ELECTION 2014: Magistrate candidates share their views

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By Mallory Bilger

Each magistrate candidate had a maximum of 30 minutes to answer the following questions:
1) What is your educational background and your current profession, and have you sought or held public office previously?
2) What do you believe is your job description or the main duties of a magistrate?
3) What do you believe is the biggest issue facing your district and/or the county?
4) What do you believe economic development should look like in Spencer County?
5) What, if any, infrastructure improvements would you like to see in your district?
6) Cooperation has often been a concern on fiscal court. How do you believe the magistrates and the judge executive should work with one another?

Republican Magistrate Candidates

Jim Williams
Jim Williams has lived in Spencer County since 1997 and this election marks the first time Williams has sought public office.
“I just see that there’s a need to get some people into the office that will do what the people of Spencer County want,” Williams said.
He said if elected as magistrate, he believes his job is to listen to the citizens in his district and across Spencer County and do what they want.
“The power of the people is in the vote,” he said. “If they are not happy with the way things are going, it’s in their power to change those things.”
Williams said if elected he would like to see economic development take the form of light industry and restaurants so some of the tax burden could be taken off of property owners. He said he would like to see the county offer businesses tax incentives for coming to the area as well.
“Right now the majority of the tax burden is on property owners . . . so that property owners would not be the sole taxpayer in this community,” he said.
Williams said he is interested in road upkeep and wants to see any issues resolved involving the levee in Taylorsville.
“I think the county needs to step up, the city needs to step up. People don’t realize how important it is,” he said.
Williams said he also wants to improve relationships within Spencer County Fiscal Court, between the court and the Judge Executive, and between other government boards in the community.
“It’s time to stop fighting and try to work together for the county,” he said. “You’ve got to do what’s best for the city and the county.”
He said he would also like to see fiscal court meet with the Taylorsville City Commission at least once a quarter to promote cooperation.
Williams emphasized that since there are no democrats running for the District 1 seat, it is important that voters get out and cast a vote in the May 20 primary.
Williams is married to Billie Slucher Williams and has a high school diploma and one year of college. He is the owner of Jim J. Williams Construction Company, part owner in Silo Farms Subdivision and is a realtor for Premier Realtors.

Mike Moody
Mike Moody is the Taylorsville magisterial district incumbent in the upcoming primary and he is hoping to serve a second term.
Moody has been a Spencer County magistrate for almost 3 1/2 years but has not held any other political office. He said his first job as a magistrate is to watch over the county’s finances and well being. He said other duties include overseeing the upkeep of roads in his district and the general welfare of everyone in Spencer County.
“The way I see it, everyone in the county is a stakeholder in the county,” he said.
Moody said the biggest issue facing his district is the levee certification project. He said as a whole, the managing of the county’s finances is the biggest issue facing fiscal court.
In regard to economic development, his vision included more small to medium sized businesses but admitted how difficult it can be to attract businesses to an area with no interstates. He said the county could offer tax incentives to employers such as a break on net profit taxes or occupational taxes.
“I think it’s obvious one of the major obstacles is the transportation,” he said.
In terms of county infrastructure, Moody said he would like to see some larger or expanded roadways, but did not see that happening in the next four years.
“There’s probably not anything that’s going to change in those regards in the next four years that I can see,” he said about major roadways.
Moody said he wants communication and cooperation to be improved between the court and the next Judge Executive.
“All the judge has to do is keep us informed,” he said. “That would alleviate most of the problems.”
Moody graduated from high school in 1981 and graduated from Western Kentucky University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science degree. He and his father, Jerry Moody, who is also running for magistrate, own Jerry Moody Automotive.

Democratic Magistrate Candidates
District: Taylorsville
There are no democratic candidates seeking election in the Taylorsville District.

