Glasgow Daily Times, Glasgow, KY

Local News

April 29, 2014

Judge-executive hopefuls make themselves known to voters at Park City forum

GLASGOW — Five of the eight candidates in the Barren County judge-executive race took advantage of an opportunity Saturday morning to acquaint themselves with voters in the Park City area.

The Park City Lions Club hosted a country breakfast and forum for all countywide office candidates as well as the District 6 magistrate and constable candidates.

Besides the judge-executive seat seekers, all four sheriff candidates, three of the four jailer candidates and two of the five District 6 constable candidates took their turns at speaking to a crowd of approximately 40 people. Uncontested candidates Brad Bailey, seeking re-election to the property valuation administrator position, and Charles Allen, running for the District 6 magistrate spot, also took the floor for the allotted few minutes. District 4 magisterial candidate Trevor Phillips capped off the speeches; 23rd District Kentucky House of Representatives candidates Jeff Jobe, Republican, and incumbent Johnny Bell, Democrat, had kicked off the speeches.

The judge-executive candidates who were not at the forum were: Democrats Zack Kender and Scott Taylor and Republican Bob Strickland.

Candidates were given five minutes to make their speech and then a bit longer to take questions.

Drawings were held to determine the order. The way it turned out, the first three were Democrat, followed by two Republicans.

• Chris Steward, currently the magistrate for District 6, which includes Park City and Cave City, began by saying he would need to leave immediately after his speech to go to Bowling Green to be with his wife, who had been in the hospital with a serious heart condition since Thursday. Steward said he would also be curbing his other campaigning activities for at least the next few days.

He focused on his ties with the community and how, at various times when issues arose or changes were in the works, “I was there.”

Barren County needs three things: economic and industrial development; less corruption; and trust in government through more transparency.

On the economic side, “we’re No. 1 in beef, dairy and silage production,” he said, so there is no reason Park City shouldn’t have a grain-elevator facility.

Regarding corruption, he mentioned the numerous dollars spent by the county to settle lawsuits. On the topic of transparency, he promised to post on the county’s website every month exactly how much money is received and where taxpayer money is being spent.

• Micheal Hale said he grew up and went to school in Barren County, including two years at the old Park City school. He retired last year from the Glasgow Fire Department.

“I was proud to be a firefighter. I was proud to be a public servant,” he said. “I want to continue to be a public servant.”

He said he was tired of being asked what crazy thing was happening in this county next, emphasizing there are good people here and that’s why he likes living here, but the county needs to get back its reputation of being one of the best places to live.

He briefly focused on three other points.

“Agriculture and small business is the driving force of Barren County, hands down,” Hale said. “That will always be my stance.”

Raising taxes should be the last thing we need to do, he said, and we need to keep more of our tax dollars here in the county but supporting small business.

The judge-executive has to make a positive impact and needs to not only work closely with the magistrates but also mayors of the cities within the county and other local leaders to promote the communities, and he intends to do that.

• Bud Tarry said he has the education and work and community involvement experience to do the job. Tarry retired from the Barren County School system; he was director of transportation and facilities director for the past several of those years. He said as part of that job, he supervised more than 100 people at one time and was in charge of more than 30 administrative areas from building security to emergency management.

He has served on community boards, such as 22 years on the planning commission that passed countywide subdivision regulations, and is currently on the county recreation board. He’s written specifications for bids and done background checks, he said.

“I’ve done the things required of a county judge,” Tarry said, adding it would be a full-time job for him. “I will be working for the people of Barren County every day, every hour; that’s my pledge to you,” he concluded.

• Don “Goose” Gossett is a Barren County native who also attended Park City School, he said. He worked 20 years at RR Donnelley and served approximately 25 years with the South Barren Volunteer Fire Department. He was an emergency medical technician with the VFD and part time with the ambulance service, and he worked part time as a dispatcher, he said.

Now he’s a self-employed contractor who is a hands-on operator.

“I’m there with my guys,” he said, and he would run the county in much the same way – not much from the office.

“You’ll see me in the county. … It’s not my type of mentality to sit behind a desk,” he said.

With the two main transportation arteries of Interstate 65 and the railroad, Park City and Cave City should have more industry, Gossett said.

“Look at the factories that have come into Hart County in the past 10 years,” he said.

Linda Bean from the audience asked whether he would still run his business if he won the election, and Gossett said yes, but not to the same extent as now. His plan is to promote one of his longtime employees to do most of his job.

• David Honeycutt is from Hiseville and he drove a milk truck for Strader’s Dairy, he said. He served 10 years on Hiseville’s city council. He’s did construction work and electrical work, he said, and eventually he became building and electrical inspector for the City of Glasgow.

One thing Barren County will need to work on soon is stormwater drainage, such as clearing out ditchlines, he said, and other aspects of the infrastructure need improvement.

Honeycutt said he’s worked closely with the Glasgow-Barren County Industrial Development Economic Authority and learned how competitive communities have to be to draw new employers.

“We cannot give enough to get those jobs,” he said.

Budgeting is an important aspect of the judge-executive job, he said.

“Thirteen million dollars seems like a lot of money, but when you start distributing that among the sheriff’s department and the other departments in the county, it doesn’t go very far,” Honeycutt said. “So you’re going to need somebody who’s going to try to cut costs and work with all the departments to make sure your tax money is spent the way it’s supposed to be.”

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