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County candidates speak at Cattleman’s, Chamber event

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By Jeff Moore

Issues such as the drug problem, a new college campus, child abuse, jobs and roads were among the topics discussed by 20 candidates seeking county offices Monday night during a “Meet the Candidates” event at Carroll County Middle School.

All 32 candidates seeking county offices were invited by the Carroll County Cattlemen’s Association and Carroll County Chamber of Commerce to answer questions that were provided to them in advance.

Twenty responded — one submitting answers to be read due to a conflicting meeting — to three questions. The groups asked candidates what inspired their run for office and the qualities they would bring to the position; their three most important topics that would be their focus; and their vision for the county in four, 10 and 25 years. Jamie Baker-Nantz, editor of the Grant County News in Dry Ridge, served as moderator for the event.

Candidates had to RSPV by April 18 to participate in the event. Nantz posed the questions in each of the seven races for office represented.

“I wouldn’t be much of a newspaper editor if I didn’t editorialize a little,” Nantz said. “So here is my speil to you. It is a privilege and a responsibility to vote on May 20. It is important for everyone to vote and every vote does count.”

The nearly 100 people attending got the chance to hear from candidates in the majority of the races on the primary ballot.

 

Judge-Executive

All five contenders seeking the Democratic Party nomination for Carroll County Judge-Executive participated in the forum.

Three most important issues

Cable: The drug issue was the first issue he mentioned, followed by the need to educate the community’s children and to do this beginning at an early age. Cable said he also would address the county’s infrastructure, including roads, bridges, parks and walks, whether they are in need of repair or maintenance. But he said some are in good shape and just need to be kept that way. On other fronts, he said JCTC must be able to educate young people to allow them to get jobs here.

Goff: Illegal drugs, especially the heroin problem; children, families and schools as a whole; and coming together and working together to make a brighter future for the county are the three topics on Goff’s her list. “We have some very serious social problems,” she said. Goff said the county needs leaders to come forward, which she said she would do using her five point plan for the county. Goff said her plan includes joining with the education system and people in the community to address the social needs of children and parents; taking steps in her powers to support law enforcement to take a firm stand against illegal drugs; studying the use parks and Camp Kysoc for betterment of the community; creating a community advisory board to hear suggestions on ways to improve the community; and bringing county and city government into a closer working relationship.

Miller: “Jobs. Jobs. Jobs,” are the items on his list. “I know that sounds like one answer, but it’s three-fold and it affects the most important part of the community, the people.” He said people need to have jobs, with a good wage and good benefits. In the movie “Trading Places,” Miller said that when Eddie Murphy’s character got a job, it changed his entire lifestyle and attitude. This can happen in Carroll County with everyone working, making money and feeling good about themselves, he said. JCTC plays an important role in his plan because proper training will prevent companies from saying they have to look outside the county for qualified workers, he said, because the qualified people will be living here.

Saggus: Battling the county’s drug problem through supporting law enforcement, Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County and educating the public on the problem topped his list, along with helping people get the treatment they need. Saggus said activities for children are needed because they need something to do. He said while some say hunting and fishing are options, these are from a different era. Third, he said he believes the county detention center should be expanded, pointing to overcrowding there and the fact it can serve as a revenue source for the county to help fund needed programs and projects.

Westrick: The county judge has to work on a number of items at the same time, he said. Among items topping his list are completing the community college; keeping hospital doors open and ambulances on the road serving the county; and creating jobs and development for the county. Westrick said he would also work on recreation and quality of life for the community and continue to upgrade highways, bridges and ditches. “The most important thing out there that we’ve got is to stop the drug problem by working with the local, state and federal agencies to the top limit,” he said. “We’ve got to solve it at the ground floor.”

 

Vision for county in four, 10 and 25 years

Cable: He envisions the county and its cities working together with all the same goals. “If we do this, we will see a decrease in our drug problem and we will see crime in our county go down,” Cable said. He envisions programs would be in place for youth, seniors and those who live and work in the county to help it return to the days of being the best county in the state. Officials need to develop a five-, 10- and 20-year plan so leaders know the direction the county is going, along with transparent government so that people know where their tax dollars are going, he said. In 10 years, he said the county would be a place where people want to stay, live and work here because they have pride in the community. In 25 years, he said he hopes the programs in place are working so that property values are increasing, people are working, there are plenty of restaurants and Carroll is again the premier county in state.