Republican Magistrate Candidates
District: Campbranch

Bill Kyser
For decades, Bill Kyser served as a union steward and represented the interests of his fellow employees. While he has no formal experience in politics, he would like to once again represent the interests of the people around him — the people of Spencer County.
Kyser believes the main duty of a magistrate is to do the will of the people and to help the people.
“It’s not for personal or political gain. All the years I was a union steward, I enjoyed helping people solve their problems if I could,” he said.
Kyser said after visiting numerous homes in the Campbranch area, he couldn’t single out one major issue affecting the area, but said he has been trying to listen to the people.
“I haven’t heard of any real specific issues other than most people are tired of all the bickering and fighting and character assassination that goes on. That’s political posturing for personal gain, that’s got to stop,” he said.
In terms of economic development, Kyser said he would push to bring more businesses to Spencer County, if elected. He said the area needs more businesses to keep the tax base low in the county.
Kyser said there are a few roads in the county that need widening, but he didn’t have any other major suggestions for infrastructure improvements. He said any improvements would have to be paid for, and he didn’t support tax increases.
“I don’t want to see any taxes raised. I will never vote for a tax raise,” he said.
Kyser said if he is elected he would work to improve cooperation on fiscal court.
“I’m willing to work with anybody that has put out a good idea that will help the people,” he said.
Kyser has lived in Spencer County for 31 years and is a 1957 graduate of Fern Creek High School in Jefferson County. He has been a laborer for the majority of his life and is now retired.

Hoyt Higgins
Magistrate candidate Hoyt Higgins will tell you that while he has never sought public office before, he has always been very involved with the political process.
Through his involvement with local politics in Spencer County, he became determined to seek a magistrate’s seat so that he could see projects finished and cooperation restored on the court and beyond.
Higgins said if elected he believes his main role as magistrate will be conducting the county’s financial business.
“Very much of your responsibility as a magistrate is to make sure that the monies that are being allocated are allocated to the correct sources, and then as the year progresses, that they are administered in the process of which they were approved” he said.
Higgins said one of the biggest issues facing his district is the deteriorating blue bridge, which crosses the Salt River on Ky. 55. He said progress on that project has lagged and it is one of the reasons he is now seeking office.
“I feel like that there’s several projects that have been on the burner and they’ve been on the burner because the county judge, magistrates, the city and the city council as a whole have not come together as a unit,” he said.
Higgins said if elected he would work with the magistrates, the judge and others to bring businesses into the community. He said if the local government entities would cooperate, more businesses could be attracted to the area.
“We’re in dire need of businesses that would keep our young people here instead of having them go off to work. And right now, most of them have no where to work in this county,” he said.
In regard to infrastructure, Higgins said he wants to ensure the roads are properly maintained and that opportunities for young people are provided. He said, if elected, he would work to see that lights go up in both Waterford and Ray Jewell parks, as well as other park improvements.
Higgins said he has been displeased with the bickering and negativity on the current court and that if he is elected, he will work to develop strong relationships with fellow court members and the judge.
“Whether they are republican or democrat, it makes no difference,” he said.
Higgins is originally from Arkansas and retired in 1990 from his position as Vice President of Sales at Brown and Williamson in Louisville. He has completed some course work at the University of Southern California and at the University of Louisville.

Jerry Moody
Jerry Moody is the father portion of a father-son duo hoping to serve on fiscal court.
Jerry is the father of current Taylorsville magistrate Mike Moody, who is seeking reelection in his district. Jerry has never served in public office before, but he is hoping to bring some of his conservative values to the court.
He said he felt his most important job as magistrate would be to represent the people of Campbranch and to oversee spending.
“It seems like we have a lot of retirement plans that are not sustainable,” he said.
Jerry said respect has disappeared from the court and he hopes to help reinstate it.
“I want to get back to common sense,” he said.
Jerry said the biggest issue facing his district and the county is controlling spending. He said he often differs with society’s views on spending and other issues because he is a Christian and makes decisions based upon his Christian values.
Jerry said he is in favor of economic development in Spencer County and envisions bringing more small businesses to the community, such as a cement plant or trucking company.
“You can only do so much,” Jerry said with the infrastructure the county has.
In terms of infrastructure improvements, Jerry would like to see the state straighten out Ky. 55 between Taylorsville and Bloomfield. He said he would also like to see a crosswalk at Ky. 44 and Ky. 55 near the high school.
Jerry said, if elected, he will not be in favor of new taxes and will work to keep current taxes low. He said he would say what was on his mind and would work with the members of the court, no matter who they are.
“We need less government,” he said.
Jerry has a high school diploma and worked in the Louisville Division of Police Training Academy. He was the general manager of a automobile dealership with over 62 employees and has operated his own auto dealership in Jeffersontown for more than 28 years. He currently owns 500 acres on Grays Run Road and farms that property.
“I’ve got more invested in this county than any candidate or elected official,” he said.

