In Jan. 6 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Editor
More than 200 people attended a public swearing in ceremony Sunday at the Russell County Schools Auditorium to see new city and county officials sworn in to their respective offices.
State Rep. Jeff Hoover emceed the hour-long ceremony as family, friends, and fellow citizens came together for the community event.
"It is an exciting time here in our county, not only is it a new year, but for these men and women it is the beginning of a new term in office, some of them their very first term in office," Hoover said.
The newly elected county judge-executive, Gary Robertson, spoke to the crowd near the end of the ceremony, his first address as the new leader of county government.
"We want to thank all of you for joining in with us on this special day," Robertson told the crowd. "I feel that being elected to public office is one of the greatest honors that can be given to someone."
Robertson thanked the community for their vote of confidence and respect and vowed to work with both cities of Russell Springs and Jamestown as well as the other public officials and various boards as his term unfolds.
Justice Daniel Venters of the Kentucky Supreme Court assisted in the ceremony as he administered the oath of office to district judges Mike Lawson and Scarlett Latham.
"I want to say that Russell County, in particular, has a long history of bringing into public service competent and qualified people who make the whole state proud," Venters said.
Following the oath of office to the district judges, Lawson swore in Steve Kerr and Clifford Wilson, who were both re-elected to another term on the Russell County School Board in November.
Latham followed that by swearing in the five constables elected in November, Perry Brumley in the first district, Mark Helm in the second district, Reggie Gosser in the third district, Tracy Smith in the fourth district and Michael "Toe Joe" Bray in the fifth district.
Latham then swore in district one magistrate Greg Popplewell, district two magistrate Brook Cochran and district five magistrate Larry Holt, who were all present at the ceremony.
The judges then swore in present members of the Russell Springs City Council and Jamestown City Council as well as mayors Hollis DeHart of Russell Springs and Terry Lawless of Jamestown.
Jailer Bobby Dunbar, Coroner Larry Skaggs, Sherriff Larry Bennett, PVA Tim Popplewell, County Attorney Kevin Shearer and Asst. County Attorney Don Byrom and Judge-Executive Gary Robertson were each joined by their families on stage and sworn in, one by one.
Bro. Randy Smith, the pastor at Welfare Baptist Church in Jamestown and brother-in-law to new county Judge-Executive Gary Robertson, gave the invocation before the ceremony. The Russell County High School Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps presented the colors as Wes Bottom sang the national anthem. RCHS senior Ben Lee led those in attendance in saying the Pledge of Allegiance.
State Sen. Vernie McGaha gave the benediction for the ceremony and a reception followed in the lobby of the building.