Goff: She said the community didn’t get into the current situation in four or even 10 years, so it will take a while to get out of it. The county can’t keep on doing “the same ole, same old.” A positive attitude helped attract the industry here, which the community is fortunate to have. She said the focus needs to be meeting their needs because we do not want any of them to leave. “I’m not going to look back, I’m always looking ahead. That’s how I got where I am today,” he said.

Miller: At four years, he sees the county with a bright future with new educational and employment opportunities. He said good infrastructure will be in place. The county will be fiscally sound, with the pools of money it needs to do projects. The community center will be built and an important part of lives. “Carroll County will be moving up on the horizon,” he said. In 10 years, he sees a new judge that the county will be working together with what has been put into place. “Carroll County will be on the cutting edge,” he said. The community will be unique with the educational opportunities that will be in place. In 25 years, the county will be one of the leaders and he said he will see his children serving citizens of the county “with as much passion as I am serving you now.” Everyone’s grandchildren will be reaping the benefits of the progress that has been made, he said.

Saggus: He said the next four years will be a work in progress. “Rome wasn’t built in a day. This drug problem isn’t going to be solved in a day.” The county will have to back law enforcement in its battle with the drugs. JCTC will take time to build and the people will have to join to help educate their children. “It’s going to be a trying time for the next few years,” he said. “I’m ready to shoulder that and help this county get through that.” He wants to see the county a desirable place that people want to live in 10 years. In 25 years, if it goes as he sees it, the county will be a wonderful place to live.

Westrick: In the first four years, he said he would hope to see the county as a place where citizens would be happy to call home. In 10 years, Westrick said people would feel safe to live here and have their children attend school here. In 25 years, he said he sees it as “a place that families would want to live and work for generations to come.”

 

Sheriff

All four contenders for the Democratic nomination for Carroll County Sheriff participated in the event Monday. Incumbent Jamie Kinman is facing opposition for his job from Roy McAllister, Eddie Mefford and Todd Yocum.

Three most important issues

Kinman: Everyone knows the drug problem is rampant and two of his deputies have spent a lot of time working on this problem. He said the department has partnered with city and state police to combat that problem and will continue to do that. Kinman said he would like to improve communication between his department and the community, pointing to the office’s Facebook page and website as ways he has done this. He said people can report crime anonymously through the web page to help the department, knowing it is truly anonymous. Another issue is Internet crime that is becoming a problem with many senior citizens being targeted. He said his office has partnered with the FBI to work on several cases in the county. He said he would also like to get a K-9 unit again, but it is not feasible with the budget at this point. “I’d like to work with fiscal court … to make the sheriff’s office bigger and better to serve the community and its citizens.”

McAllister: He said the drug issue is what he wants to address, saying he has children of his own. He said this effort needs to begin within the sheriff’s office to make sure everyone working there is drug free and he would watch who is hired.

Mefford: Drugs would be the first issue, he said. The department needs more deputies and he would stay on fiscal court to make this happen. Mefford said the county’s child abuse problems also need to be addressed. Elderly abuse also is becoming a problem. He said his third issue is coverage by the department for all the cities in the county. This comes back to “more deputies, more workforce,” he said. “We’ve got to work hard to try to get that.”

Yocum: “The number one issue, whoever gets elected sheriff, is the drug problem in the county,” he said. The department must take a hard stance on drugs, including use of the forfeiture program to take everything from those responsible for the drugs. This money could then be reinvested to fight the drug problem. He believes a K-9 unit needs to be brought back and he believes there is state and federal funding to help with this. Yocum said the county also needs to have a resource officer for the schools, whether from the city’s police department or the sheriff’s office. This will make the schools safer and allow officers to interact with students. He said the department needs to combat child abuse and educate children better on being responsible.

 

 

Vision for county in four, 10 and 25 years

Kinman: In four years, he said he would like the department to be bigger. Departments in adjacent counties, such as Trimble, Owen and Gallatin, are bigger, with as many as 10 deputies, while there are just three in Carroll County. He said he needs the help of the deputies, fiscal court and community. In 10 years, Kinman said he would like to be with the sheriff’s office, but one of the deputies may want to run and he would support him. JCTC will be here and be a great asset for the community, he said. “The main thing I’d like to see here in this community is that we make it better for our kids as they are growing up.”