Democratic Magistrate Candidates
District: Campbranch

Collis Rogers
Collis Rogers spent 33 years as Spencer County’s road foreman, and he believes that experience counts when it comes to local government.
Rogers -- who has never held any elected office - said he wanted to run for magistrate because he wanted to see cooperation and trust restored to county government.
“I would like to see the county get back to where people could trust one another,” he said.
Rogers said his main job as magistrate would be to “do the right things for the county.”
He said that the main issues facing his district and the county are road upkeep, drainage, pothole repairs and paving.
In terms of economic development, Rogers said he would like to see some type of business growth as long as the person leading the initiative had experience in that area.
“The city and the county need to get together if a business was to come into the county and not tax them to death the first year or two they’re there,” he said, noting that he believes new businesses should be offered tax incentives for locating in Spencer County.
He said he did not feel there were any major infrastructure improvements that needed to be made.
Rogers said that while out speaking to his constituents he has heard that cooperation among the county judge executive and fiscal court is a concern. He said he wants to change that.
“The magistrates and the county judge executive should work together to accomplish more,” he said.
As road foreman, Rogers completed the University of Kentucky Roads Scholar Program, which, according to UK, is a “training series designed to provide local and state government employees with basic information on maintaining local streets and roads. Completion of this program leads to the designation of Roads Scholar.”

David Taylor
Magistrate candidate David Taylor has a varied background that includes farm management, sales and is currently part owner and realtor at a local real estate company.
He is hoping to use some of that varied experience and apply it to work as magistrate in the Campbranch district.
Taylor said he believes the major duties of a magistrate are to maintain safe infrastructure for citizens, such as highway upkeep, and ensuring that taxpayer dollars are properly spent. He said county government is the second-largest business in the county -- the public school system being the largest — and that taxpayers are depending on fiscal court to handle their money properly and wisely.
“I’m a firm believer in education and taking care of our youth, but our citizens who are paying these tax dollars have to be taken care of as well,” he said.
Taylor said he realizes that if elected, Campbranch is the largest district with the largest amount of county roads that must be maintained. He believes one of the biggest issues facing the district is the need to replace the blue bridge. He said he wants to see that project finalized because it would make it safer for his constituents to enter and exit Taylorsville.
Taylor said if elected he would like to see Spencer County grow economically through light industrial businesses such as call centers, medical billing processing centers, and small trucking companies.
“Basically, anything that will do light industrial,” he said.
In terms of infrastructure improvements, Taylor said he would like to see the county park system expanded with a park placed in the Campbranch district. He also wants to see the levee rectified.
“That’s a very big issue with me because if that’s not settled, we’re all going to pay,” he said.
Taylor , if elected, said he will work to unify fiscal court. He said he recognized that everyone on the court would not agree all the time, but that it was important for everyone to come to the table with open minds. He would like to see increased communication between the judge executive and the magistrates, as well as between the county and the city.
“I think that can be established if we just open up the lines of communication,” he said.
Taylor has not previously held public office but did seek a magistrate’s seat in the 1980s. He attended Eastern Kentucky University where he earned a degree in Dairy Herd Management. He moved to Spencer County in 1982 and operated a dairy, beef and tobacco farm for 10 years. He then worked for Purina Mills as a district sales agent for around 10 years and is presently part owner and realtor at Premier Realtors in Spencer County.

Larry Wilder
Lifetime farmer Larry Wilder says he is ready to give back to Spencer County if elected as a magistrate.
Wilder is seeking public office for the first time and said, if elected, he believes his main role as a magistrate will be to oversee the spending of taxpayer money and manage the county’s finances.
Wilder said the biggest issue facing his district and across the county is the need for road improvements. He said that is generally an issue because the county road department is strapped for funds.
“The road department has no money; so, we need to work on that,” he said.
He also said he has heard concerns from Hardesty Ridge Road residents that an area of the road needs a guardrail to make it safer for school busses to travel.
Wilder envisions economic development in Spencer County as the addition of light industry because the county doesn’t have any interstates or gas lines.
If elected, he would also push to get the lighting installed at the county parks and to address some safety concerns with the bridge at the intersection of West River Road and Bowman Lane, which dips down and is often covered with water during flash floods.
Wilder said magistrates and the county judge executive should cooperate with one another in all issues that come before the court.
“They should be friends,” he said, noting that he wanted the opportunity to serve the people in the Campbranch district.
Wilder is a high school graduate and has had some professional training as well. He is a career farmer with experience in raising tobacco, beef and dairy cattle.

