on the Republican side as well: David Honeycutt, Don “Goose” Gossett and Bob Strickland.
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