McAllister: In four years, he said he hopes the community is getting the drug issue under control. He said moreeducation is needed for children, saying a program like D.A.R.E. could help with this. In 10 years, the community will hopefully be a better place for everyone to live. McAllister said he hopes Carroll County will be a good place for kids and grandchildren in 25 years.

Mefford: In four years, he said he sees the sheriff’s office with enough deputies to serve the county the way it needs to be served. In 10 years, he said the department would be growing as the county does to have enough people to provide protection in every city. In 25 years, he said he sees the county growing and the sheriff’s department being bigger with it.

Yocum: He said in four years he hopes the programs in place, such as a K-9 unit and a school resource officer, are working. He said he wants to see the negative image of Carroll County turned around. Whatever news is in the media on Carroll County, from Louisville or locally, is always negative. “We need to turn that around and make it a positive place to live,” he said. When he grew up, this community was positive. He said the child abuse issue is a problem that needs to be addressed. He said the sheriff must work with the judge to take a strong stand on the drug problem. He said people need to begin to teach children to do things the right way “because that is the future of the county.” In 10 years, he said there will probably be new leadership and the county will improve and have a bright future. There will be plenty of industry and things will have improved so people want to live here. Hopefully in 25 years, he said his grandchildren will be raising their families here and it will be a great place to live.

 

 

Jailer

The two candidates for the Democratic nomination for Carroll County Jailer participated in the event Monday. Scott Rose is running against incumbent Michael Humphrey for the Democratic nomination.

Three most important issues

Humphrey: He said he would focus on issues dealing with the detention center, pointing first to taxpayer dollars. He said he would continue to run the jail as efficiently as it has since 1996 when it first became self-sufficient. This is becoming harder to do every year with more local inmates, which means less income for housing others’ inmates. He said he has and will continue to work for the county and do a lot for seniors, kids and churches. “I took this jail from something that caused problems in this community to something to be very proud of,” he said. Humphrey said he takes responsibility and doesn’t stand behind anyone doing something wrong. He said he has been accused of a lot of things through rumors that are false. He said he has only done what’s right. “My heart’s with this community, plain and simple,” he said.

Rose: He said he would make sure the jail maintains itself, using the least tax dollars possible. Second, he said he would get people help with drugs. This includes working to address the issue of repeat offenders. “One time is a mistake. Time after time is a bad habit,” he said.

 

Vision for county in four, 10 and 25 years

Humphrey: In four years, he said he would like to add on to the jail because there isn’t the room that is needed to house prisoners. This would provide space for offering resources for those dealing with the drug problem. The detention center is an 88-bed facility that often houses 120 to as many as 150 people a day, Humphrey said. He currently has to ship a lot of people out of the facility to get the help they need. He wants the facility to have 188 beds, which means he would have enough inmates to send out to help in the community as he did in the past. He said he had to stop taking Class D program inmates several years ago because surrounding counties pay more to house inmates than the state. He now uses alternative sentence inmates who are being held for shorter periods, such as 120 to 180 days, to help with work in the community. In 10 years, Humphrey said what happens is up to fiscal court because he can only do what fiscal court, federal and state laws and judges allow. If it were my decision to make, “I would have built on 10 years ago,” he said.

Rose: In four years, he said he plans to continue doing everything for senior citizens. Hopefully, he said Carroll County continues to grow and manages its money well. Camp Kysoc needs to be used for children and something needs to be done there, he said. There needs to be more programs for children and teenagers, so they can reach them before they get to the jail. He said he believes the teens need to be involved. “A lot of them are really good thinkers,” he said. He said he just wants to see the county continue to grow.

 

Magistrate District 1

The three candidates for the Democratic nomination for the District 1 seat on fiscal court took part. Incumbent Floyd Bowling is facing opposition from Zeke Carrico and Clyde Rowlett.

Three most important issues

Bowling: He said the drug problem must be addressed by working to stop it from coming into the community and by helping people who need treatment. Bowling said roads are and will continue to be a big issue. “We’ve got to keep building our infrastructure,” he said. Third, he said JCTC needs to be able to educate residents to enter the workforce and hold jobs. He said his goal is to enhance the community to build a better lifestyle for the young and the county’s seniors.