Republican Magistrate Candidates
District: Waterford

Hobert Judd
Republican magistrate candidate and Waterford district incumbent Hobert Judd is hoping to serve the Waterford district again in 2015.
Judd said his main duties as a magistrate include being in attendance as much as possible in court and in court-related meetings and considering the use of taxpayer dollars carefully. He added that another important duty was to look out for the people of his district and work to get projects funded for his constituents.
He said one of the biggest issues facing his district and the entire county is road issues. He noted that Spencer County is at least 12 miles from a major interstate and that Ky. 155 is overtaxed with vehicles. He said the lack of proper infrastructure, especially with roadways, creates a lack of businesses.
Judd said he is in favor of economic development in terms of manufacturing, retail business or other building-type developments. He said he thought it would need to be a mixture of business types.
“One brings the other,” he said.
Judd said he would like Ky. 44 corridor improvements to extend through Spencer County. He said he would like to eventually tie Spencer County roadway into a major interstate. He also wants to continue improving the parks system and would like to see new sewer lines and a medical center.
Judd said he is currently serving his second term as magistrate and that it has been a difficult road at times. He said he would like to see the magistrates and the judge have a renewed spirit of cooperation and there should be no shouting or name calling at fiscal court meetings. He added that differences between the magistrates and the judge should be settled out of court and the judge executive should share information regarding county business with the magistrates.
Judd has been married for 57 years. He completed two years of college, is a retired Army veteran and has served in a military leadership position since 1958. He actively advocates for veterans and is a member of First Baptist Church Taylorsville where he serves as a deacon. He is a life member of the Scottish Rite Masonry and is an active volunteer for the American Red Cross.

Democratic Magistrate Candidates
District: Waterford

Sue Todd
Magistrate candidate Sue Todd has lived in Spencer County for 34 years and she says she is seeking office because she loves the community and wants what’s best for its citizens.
“This is my home and I really care about it and I want only the best for the county,” she said.
Todd said she believes a magistrate’s main duty is to do what’s best for the county. She said that, if elected, her responsibilities would include overseeing the county’s money and passing laws.
This is Todd’s first time seeking public office and she said, “I think it’s just time that we had a woman on the board.”
She said some of the biggest issues facing her district and the county include infrastructure, such as road maintenance, and assisting in managing the sheriff’s department and emergency medical services.
“I want to keep the citizens in the county safe and so I’m very concerned and their duties,” she said.
In Todd’s opinion, economic development should come to Spencer County by way of small and home-based businesses.
“I know people used to think they could get a big company to come to Spencer County. I personally just don’t see that happening simply because we don’t have access to interstates, no rail service, anything like that that a big company would need,” she said.
Todd believes small companies can flourish in Spencer County.
She said she doesn’t feel there are any major infrastructure issues in her district. She did note that some roads are quite narrow, however.
Todd said if elected, she would like for everyone to know that she will work to cooperate with everyone.
“I don’t think that there should be all this negativity going on,” she said.
Todd said she has been making her contact information available to her constituents and that she welcomes comments from voters if they have ideas for what might help the county or ideas on saving money.
“I hope when we get a new county judge and maybe some new magistrates that maybe things will change a little bit and maybe we can all get along better,” she said.
Todd is a high school graduate, and is a cosmetologist. She operates a beauty shop out of her home and has been an Avon Independent Sales Representative for 23 years.

