Meet the Candidates: Boyle County offices

Published 1:35 pm Friday, May 13, 2022

The Advocate-Messenger sent a survey to all candidates running for local office for this special section to introduce the candidates. The local primary election is May 17.

All candidates answered the same questions, which were limited by character counts in a Google form. The questions are:

1. Please enter your name and tell us about your background (300 characters or less)

2. Why are you the best candidate for this office? (600 characters or less)

3. What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle? (300 characters or less)

4. How would you address this issue in your elected office? (600 characters or less)

Candidates had the option to submit a headshot for print. The Advocate-Messenger sent this survey to the emails that were associated with candidates’ applications to run for office.

Not every candidate or office is listed in the section because we did not receive responses from every candidate before press time. They may be added to this section before May 17 if we receive responses from any remaining candidates.

 

Candidates for county offices that will appear on the May 17 primary ballot are:

• Constable District 1: Darrel Lyons (Republican); R. Andrew Hourigan (Republican)

• Magistrate District 1: Jeff Reardon (Democrat); Terry Hogue (Democrat)

• Magistrate District 2: Ronald Short (Republican); Paula Bodner (Republican)

• Magistrate District 4: Jerry Leber (Democrat); Keagan Hinkle (Democrat)

Click here for Danville mayor and commissioner candidates.

Click here for District Judge candidates.

 

Judge-Executive:

 

• Howard Hunt – Republican

I’m a retired Brigadier General from the US Air Force, I have a Masters Degree in Public Administration, a lifelong County resident, a highly experienced first responder to disasters, formerly a nationally certified Emergency Planner, a war veteran, and current County Judge Executive.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I experienced being on a Headquarters USAF diplomatic exchange to Kazakhstan, being responsible for $5 billion dollars worth of US Air Force resources and commanding 1,500 troops during Iraqi Freedom which provided me with stressful challenges that I met with recognized successes. Over the years I developed positive relations with both State and Federal legislators that have been engaged to help improve conditions in Boyle County. I brought a regional Drivers License Bureau to Boyle. I am led by my Air Force core values of Integrity First, Excellence in all I do, and Service before Self.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

To provide essential, effective, and efficient government services of life-saving emergency medical services, safe county roads, working for much needed infrastructure improvements in detention centers for safety and security, and obtaining new business developments matched to a viable workforce.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

By modernizing ambulance resources and advocating for enhanced medical responder training. Securing funds to replace aging, unsafe roads and bridges, much like what has been done with the South Buster Pike Railroad Bridge and US 52 Highway safety improvements. Develop new facilities for Environmental Services, EMS, and Public Works to move to, thereby freeing up space to facilitate needed Detention Center upgrades for efficient inmate services, security, and housing. Work to bring new business developments to the county that are matched by our improved workforce and housing development.

 

• Trille Bottom – Democrat

I am a lifelong resident of Boyle County. I have had the pleasure of serving the citizens of Boyle County in many capacities the past 32 years. I worked in the Sheriff’s Office for 19 years and currently serve as your County Clerk for almost 14 years. My passion is Boyle Co.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

My motto is experience, dedication and trust. With 32 years of experience in County government, working in both fee offices and the Courthouse, I feel that I am the most qualified candidate. I understand budgets and financial reporting that must be accurate and auditor approved. I served 10 years as the Fiscal Court Clerk and have experienced the inner workings of County business.  My dedication to this County speaks for itself. I am a people person and will do whatever I can to help the public. You can trust me to be honest and transparent with taxpayer dollars.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

I believe the most pressing issue affecting us now is the need for better communication and cooperation with our 3 incorporated cities in the county. Communication between government leaders, department heads, first responders and law enforcement is critical in maintaining vital needs and services.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

As County Judge Executive,  I will work on mending relationships and meet regularly with the three City Mayors to discuss needs and concerns in their respective cities. I will have regular meetings with department heads and hold them accountable for the duties under their control and leadership. The Judge’s office will have an open door policy, just as I always have, where any citizen may come in and discuss issues or voice concerns. Strong government comes from working together. My political agenda is the people of Boyle County. Experience you can trust and a candidate for the people.

