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We asked the candidates for Spencer County Attorney the following questions during interviews held at our offices. Each candidate had 30 minutes to answer the following six questions, as well as the opportunity to give a brief closing statement.
1. What is your educational background and legal experience, and have you sought or held public office previously?
2. What do you feel are the most important functions of the office of County Attorney and why are you the best candidate to perform those functions?
3. What are the biggest issues the county faces and how can your office help facilitate resolution of those issues.
4. As a prosecutor for the county what types of criminal issues do you see in the county? If elected, what will your prosecutorial focus be?
5. Do you take a position on any of the Sheriff’s candidates. How important is it for your office to work closely with the Sheriff’s Department in the execution of your prosecutorial duties.
6. Are there any issues to your candidacy? Are there any skeletons in your closet you would like to share in order to clear the air?
7. Would you like to discuss any other issues?
County Attorney Ruth Hollan faces a Republican primary challenger in the form of hopeful Ken Jones. Holland has held the position of county attorney since Jan 3, 2003.
Hollan is a graduate of the University of Louisville, both for her undergraduate degree and law degree. Hollan said that she was a general practice real estate attorney at the time she ran for the office of county attorney in 2002.
Jones, who has never held public office, said that he received his undergraduate degree from Centre College in Danville and his law degree from the University of Kentucky. Jones said that after law school he started out working for various firms.
“I Started with Jim Hodge in Taylorsville in 1993 and 1994,” he said. “After which I started my own practice in 2000, I have practiced here since then.”
With respect to which functions of the county attorney are the most important, Hollan said that she feels that every facet is important.
“Fiscal court is very important,” Hollan said. “I also work with the child support enforcement office and prosecute misdemeanor offenses. None of those are more important than another.”
Jones did not outline what he felt were the most important functions instead opting to give his view of the office in general.
“The county attorney practices in a couple of areas: Traffic court, family court, and represents fiscal court,” he said. “During my career I have represented quite a few people. I have been appointed by family and district judges and have quite a bit of experience in the family realm.”
Hollan said that the biggest issue facing her department is the need for a facility for district court.
“I do think county needs a judicial court,” she said. “There are some issues. I think we are at risk somewhat in the situation that we are in right now.”
Jones said that he is an outsider looking in right now but that in talking to people involved in the system he has come to a couple of conclusions.
“I get a general sense there is some difficulty working together so to speak,” Jones said. “Oftentimes my interpretation is that we have a lot of headbutting over certain issues. I would like to try to return the spirit of public service.”
With respect to criminal enforcement, the candidates had slightly different answers.
“A big issue is drug abuse issues right now,” Hollan said. “Most crimes are drug driven. Out biggest drawback is that we are short on agencies.”
Jones focused on speeding offenses and misdemeanors and said that his goal would be to maintain the integrity of the position and treat every defendant equally.
“It is important to treat everyone with dignity and respect,” he said. “Everyone makes mistakes.”
On the sheriff candidates, both candidates said that they would not take a position on who would win the election.
In response to the questionas to whether she would support one of the candidates Hollan said, “Absolutely not, I have to work with whoever the winner is. We are not allowed to take a position, we simply prosecute what is brought to us.”
Jones said that he would trust the citizens of Spencer County on the sheriff election.
“The county attorney should work closely and cooperate with with law enforcement,” he said. “They are an integral part of the team in the prosecution of misdemeanor crimes.”
Neither candidate reported any issues with their candidacy, both offered closing statements.
“I truly do love my job, I love what I do,” Hollan said. “I am committed. I have never refused to come out on a call. I am basically on call 24/7 anytime of the day or night, weekend or holiday. People think I wield some kind of power, I don’t have power. I simply enforce the law. I might not say what you want to hear but Ill always tell you the truth.”
Jones focuses on his lifelong commitment to Spencer County.
“I am not a recent transplant to the area,” he said. “My grandparents have been here in the county before the age of tractors. I have a heart-felt dedication. Really want to try to make my family and community proud by job I plan to do.”