By MELINDA J. OVERSTREET
Glasgow Daily Times
A Barren County magistrate is considering becoming a candidate for judge-executive, with his main decision point being who else runs for the office.
This wouldn’t be the first attempt at the seat for District 6 Magistrate Chris Steward of Cave City, who campaigned to become judge-executive between his first and second terms as magistrate and “was narrowly defeated” in the primary.
“I think there is a paucity – or lack – of candidates that have county leadership qualifications,” he said, listing experience with budgets and “not only the routine matters, but the more sophisticated matters of county government.”
Current Judge-Executive Davie Greer has told the Daily Times she does not plan to seek re-election.
So far, two people have filed to run for the top seat in county government: Brian Scott Taylor, a Democrat, and Republican David Honeycutt, the latter of whom Steward calls a friend, but says the retired city building inspector doesn’t have any county government experience.
Candidates have until Jan. 28 to file.
“I don’t think this is the time for on-the-job training. You need someone who can hit the ground running,” he said. “I’ve just been in the field and on the field doing the job of county government,” he said. “I know what the job is and I know how to get the job done. I have developed enough friends, contacts and a network of people across the state and especially in Frankfort that would be extremely valuable in county government.”
Steward, a Democrat, has been practicing dentistry for nearly 33 years and became a family nurse practitioner roughly six years ago.
He said if he isn’t leading the state with the number of training hours from the Kentucky Association of Counties, he believes he’s close, and he was one of the first to get a master’s certificate in training through KACo, he said.
Steward said that if the right person enters the judge-executive race, though, he would support that person and run for magistrate again.
“If someone steps up with what I think are the qualifications for judge-executive – experience in county government, leadership experience and networking across the state, especially with economic and business development – then I’d be just as happy where I’m at,” he said.
“I don’t see anybody on the horizon that has that qualification,” Steward said, acknowledging he’s heard rumors of other potential candidates. “I haven’t heard any names that fit those criteria I just mentioned.”
Steward said he is most interested in industrial and economic development, with another major priority being “more harmony among the fiscal court members.”
He said he would accomplish that by having his door open and ensuring time for magistrates to speak with him and seeking their opinions and advice.
He wants that increased harmony to extend among the governments of the county and the cities within it. He pledged accessibility and transparency in the way he operates.
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