 

Magistrate District 1:

 

• Tom Ellis – Republican

My wife Peggy and I moved to Boyle County in 2001 following my 26-year career in healthcare administration. On arrival, I began a Teachers’ Qualification Program at Boyle County High School and became certified in 2002.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

During my earlier healthcare career, my responsibilities took me to Frankfort and Washington DC on numerous occasions. In particular, at Blue Cross and Blue Shield was to represent Statewide Members. Covering Kentucky’s General Assembly activities 1974 – 1990, my experiences prepared me to represent Boyle Countians in Western Boyle and all throughout the county. Now as magistrate for over four years, it has been my commitment to respond quickly to all constituent inquiries, whether road related, farm issues, storm damage, legal boundaries and all other concerns brought to my attention.

What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Financial issues over the past two years have greatly impacted every Boyle County family and business in terms of individual health care, financial security, education of our young people and our churches. My highest priority will be to work with all key areas as we rebound from issues we have faced.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Working in cooperation with our Judge Executive and all Boyle County Fiscal Court Magistrates, along with Perryville City Council, Danville City Commission, the Forkland Community, Parksville and Mitchellsburg, it will be my goal to assist all businesses, educational entities, civic organizations and churches to enhance our workforce as we work to restore all aspects of our community.

 

Magistrate District 2:

• Ronnie Short – Republican

I am a Christian, God is first in my life.  My family is second and my church is third.  I am an active member of Danville Church of God serving as a Deacon. I work for Boyle County School as a bus driver.  I have driven routes in Junction City for over 7 years.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am running for re-election because I love the people of Junction City and I desire the greatest good for all of us.  During my tenure as magistrate, new playground equipment valued at $24,000 has been placed at Junction City Park. I played a role in getting newly surfaced roads, new culverts for flooding and was a vital part of getting the Drivers License Center to locate in Boyle County to keep our residents from driving to other counties to renew their license.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

I feel that infrastructure to Junction City is vital to help with water and sewer. I also feel that the airport is a huge part of Junction City and needs to be improved to bring more revenue to Junction City and also expand the Air Evac facility to keep them as a strong participant in the property.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

By re-electing me I will work on getting new infrastructure for water and sewer in Junction City as well as new plans for the airport, new subdivisions and resurfacing roads.  I am asking for your vote on May 17th, 2022 to help me remain as your magistrate for another 4 years and do the good the people deserve.

 

• Paula Bodner – Republican

I am a Registered Nurse (also with a degree in education) with 9 years in the hospital, 9 years as Boyle County School Nurse, and taught Health Sciences at Boyle County High School for 11 years. I have been on the Boyle County Health Dept Board for close to 30 years.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I believe my lifetime of living and working in Boyle County will assist in making informed decisions about our county. I will listen to the issues my district has and bring these issues to the fiscal court’s attention.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

A big issue in Boyle County is the 1000-plus unfilled job vacancies. These unfilled jobs are causing a strain on businesses with decreased work hours, shut down days and even the closing of some small businesses.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I will work with the Economic Development group, postsecondary education institutions, the Detention Center and the community in assisting individuals to join or rejoin the workforce. Some of these job openings were held by people who are currently having substance abuse or mental health issues. Helping provide healthcare systems and/or the Detention Center with needed programs in this area to reintroduce these people back into the workforce will lower the number of vacancies.

 

Magistrate District 3:

 

• Phil Sammons – Democrat

I currently serve as magistrate for District 3 in Boyle County. I am the president of KACo and have served in government for 24 years. I was manager for Common Wealth Insurance Sales Manager for 32 years of my 37-year tenure.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am experienced, dedicated and loyal to my constituents.  I have worked to solve many problems that have arisen.  I am currently serving on the Boyle County Jail Committee and play a vital role to expand the facility, while working with substance abuse, homelessness situations in our community.  I will commit to doing good for my District by listening to the people and responding to their needs and concerns.  I will make Boyle County Fiscal Court aware of my district’s concerns and will advocate for the best outcome.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

I feel that improving our Detention Center will be one of the best things we can do by offering new services for long-term care and immediate care for substance abuse and the homeless situation Boyle County is facing.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I will advocate to expand the Detention Center with Boyle County Fiscal Court.  I will support land acquisition or expansion to make this need happen.  The need for this is critical due to the rising overdose situation in our community.  I will support treatment for the longevity of the individuals who seek help and can become a productive citizen within our community.

