In Oct. 21 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
Both candidates for Russell County Judge-Executive spoke at the chamber of commerce's monthly meeting on Tuesday with both Ralph Creech and Gary Robertson telling why they should be the new county leader.
The meeting, which took place at the Cove in Russell Springs, was highly attended by chamber members all wanting to hear what both men had to say about their upcoming Nov. 2 square-off.
Creech, the Republican nominee for judge-executive, spoke first, saying that he wanted to market Russell County and the Lake Cumberland area in a manner not done before by a judge in this county.
"You could say that we just live in a little town in central Kentucky or we could go out there and paint a broader picture," Creech. "It is easy to promote something that you live in and you take pride in."
He said it was the judge-executive's job to sell the community at the state and even the national level.
"I hope that I can paint a picture for our community that we can all be proud of," Creech. "If you entrust that in me I ask for your vote and support on November 2nd."
He said the candidate that promotes himself and the community the best would be the "best bet" to be the new county leader. He also thanked his party and his family for allowing him to be in this position.
"We need a promoter for this community," he said. "We need someone who will promote Lake Cumberland and Russell County with pride … this is a very progressive community and I just want to work with keeping it on track."
Robertson, currently a magistrate on the fiscal court and the Democratic nominee for judge-executive, spoke following Creech. Robertson began by saying the county needed to be on the road to recovery after a tough financial time the past few years.
"I believe our community is in desperate need of the following, clear communication, collaboration and cooperation," he said.
Robertson broke down each of his three points by saying all county entities need a better working relationship for the county to grow like it could.
"It will be my commitment to have a clear dialogue with all Russell County entities," he said. "It is time to bring the judge's office up to date."
Robertson said, if elected, he would like to have a web site that contained fiscal court minutes and agendas and county road work schedules, among other things.
He said he or one of his representatives would attend all governmental agency meetings in the county and that he would propose the creation of the Russell County Fire and Rescue Association to address issues such as grant procurement, countywide and strategic planting and the like.
"I would appreciate your vote on November 2nd," Robertson said.
The two then took several questions from those in attendance with each telling what they think the duties of judge-executive to be.
"Primarily the duties set forth are the written things we must propose a budget," Creech said as he told them of how he would financially look over the county. "The thing I'm proposing is the county judge-executive has a much broader duty to the public … we have the duty of promoting our county."
He said the promotion of the county is as important, if not more important, than overseeing the financial side of county business.
"Basically the chief executive officer of the county," Robertson said, describing the job as county judge. "You oversee the budget, oversee all these boards and have a good working relationship with everyone on the board, plus you've got five other gentlemen or ladies on the fiscal court that you've got to work cohesively together with."
When asked by current county judge-executive Mickey Garner about their thoughts on raising taxes, neither admitted whether or not they would saying they only would do what is in the best interest of the county.
"We need to exhaust every opportunity before we even consider (raising taxes)," Creech said. "That may sound like me riding the fence but that is just my stance."
Robertson said everyone wants services and there is only two solutions, by cutting services or coming up with some other source of income to pay for the services.
"I'm sort of riding the fence there too, Ralph, I guess," he said. After the short question-answer session both men were applauded for their efforts and campaigning over these last few months.
Republican candidate for county attorney Kevin Shearer also spoke at the meeting, saying he was raised in Russell County and wanted to continue to serve the community he loves in the capacity as county attorney.
He said, if elected, he would set aside a portion of his office to work strictly with child matters, saying that the well-being of today's kids were one of his biggest ambitions.
His opponent, Democratic nominee Jeff Loy, had a previous commitment and was out of town but passed on the message that he is willing to talk issues and personal stances with anyone that gives him a call noting that his number was listed in the telephone book.