Meet the Candidates: Danville mayor and commissioners

Published 1:07 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 commissioner candidate is listed in the section because we did not receive responses from every candidate by press time. They may be added before May 17 if we receive responses from remaining candidates.

In the non-partisan races of Danville mayor and city commissioners, only two of the three mayor candidates will continue to the general election. Eight of the nine commissioner candidates will continue to the general election.

Click here for Boyle County candidates.

Click here for District Judge candidates.

Danville Mayor:

 

James “J.H.” Atkins

I have lived and served in Danville for over 40 years as a classroom teacher, principal, director of elementary schools, and college professor and administrator, veteran, and volunteer who still wants to serve our community as a public servant rather than a politician.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I have volunteered to serve in various capacities throughout our community for many years. I was the chairperson of Citizens Concerned for Human Relations for over 25 years and organized 15 successful community-wide Heritage Festivals. I am currently serving my 12th year on the city commission and my 8th year as our mayor pro tem. I have the knowledge, the skills, and the ability to get people to come together collaboratively and cooperatively.

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

The issue of workforce development and housing. We must have people who are trained and educated to do the jobs that need to be done. Each worker must receive a living wage and have a decent, affordable place to live.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Get the schools involved with addressing the needs of students who are not college bound. Make full use of Bluegrass Community and Technical College to provide vocational training. Reassess our business and manufacturing employment needs. Continue to work with surrounding counties on how the sharing of employees impacts our workforce. Work on improving the relationship between the Economic Development Partnership and Economic Development Authority so that Danville and Boyle County will speak as one economic development voice, standing proud and standing together.

 

James Morris Hunn

I’m a 1984 graduate of Danville High School, faithfully served in the USAF for 27 years. My leadership was crucial in providing senior military and civilian leaders with guidance to operate strategically in complex environments through the application of leadership problem-solving.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

The leadership experience I received as a senior enlisted leader in the USAF shaped my life for this opportunity to continue to serve my community. I was blessed to lead our servicemen and women in meeting the top priorities of our nation. This one-team mindset is crucial for Danville as we move forward. Furthermore, I love the challenge of encouraging people to come together to work for the common good. I believe I have been called to be a servant-leader. It is an honor to see people coming together to ensure we are led with integrity, compassion, service, and excellence.

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

I believe jobs and the lowering of taxes is one of the pressing issues that’s affecting us during this election cycle. Jobs and taxes affect all areas of our economic development to include how it affects the decisions of families concerning housing, jobs, and education.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

First and foremost is to lead with a servant-leaders heart – leading by an example of building a one-team, one-community mindset to meet these challenges. This must entail building trust with businesses, citizens, and community leaders with honest and open-minded engagement. This starts with intentional conversations. I envision quarterly meetings with county, and surrounding cities, and business leaders to continue mapping out how we can work together for a vision for long-term economic growth for workforce development, sustainable job growth, affordable housing, and lower taxes.

 

Denise Terry

I’m currently serving my 8th year as a city commissioner. I am a Danville/Boyle County native and reside in Danville with my husband. While residing and owning a business downtown, I began attending city commission meetings to educate myself and felt compelled to run for city commission.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

In my tenure as a commissioner I have displayed leadership skills to move the community forward. I have a strong work ethic and a call to serve this community. I am committed to the time and energy that being mayor requires. Danville has a rich history that we can build on by practicing old traditions and forming new ones. We can bridge the gap between tradition and progress by remembering where we came from but always looking toward the future. Progress isn’t about now, it isn’t about us, it’s about tomorrow’s firsts. Danville has a rich history we can embrace by being the change our future needs.

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

There are many pressing issues facing the citizens of Danville that we must continually address. These are all important but we can’t accomplish anything until we all work together. Better communication with community leaders is key in effectively addressing concerns for Danville/Boyle citizens.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

I will use my leadership abilities and experience to work with all local leaders to strengthen our community services and outreach, continue improvements to our Parks & Rec system, collaborate and communicate with other community leaders, build a better relationship between City of Danville, Perryville, Junction City and Boyle Fiscal Court, provide better access to information for citizens about important news and events in our community, design and implement effective growth and development plans.