 

Magistrate District 4:

 

• Keagan Hinkle – Democrat

Lived in Boyle County all of my life. Graduate of BCHS; member of the football and basketball teams. Graduate of Georgetown College. B.S. in Accounting. Minor in Communications. Member of the football team. Former Boyle County Treasurer. Part owner/operator of Hinkle’s EVI; and member of Calvary Baptist Church.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am the best candidate for this position because I have firsthand knowledge both inside the courthouse, and outside as a common taxpayer for the community. With this insight and awareness, change is needed. My youthfulness will bring a fresh perspective and new ideas, leading to a step in the right direction for the upswing needed for this fiscal court. It is essential that diversity among the members of the fiscal court become the new norm, regardless of age, gender, or race. New ideas, growth, and the opportunity for a better understanding of all perspectives will help initiate change.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

I believe the most pressing issue at this time is that the voice of the taxpayers in this community are not always valued. When these taxpayers voice their concerns, they should be addressed. A magistrate should not be in this position for personal benefit, but to support their community.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

The number one way to address this issue is by doing what is right. The main purpose and goal of a magistrate should be giving back to their community and being the voice for the constituents in their district. The concerns of the taxpayers in District 4 will be my priority. Everyone deserves effort and communication regardless of their socioeconomic status. Although we may not always get every concern resolved, I will do my best for the people in my district. Continuous attentiveness, energy, and exertion can be expected, with a vow to never make a promise that I can’t keep.

 

• Jerry Leber – Democrat

Lived in Boyle Co. since 1978, BCHS graduate 1964, Bachelor of Science WKU, Master of Education EKU, Rank 1 Educational Supervision EKU. High school teacher at Lafayette 4 years, Project Coordinator at EKU 8 years, elementary school principal Boyle County Schools 20 years. Married Linda Woford, 3 children: Jeremy, Arin, Jill, 5 grandchildren.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

Have immensely varied background-experiences. Member Planning & Zoning 16 years- chair for 12 years; developed, implemented, supervised Kentucky State Traffic School, STS instructor 40 years; developed, implemented, supervised 1st Traffic Alcohol Program for Lexington-Fayette County Police; revised Driver Permit Manual- Kentucky State Police; taught 40-hour DUI training course for Lex-Fayette police; taught defensive perceptive driving course to police officers, ambulance drivers, school bus drivers; developed, implemented, and supervised first Kentucky Automated Driver Permit Testing Program.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Lack of leadership and organization regarding operations of the courthouse and county government. All decisions regarding appointments and reappointments based on political party affiliation at the expense of the most qualified individual, as well as what is best for the citizens of Boyle County.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Move toward making the courthouse officers, county boards and county operations non-partisan. Appoint the best qualified candidate regardless of political party. Develop standards of performance (if not already in place) for all areas of county government. Implement the philosophy of serving the citizens of Boyle County as opposed to serving those in charge and the political party.

 

• Jason Cullen – Republican 

My family and I moved to Danville shortly after purchasing The Hub Coffee House & Cafe. I have an amazing wife Laura who works at Toliver and 7 children ranging from 21 to 8 years old. Prior to The Hub I was employed at JP Morgan Private Bank.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

As the 4th District’s current magistrate I feel that I have been a true voice for the people, not only in my district, but throughout Boyle County. As a fiscally conservative magistrate I watch every dollar of the taxpayers’ money that is spent to ensure responsible usage. In my current term we have had many accomplishments I spearheaded or championed for the people of Boyle County. Some examples are reducing Main Street from 4 lanes to 2 & adding a turn signal to 4th Street, lobbied to add a turning lane into Old Bridge from route 34, and voted no to the payroll tax increase.

What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle? 

Economic Development is a top priority for me in my next term along with the safety of our roads. Route 52 will be a road I have and will work closely with the state to improve. It can also be a new corridor to bring more people into Boyle County if reconfigured properly.

How would you address this issue in your elected office? 

I have been very vocal regarding Economic Development in Boyle County. Our county has struggled for several years with attracting good paying jobs into our community. On top of that we’ve allowed some businesses to close shop & move to neighboring communities. The City of Danville and the Boyle County Fiscal Court have discussed forming an Economic Development Authority to help make Boyle County more attractive to outside businesses. While it’s nice to have a new restaurant here and there we need good paying jobs so people can afford a home and enjoy all the things that make Boyle County great.