Democratic Magistrate Candidate
District: Mount Eden

David Goodlett, running unopposed
Magistrate David Goodlett has all but officially been declared the winner of the Mount Eden magistrate race because he is running unopposed, but the veteran public servant was given the same opportunity to answer the questions as the other candidates.
Goodlett is currently serving his 25th year as Mount Eden’s magistrate but his district recently changed to include portions of land off Normandy Road. Goodlett said he has been out driving those areas and working to familiarize himself with his new constituents while keeping in touch with the ones he has served for decades.
He said his main role as magistrate is conducting county business and managing the county’s finances, but he admits the job description is pretty varied.
“You do it all,” he said.
Goodlett said roads are the biggest issue facing his district. He said the magistrates are constantly working to find money for road upkeep.
“I have a lot of old county roads and it’s just hard to maintain them,” he said. “The money doesn’t come in fast enough.”
In terms of economic development, Goodlett said he knows what the county doesn’t need.
“We cannot handle anything that is going to take a lot of water or a lot of sewer. We’ve got to have something that doesn’t require a lot of that,” he said, adding that locating land for new businesses can be tricky.
Goodlett said he is well aware of concerns about cooperating and communication on fiscal court, and he is hoping that will improve with a new administration. He said that communication is key when doing the county’s business.
“(The judge executive and magistrates) need to touch base almost daily in some way. It’s kind of tough when you go along and don’t talk at all,” he said.
Goodlett said he is looking forward to serving his new constituents as well as his old in the next term.
Goodlett is a career farmer and has not held any other elected offices aside from magistrate. He earned his GED through the military and served in the Kentucky National Guard.

Democratic Magistrate Candidates
District: Elk Creek

Jim Travis
Spencer County native and local builder Jim Travis is taking the plunge into the public arena and seeking a seat as magistrate for the first time.
Travis said if he is elected he feels his main duties as magistrate would be to serve as the main point of contact for constituents to share concerns or suggestions about county business. He said he would bring those concerns and suggestions to fiscal court for discussion.
“You’re the first link in the chain that people can call,” Travis said.
He said other main duties include ensuring your district is well cared for, such as road and county property maintenance. Working with the county judge executive and the other magistrates on budget preparation is also very important, he said.
Travis said one of the biggest issues facing his district is traffic between Spencer Christian Church and Elk Park Drive, which includes the intersection of Ky. 55 and Normandy Road. He said it is his understanding that money has been allocated to install a traffic light with turning lanes there.
“We have been looking for that for a long time,” he said.
But Travis said he would advocate for even more road improvements in that busy area, including turning lanes installed from Spencer Christian Church to Donna Lane with a speed limit of 45 miles per hour in that same stretch of highway.
Travis said he would also like to see the blue bridge restored and not torn down because of its historic value and because doing so could save the taxpayers money.
Travis said economic development in Spencer County is difficult because the county doesn’t have the proper infrastructure to support large businesses. He said he believes downtown Taylorsville is moving in the right direction with the development of small shops, stores and restaurants.
“I would like to see more of than in Taylorsville itself,” he said.
But Travis said Spencer County is largely a bedroom community to larger surrounding counties, and some people are alright with that.
“I think Spencer County right now is just a bedroom community for the people living in Louisville and I think that’s how most those people would like it to stay,” he said.
He added that because the county does not have an interstate or other infrastructure that could support large businesses, he doesn’t foresee a big jump in business development any time soon.
Travis said, if elected, he is hoping to be an important part of restoring cooperation to the court.
“I get tired of picking up the Spencer Magnet every week and reading about all the arguing going on in fiscal court,” he said, noting that court members must compromise from time to time.
Travis said he will work with court members, no matter what political party they represent.
“There’s six people there and they all should work together as a cohesive group regardless of what party they belong to,” he said.
Travis is a local builder who owns and operates his own company. He is a retired Louisville Firefighter and graduated from Taylorsville High School in 1967. He studied for two years at Jefferson Community College and one year at the University of Louisville.