 

Danville commissioners:

Jennie Hollon

I have enjoyed serving my first term as a commissioner and would be honored to work for EVERY citizen once again. Tim and I have raised our family here and love Danville. We currently run two businesses, the Nutrition Center and LineX of Danville. We have two daughters, ages 21 & 12.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

As a 30-year resident of Danville, my only desire is to listen, work hard, and make sure the taxpayer has a good return on their investment. Our citizens ARE our investment! My daily involvement with citizens of all ages and backgrounds allows me to hear and see the community’s needs first-hand. I believe that I best represent a voice for families as well as small business owners. If you would appreciate a candidate that has a background in business management, customer service, health & wellness, and a strong entrepreneurial skill set, then I’d humbly appreciate your vote.

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

What I see is that Danville needs to PLAN for our FUTURE, and this will require change, collaboration, and teamwork. Planning for the future must focus on economic development, housing, and our workforce. Planning for future generations is about investing in our youth and early childhood education.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

We must be united to work as a team with the City, County, volunteers, and State Rep’s, to best plan for our future. We must foster partnerships with schools, nonprofits, and businesses, to address future needs in the most efficient and cost effective manner. Economic Development will expand with a unified strategy, well defined goals, and a new approach requiring compromise. Early childhood development will be expanded through partnerships, rather taxpayer dollars. TIF districts will incentivize new housing and development. Grant writing will help pay for community park upgrades & trails.

 

Shawn Moore

I have been a resident of Danville for 51 years. A US Navy Veteran, I am currently employed as Director of Planning & Zoning & Floodplain Manager for the Mercer County Joint P&Z Commission. I am married to Jayne Moore who has worked at Webster Orthodontics for over 40 years.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

As Director of P&Z for Harrodsburg & Mercer County, I am personally involved daily in local government activities. The unique nature of the job affords me the opportunity to work not only with local officials, but with officials at the state and federal levels. This allows me the ability to network with various people and agencies who can help provide solutions for the community. Trained in dispute resolution and mediation, I believe this gives me the capability to work with people of varying viewpoints and work together to provide solutions that will work for the benefit of the community.

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

The most pressing issue facing Danville right now is the “out of control spending” combined with the level of debt the city is carrying. Loan payments the city makes are nearly $375,000 per month. With a budget exceeding $25M, it’s easy to understand why the tax rates in Danville are so high.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

An immediate “nonessential spending freeze” would be a good start. Then, a detailed department by department review of the budget should be conducted to seek out the excesses. Those excess monies could then be redirected to reduce the current debt carried by the city. At a time when it appears we may face what could be a long-term recession, now is not the time to continue to spend and assuming new debt until we can get our house in order. Once completed, then a review of the current tax levels can be done to see if tax rates can be lowered to levels more in line with communities of our size.

Charles Singleton

Born and raised in Danville. My grandfather back in the 1920s raised seven children here. He was pleased with the city then as I am now. My dad, Clyde Singleton, sold real estate in Danville. He really loved his town. I have enjoyed growing up in this community and working for the city.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

Because I am a home grown man. I lived here all my life. I’ve seen what works and what doesn’t work. I have many friends in the community and would love the opportunity to work and make Danville better.

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

I think we need to focus on creating better streets and sidewalks to make Danville a safer place.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

By fixing the potholes and uneven sidewalks. We have good city employees who have the knowledge to do this work. I know they do because I used to work with them.

 

Donna Peek

I’ve lived in Danville all of my life. I’m married to my husband Jeff and together we have 5 children and 8 grandchildren. I recently retired after 30 years with the City of Danville having worked my way up from Finance Clerk to Director of Human Resources and City Clerk.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

In a word, experience. My time as City Clerk has given me a unique perspective on how local government, and more specifically our form of government, works. In addition to formal training, I have firsthand experience working with and alongside city managers, elected officials and community leaders. Experience has taught me a great deal about what works and doesn’t work, how to work within the system, how to work together to get things done and most importantly, how to treat people. I’ve dedicated my life to public service and want to continue serving our community as your city commissioner.