Carrico: First, he said his priority would be the roads, saying they are deteriorating locally and nationwide. He said the county needs to keep its ditches clean and its bridges in good shape. Second, he said he would work on jobs. This is a manufacturing community and companies hire a lot of people from out of the county. He wants to see children educated to the standards of the companies here so they can get the jobs. Carrico said he also wants to see the drug problem eliminated. This includes addressing the fact that there are no treatment facilities here. He said the community must begin to teach people there is a better way.

Rowlett: While every issue is important, he said the top priority is getting rid of the drugs. Deputy sheriffs are making basically minimum wage here, he said. Officials need to look at the county employees wages, including the deputies, EMTs and those in the county road department. “We need to make sure the wages are fair for the jobs they are doing,” he said. He said the county must be cleaned up, not only from drugs but also from trash. Additionally, culverts need to be cleaned out so water runs under roads, not over them. While he said he doesn’t believe in zoning, the county must address people coming here and subdividing property to ensure roads and services are up to specifications. “I want to see Carroll County being an inviting county for the people.”

 

Vision for county in four, 10 and 25 years

Bowling: In four years, he said the college will be operational. Work to widen U.S. 42 between Dow Corning and the city of Ghent will be complete, he said. He wants to see I-71 upgraded to three lanes on both the north and south between Louisville and the split at I-75. In 25 years, he said he envisions a prosperous county, with all highways completed and a fully skilled workforce.

Carrico: He said he wants to see a new college and a new middle school complete. The county will be clean with nice roads. In 10 years, he wants to see more retail, with more stores in downtown Carrollton. There will be more restaurants for the families here. Their children will be attending the new schools and the new college. In 25 years, he wants to see his grandchildren attending the new schools and colleges, and the county is a regional point for economic development.

Rowlett: In four years, if elected, he said people will know him by name. He wants JCTC to be built. Instead of looking at a river walk, he said, officials need to look at a walk from school to school and out Hwy. 227 that can be put to use. In 10 years, Rowlett said his grandkids will want to go off to college and he wants to see something here to bring them back. He said his son went to Bowling Green to attend college, but then found there is nothing here to bring him home. “If we keep going like we’re going, Carroll County is going to be full of strangers and all the hometown people are going to be gone,” he said. In 25 years, he wants his grandkids to have a safe, comfortable county to live in. They can look back on what has been accomplished and not worry about drug problems, he said.

 

Magistrate District 2

istrict 2 job on fiscal court participated in the forum. Candidates Kerry Graham and Mitchell Perkins took part in the forum, with Mike Gordon submitting his responses due to a city council meeting being held at the same time as this event. Candidate William Arvin did not take part in the event.

Three most important issues

Graham: He pointed to concerns with drainage issues, the drug epidemic and the general cleanliness of the county as the top issues he has heard while going door-to-door in the campaign. He said drainage problems are hurting property values. Graham said the drug problem will require working closely with the state and needs to include throwing the book at repeat offenders. He said they also need to offer rehabilitation facilities to help people rid themselves of the drugs. He said he would also support building a YMCA and improving the maintenance of facilities already in place.

Gordon: He said he would focus on dealing with the drug problem, cleanliness of the county and meeting the needs of youth and senior citizens. He said he is proud of the work performed by law enforcement and he would continue to provide the assistance they need to fight this battle. “In addition to controlling illegal drug sales and use, cleaning up Carroll County was also a high priority for the citizens as well as myself,” he said. “I think they go hand-in-hand.”

Perkins: Carroll County needs to develop cable television and high-speed Internet services, similar to the service in Bardstown. He believes the county needs to continue working to get the new JCTC campus up and running. Additionally, county government should work with the chamber of commerce and Carroll County Community Development Corporation to create jobs.

 

Vision for county in four, 10 and 25 years

Graham: In four years, Graham said he sees the JCTC campus and recreational trail complete, along with a YMCA or something like it for children decided upon and started. In 10 years, he said the YMCA or similar facility will be in place, there will be more restaurants, development at Point Park, an improved maintenance plan for the county park and the county will be more a desirable place to live. In 25 years, he said the county will be a place we all can be proud of and where people want to settle down with their families and be a part of our county.

Gordon: In four years, he said he envisions Carroll County having an expanded JCTC campus, making a dent in the illegal sale and use of drugs and beginning to make progress in improving the appearance of the county.  In 10 years, he said the county will have continued making progress in both areas and, as a result, see the population of the county begin to grow. In years 10 through 25 years, he envisions continued progress. He also envisions the youth of the county becoming more involved in the county leadership.

