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Seven aiming for six seats on Junction Council

Junction City residents will have the opportunity to meet the seven candidates running for Junction City Council’s six seats at a public forum Thursday night.

The 7 p.m. forum will be held at the event venue The Church in Junction City

Candidates for the council are:

• Kenny Baldwin is completing his sixth consecutive term on city council. A resident of Junction City since he was two years old, Baldwin owns and operates The Church on Grafton Street. He is a former emergency services worker.

Baldwin said he wanted to run again because he enjoys serving the town where he lives and does business.

“I believe that the changes our country needs start with each and every one of us doing our part,” he said.

• Lloyd Bowling was appointed to the council in 2015 to fill a vacancy after the departure of Jimmy Gipson. Bowling has also previously served two terms on the council, for a total of about six years as a council member. He is a native of Boyle County, living near Junction City all of his life. He is retired.

Bowling said he would like to continue serving because he feels like there’s more to finish.

“I think I’d be an asset to help the city,” Bowling said. “I’m retired and I have time to put in there.”

• Hershel Fletcher has been on the council many times over the course of the 50 years he has resided in Junction City. A native of Lincoln County, Fletcher retired from Kentucky Utilities, but now works part-time for Willis Lane Construction.

Fletcher, who serves on the council now, said he thinks the council members have worked well together during the current term.

“I think things are going as well as can be expected. We are trying to improve with what we have. We have a good police department; we’ve bought new cruisers, gotten streets repaved. We may need to add some streetlights, but that’s an ongoing project,” Fletcher said. “I don’t have a lot of other issues of concern. I think we have a good council, a council that tries to work together. There’s not a lot of issues between us; we work for the city as a whole.”

Fletcher will be absent from Thursday’s forum.

• Pete Kendrick is the only candidate not currently on the council. A native of Junction City, Kendrick is a supervisor at Dana.

“I live in the community and the people around me seem frustrated by some things going on,” Kendrick said.

He said he feels tax rates are too high, especially if the city is discussing a potential new city hall; and that he “took exception to being insulted by the city employee” in regards to ongoing disagreements over how the city cemetery is operated.

“You either get off the couch and do something about it or you sit around and complain, so I decided to do something about it,” he said.

Kendrick will be absent from Thursday’s forum.

• Sonya Kitchen is in her first year on the council. She was appointed in January after the departure of Leo Sinkhorn, who was elected in 2014. A native of Junction City, Kitchen runs Sonya’s Studio Hair at her home in Junction City. Kitchen said she is running because she wants to be a “voice for the people.”

“Public safety is one of my main priorities,” she said. Making the park “clean and safe for our children,” and making sure “first responders have the training and equipment to do their job safely and efficiently,” are two of her big focuses.

• Steve Martin was reelected to council in 2014. He also served on the council for a time in the 1990s. A native of Knoxville, Martin has lived in Junction City since 1979. He is retired, a widower, a Mason and a retired police officer, having worked in Junction City.

Martin said policing is where his interest lies, and he said it’s important for people to realize their taxes go to law enforcement and fire protection.

Martin said he thinks it would be good for everyone to run for office, just to see what it’s like.

“You hear people complain about the high tax rates we have on insurance. ‘If I was in there I would get that changed.’ You just can’t go in there as an individual and get anything changed. It has to be a joint effort to do anything. Council has to get along,” Martin said.

• Bill McCowan is completing his first term on the Junction City Council. A native and lifelong resident of Junction City, McCowan works for Norfolk Southern Railroad.

He said he decided to run again because he wants to help.

“I want to help my neighbors; I want to help my community,” McCowan said.

Topics at Thursday night’s forum will highlight some of the main issues the city faces, such as cemetery issues, the stoplight on U.S. 127, and city’s role in the economic development partnership. Questions have been preselected by chamber board members and moderator John Nelson.

Follow Kendra Peek on Twitter, @knpeek.

IF YOU GO

A public forum for candidates for Junction City Council will begin at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at The Church on Grafton Street in Junction City. The forum is hosted by the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Bluegrass Community Bank. It will be moderated by Advocate-Messenger Editor Emeritus John Nelson and broadcasted live via WHIR 1230 AM.