 

Magistrate District 5:

 

• Jamey Gay – Democrat

I am currently serving my first term as magistrate for District 5 on the Boyle County Fiscal Court. I served 10 years as Danville City Commissioner and 8 of those years I served as Mayor Pro Tem, director of PBK Bank, and medical coordinator of the Bluegrass State Games.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

My love and passion for serving this community combined with my government experience in both city and county government make me a strong candidate for magistrate representing the citizens of District 5.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Economic Development – not only large scale employers but also a focus on what is always a community’s true economic engine – entrepreneurship.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I’d support a strong public/private economic development entity that blends the strengths of the Economic Development Partnership with the newly formed Economic Development Authority – it is critical that we speak with one voice. The EDA gives us a new tool to leverage grant money and public funds to acquire land for economic development purposes.  The EDP brings the strength of privately owned land and partnership investments to the table along with an already-in-place committee structure to continue working on our most pressing issues of workforce development, childcare and housing shortages.

 

County Clerk:

 

• Casey McCoy – Republican

I was born and raised in Boyle County. After graduating from BCHS in 2002, I attended Morehead State University, where I received a Bachelor’s Degree. I have been married for 12 years and have two great children. I have been a public servant to Danville/Boyle County for 15 years.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I currently work as the admin captain for BCSO. In this position I handle collecting property taxes, the hiring process, scheduling & patrol operations. I also work closely with the Sheriff on our over $1 million operating budget. With this experience of managing an office & its staff, I also have family experience. My wife’s father, Sonny Spoonamore & his father George O. have been Lincoln’s County Clerk for over 30 years. I have been able to lean on his experience & knowledge throughout this process. Being able to shadow and gain experience through his office has only prepared me if elected.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Every election opens up with absentee ballots and excused in-person voting at the clerk’s office. Excused in-person voting can only be done under certain circumstances that are defined under KRS. No excuse in-person voting starts 3 days before the election.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

No one should be turned away if they choose to vote. Why not take the time used for excused in-person voting and open it up to any eligible voter that wants to vote early. This would lead to a bigger voter turnout and be even more convenient to our citizens. You would never have to turn a registered voter away in the coming days of an election. While someone is already at the clerk’s office or courthouse on another task, this person could go ahead and vote. While this could not be done on the local government level it can be lobbied for on the state level, which I am for. (Integrity above all).

• Sara Baird Henry – Democrat

My parents are Jeffrey and Christy Baird and my brother is Josh. My husband, Jake and I have a daughter, Atalie. I attended Danville High School. Jake attended Boyle County High School. The people of Boyle County are very important to me and I look forward to serving them.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am the best candidate for Boyle County Clerk because of the experience I have gained through my position as the Deputy Clerk for the past three years. The guidance and support I have acquired from Trille has given me the expertise that makes me uniquely qualified to be the next Boyle County Clerk. As your next Boyle County Clerk, I am committed to continue the level of service, leadership and integrity that currently prevails in the Boyle County Clerk’s office.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Holding free and open elections that will allow everyone to participate in the process.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

The office of the Boyle County Clerk is a partisan race. However, at the beginning, middle and end of the day, we are all citizens of Boyle County. There is no blue line or red line to pay taxes. My staff and I are there to serve the people regardless of party. Any attempt to infiltrate the Boyle County Clerk’s office with hyper politics would be an unfortunate development in this race and a terrible disservice to our county. My goal and objective as Boyle County Clerk will be to provide an apolitical, nonpartisan setting for all citizens of Boyle County.

County Attorney:

 

• Chris Herron – Republican

I am married to Stacie Williams Herron and we have two daughters. Stacie is a Speech Language Pathologist in the Boyle County School System. I have been your Boyle County Attorney for over 3 years and desire to continue as your Boyle County Attorney.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I have always treated everyone fairly and equally. I continue to work with the Shepherd’s House and other rehab programs to help fight our drug epidemic. My Rocket Docket program has helped many first-time drug offenders and other non-violent offenders get the treatment and help they need. I was awarded a federal Victims of Crime Act (VOCA) grant and hired a victim’s advocate. My victim’s advocate continues to be a voice for victims of crime and advocate for their rights. I will continue to be that same person you elected 4 years ago, but now with more experience and knowledge.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Drug usage and drug-related crime continues to be the biggest issue affecting us in this election cycle in Boyle County. Drugs do not discriminate and affect both the rich and the poor, those who are educated and those who are not, and all races and genders.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