Perkins: He plans to run for just this one term on fiscal court, so he would be coming off at that point in four years. In four years, he believes this will allow him to accomplish more because he won’t be worried about being elected. “I want to do a good job and help the county, then let someone else take over,” he said. In four years, the county will see completion of JCTC campus with them working with employers to get them job ready so they don’t have to go out of county for employees. In 10 years, the community will see full implementation of the community cable TV project and high-speed wireless throughout the county. And 25 years in the future, children have attended JCTC and other colleges and are working at the industries here. The campground at Point Park will finally be filling up.

 

Magistrate District 3

Two of the three candidates seeking the District 3 seat on fiscal court participated in the forum. Democratic incumbent Mark Bates and Republican D.J. Carroll participated, while Bates’ opposition for that party’s nod, Bobby Noble, opted not to take part in the event.

Three most important issues

Bates: He said his top three issues are education, infrastructure and jobs. A better-educated community will help with the county’s drug issue, he said. With more jobs, people here can work to support their families. Bates said the proper infrastructure will ensure that people can get the drug treatment they need. He said there are not enough counseling centers to support the people who need assistance. This must change, he said, because studies show that more laws and more police are not solving the drug problem “The only hope we have right now is … drug rehab and counseling,” he said.

Carroll: He said he has structured his campaign based on hurdles facing the county. This includes the non-existence of an active business recruitment plan, he said. Everyone must look at how much business recruitment has been done in the county in recent years. Second, he pointed to the lack of curb appeal on gateways and highways leading into the county. “What is the impression we give to visitors?” he asked. “Curb appeal is essential in recruiting businesses and impressing visitors.” He said it is also a great source for community pride. Third, Carroll said he believes the drug epidemic must be addressed. Officials have done a great job with the resources they have, but it’s still not enough. He said the county must invest, not spend, more money in law enforcement. Increasing the number of officers will make their jobs safer and push out drug activity. He said this will “send out the message that we will no longer stand for the illegal use or trafficking of drugs in our county.”

 

Vision for county in four, 10 and 25 years

Bates: In four years, he said people will see a new community college built and being used. They will see community support for plans to fully use the Camp Kysoc property. Additionally, people will see improvement in the county’s infrastructure with the widening of U.S. 42 toward Markland Dam completed. In 10 years, he said he wants to see new exits off I-71 for the county and the highway widened to six lanes from Louisville to I-75. He said they will also see more college and career youth in the community.

Carroll: Carroll County is at a crossroads, with the path chosen now making the difference, he said. The county needs leaders “with the will to win.” He said people don’t need four more years of career politicians who appear happy with the status quo. He said it is difficult to hear others say how well the community is doing, based on the unattractive road it has been on in recent years. He said this includes having an unemployment as high as 15.8 percent over the past term, curb appeal that continues to decline and the Kentucky Youth Advocates rating the county 107th out of 120 counties on child well-being. Socio-economic conditions here can only mean the county is on the road to increased violence and “on a road to a dark place,” he said. Current officials do care, he said, but are unable to put effective plans in place to solve the problems. “Let’s turn down the road to prosperity. Let’s become a community with a thriving economy, where new houses are being built, where drug roundups are a thing of the past,” he said.

 

Constable District 1

In the race for District 1 constable, only contender Richie Carter participated in the event. Candidates Jimmy Aaron and J.J. Ward were not present.

Three most important issues

Carter: He said the children of the community rank at the top of his three major issues. Children must be educated, he said. Carter said he would like to work with the sheriff’s office to create camping opportunities to help educate them. “Everybody knows we have a very bad drug problem,” he said. Everyone wants to have a safe place to live.

 

Vision for county in four, 10 and 25 years

Carter: In the future, he said everyone wants a good, clean, safe place to live. He said people want to have jobs and he sees lots of improvement happening here with people working together. In 25 years, today’s children will be out there running things, which is why it is important to educate them now, he said.

 

Other Constable races

No candidates from District 2 or District 3 in the race for constable participated in “Meet the Candidates.” In District 2, David Miles is opposing incumbent Glenn Chatham. In District 3, incumbent Chris Crase is being challenged by David Hendren.