Darrell Stevens
Darrell Stevens is no stranger to working with the county and fiscal court. For 33 years he served as Spencer County’s EMS and Director of Emergency Management Coordinator. He also served an appointed position on the Taylorsville-Spencer County Joint Planning and Zoning Commission.
Stevens said he enjoyed serving the people and wanted another chance to do so. He said, if elected, his main job would be to listen to the people of his district.
“If they have problems that they need to communicate to the court, they’re welcome to come to the court but through me they can bring their problems to me and we’ll try to get them resolved,” he said.
Stevens said one of the biggest issues facing his district is traffic. He said he has received numerous complaints about the traffic at Ky. 55 and Normandy Road and would advocate to get some of the traffic issues resolved there.
Stevens said he would support economic development and envisions more small businesses in Spencer County.
Stevens said he would like to see some of the county’s narrowest roads widened, and that he would be willing to travel to Frankfort and speak with state legislatures about getting funding for such projects.
“Sitting around here is not good,” he said. “You need to be out trying to get grants and money for roads and things. I’ll work with fiscal court to do those things.”
Stevens said he wants the relationship between fellow fiscal court members and between the court and the judge executive to be positive. He said he would work toward that, if elected.
“I think they should work together to accomplish what their tasks are,” he said. “This bickering and fighting, it’s not good.”
Stevens said he wasn’t going to make any promises that he could not keep, so he would say this: “I’ll do the best I can.”
Stevens’ professional background is in emergency medical services and emergency management. This is his first time seeking an elected office.

Republican Magistrate Candidates
District: Elk Creek

Arnie Mueller
Arnie Mueller enjoys serving the people, so after retiring to Spencer County around a year and a half ago, he decided he wanted to seek a seat on the fiscal court.
Mueller retired after working 22 years in real estate and business. He believes that, if elected, his main duties as magistrate will be to take care of the Elk Creek district and address any problems within it, as well as work with the city of Taylorsville to improve overall conditions in Spencer County.
Mueller said he felt the biggest issue facing his district was the traffic at Ky. 55 and Normandy Road. He said he has been visiting voters and most of them want improvements made so that intersection will be safer.
He said he is in favor of economic development in Spencer County, but that it must be kept under control. He said areas must be zoned correctly and that there should not be spot zoning.
Mueller said his biggest concern in terms of county infrastructure is the roads. He said many of the county roads are narrow, but in good shape. He added that potholes were an issue and needed to be repaired, and encouraged constituents to voice road concerns because the road department employees could not be everywhere at once.
Mueller said he would be an advocate for creating solutions to problems, if elected. He said he has observed several fiscal court meetings recently.
“I think sometimes things are brought up where maybe they don’t want a solution,” he said.
Mueller said he is an advocate of having an agenda and sticking to it, but that he also wants the court and citizens to feel like they can discuss issues openly.
“I think it kind of mirrors the national situation,” Mueller said of the current court.
Mueller retired in Spencer County after living in and working as a real estate agent in Wisconsin. He has a high school diploma and has also completed numerous University of Wisconsin and Dale Carnegie courses.

Brian Bayers
Elk Creek magistrate candidate Brian Bayers has a knack for financials, wants cooperation and enjoys looking for solutions to problems.
butes will make him an effective magistrate.
Bayers said he has considered running for pubic office for a while, but a friend from work who has political experience encouraged him to take the chance this election cycle.
“He said, ‘You just need to do it.’”
Bayers said he believes his biggest responsibility as magistrate, if elected, will be acting as the voice of the people. He also said a large portion of his responsibilities would be dealing with the county’s financial business.
He said one of the biggest issues facing his district is road improvements. He said potholes and other small issues are numerous and, if left unattended, will turn into bigger, more expensive problems.
Bayers said another big issue facing the county overall is the levee recertification project. He feels the issue should have already been corrected and must be dealt with quickly.
Bayers’ idea of appropriate economic growth for Spencer County is slow and steady.
“Growth needs to be gradual,” he said, but noting that he did not think it was the government’s role to squelch private investment.
In terms of infrastructure, Bayers said he wants to get the levee issue resolved and identify roads and bridges that need major repairs. He said he wants to get some of the county’s “forgotten areas” addressed.
“You cannot allow them to go into disrepair because the cost to repair those things goes up exponentially,” Bayers said of roads, bridges and the levee.
Bayers said the currently relationship between the magistrates and the judge executive needs to change so that problems can be solved in a timely manner.
“I believe the county judge executive and the magistrates need to have a good relationship,” he said.
Bayers currently works in finances with the Bachman Auto Group in Louisville. Prior to that, he worked for McDonald’s Corporation for more than 12 years in marketing and children’s promotions. He has completed some college coursework in economics and accounting, as well as some psychology, communications and marketing courses.