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

In talking with voters, I’ve heard a wide range of issues, all of them pressing to someone. However, the one thing they all seem to have in common is a need for a unified approach to resolve them. Building trust and beginning to work together again seems to be the most pressing of issues.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

As commissioner, it’s my job to be engaged as well as engaging. As one of five on the Board of Commissioners, it is imperative I work with the other commissioners to get things done. As one part of a regional community, we must work with the other stakeholders if we are going to survive. I will work with the city manager to promote greater inclusiveness and exchange of information among our public and private agency neighbors and explore opportunities to partner together, rebuilding relationships and expanding our potential to address everyone’s pressing issues.

Rick Serres

I’m a 38-year resident of Danville. Owner of Bluegrass Biomedical and IT Services. City commissioner from 2015 – 2020.  Parks & Recreation Board 1990 – 2000. A member of the Trails alliance. Currently a board member on the Danville-Boyle County Convention and Visitors Bureau.   

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

Experience, desire and common sense decision making. Quality of life produces economic development.

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

Employee fulfillment and retention.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Attitude changes about the jobs available.  Free time activities availability and awareness.  Education. Attraction of professional small businesses catering to the medical, engineering and tech savvy markets or similar clean industries.

Steve Southerland

I have been a Danville resident since 2006 and a regional resident most of my life. I am an Air Force veteran, was a Dept. of State contractor in Afghanistan and have owned small businesses. Over the last few years, I have revitalized multiple blighted properties in the city.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

We need commissioners that will put the people first, help grow our community and improve the quality of life for all residents. Someone empathetic, who will listen and take action when necessary. As your commissioner, I will be financially conservative and respectful of taxpayer dollars. As a creative thinker who wants to make a difference, I look forward to the opportunity to serve the people of Danville.

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

Our workforce is probably our most pressing issue. This problem is multi-faceted, we have an addiction problem where at least 15% of available workers are unable to pass a drug test. We also have an aging workforce whose knowledge is disappearing quickly. Lastly, we have a housing shortage.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

We need to support recovery programs and help reintroduce nonviolent offenders back into the workforce. Also, we need to bolster programs between the high school and BCTC to provide our younger generation a usable skillset.  Housing can be addressed by developing both multi and single family homes. Danville is the only city in the area with a higher daytime population than nighttime, is that simply an issue of available housing?

 

Joe Lamkin

I am a 41-plus year Army Veteran of Law Enforcement, Jag and Budget Controller Analyst for the Division for over 12.5 years of my service. I balance all Division budgets, always balancing the yearly budgets, never going over budget, prioritizing all spending. I am a realtor and auctioneer.

Why are you the best candidate for this office?

I have an excellent work ethic for the project or the job being done, I am a good listener of others expressing their concerns or views, I know what it takes to satisfy people and citizens of the community of what they want, and not just two or three. I have overseen people leading them and showing them ways to do the job for less cost, making the right decisions for the project or job. I know how to prioritize yearly budgets and spending, and not just putting all your funding in one place, never going over the budget.

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

Balance the yearly budget by prioritizing putting funding in the proper places, not just to focus on one area of the town, but all areas. To stop hiring consultants’ groups to run this city when they know nothing about what the citizens here want. It’s time for the citizens to be heard.

How would you address this issue in your elected office?

Balance the budget by putting funding in proper places of the city, holding everyone elected responsible for their actions to the job they were elected for, and the mayor as well. Taxpayer money has been abused in this town long enough. For the commissioners to do the job they were elected. It’s time for citizens to be consultants for their city, not outsiders. We need to work as a team; I am a team leader. I will make public, if elected, a phone number that every citizen can call with their views. I am running for Danville City Commission for change for the people; I will be the voice for the citizen of Danville.