My office has been successful fighting our drug epidemic.  We cannot let up and must continue to do more. I want to continue educating our youth through offering more drug education programs in their schools. I will continue working with agencies such as the Shepherd’s House to fill their beds and programs in order to help even more persons addicted to drugs get clean and be productive members of society.  I will educate our public on Casey’s Law.  I will continue to be directly involved with the newly created Drug Court Program for Boyle and Mercer Counties and help it succeed.

County Sheriff:

 

• Taylor Bottom – Republican

I am currently a Captain and patrol deputy at the Boyle County Sheriff’s Office where I began my career in law enforcement in 2010. I am a graduate of Boyle County High School and have an associate’s degree in Public Safety.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am the best candidate for Boyle County Sheriff because I have a passion for our community and law enforcement. I will continue to serve you at the highest level when elected. I have the leadership capabilities for this position because I am currently a supervisor and have held several leadership positions in our community. I am President of the FOP #69 and of Ky Dockdogs, board member of the Danville-Boyle County Chamber and Heart of KY United Way, and coached sports in Boyle County. These are just a few examples of my passion for our community and ways I have built my leadership skills.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

What I believe the most pressing issue affecting law enforcement at the local level is recruitment and retention. What I mean by that is finding qualified individuals who have a passion for service and will enforce the law with integrity.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

The best way to address this issue in my opinion is to make the pay competitive and have better benefits for my employees. I will work with the Boyle County Fiscal Court to provide the most competitive salary and benefit package to my employees without raising our taxes. By doing this we will be able to recruit and retain the most professional deputies that Boyle County deserves.

• Charles M. Parks – Democrat

I have around 40 years of police experience and 6 1/2 years in the US marines. I started my police work in 1978 at the Fayette County Sheriff Dept. In 1991 I joined the Danville Police Dept. until 1999; I then went on to be police chief of the Perryville Police Dept. and now Boyle Co. Sheriff Dept.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I have leadership experience and time of service, after being a patrol sergeant in two departments and a police chief.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

I think it will be getting all citizens registered to vote and getting them out to the polls to vote.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I want the deputies in the department to be out in the county being seen by citizens, be respectful to all and always look and be professional at all times. I would like to have enough staff so Boyle County is always covered.

Constable District 1:

 

• Ryan Andrew Hourigan – Republican

I grew up in western Boyle County in the Gravel Switch area. I have spent 10+ years working in the emergency services of Boyle county. I had the pleasure of working for the county schools and I am currently working for the Commonwealth of Kentucky as a safety administrator.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I am a great choice for this position as I can put my experience and training to use to assist law enforcement and emergency agencies of Boyle County. Public service has always been a large part of my life and this would allow me to provide the greatest service for our fellow community members. My commitment to all citizens of Boyle County is to serve with honor and integrity with a name you can trust and rely on.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

We need to encourage all voters to find any way possible to get out and vote. The rural nature of the western part of the county can have many challenges from knowledge of the area as well as the community members.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

My knowledge of the area and members will assist in providing services. I am a person who you can trust to state your concerns and issues. I will serve as a liaison with all agencies to ensure all citizens receive proper services needed.

• Darrel Lyons – Republican

I am running for Constable in Boyle County’s First District. I work full time at a factory in Lebanon and have previously worked for the KY Department of Corrections as both an officer and a sergeant.

• Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I believe in the rule of law, and what that represents. I may not agree with everything, as it is instituted, but constable is an enforcement position, not a policy position. As such, my job is to uphold the law as it is written, regardless of my personal feelings or opinions on the matter.

• What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

Honesty and accountability are severely lacking in modern politics. People are too afraid of losing the next election to tell the truth or say what needs to be said, which leads me to believe they have no interest in the truth.

• How would you address this issue in your elected office?

My aim is to restore integrity and honesty to politics. I am running for constable to demonstrate that I am accountable and can be relied upon to do the job no one wants to do. Constable is not a popular position. No one likes being served papers from the court, however the job must be done. I volunteer.