Below are the questions and my riveting (humor) answers in The Paducah Sun article interviewing candidates for County Commissioner.
1. Tell us about you.
I am a fifty-three (53) year old father, military veteran, and small business owner. My education experience includes an undergraduate degree in Public Administration and a law degree from the University of Kentucky. My work experience includes Staff Judge Advocate with the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, and staff officer with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) Division. After my service in the United States Army JAG Corps, I practiced law in western Kentucky for over twenty-five (25) years. For the past fifteen (15) years, I have worked at the law firm of Boehl Stopher & Graves located at 410 Broadway, Paducah, Kentucky. I am a partner with the law firm. As part of my duties as a partner at Boehl Stopher & Graves, I help manage a business with fifteen (15) employees. Consequently, I have experience with human relations, payroll, providing services to customers, and working within a budget. My most important job is father to a kind, fun, and sassy seventeen (17) year old daughter. My daughter, Allison, attended Clark Elementary, Paducah Middle School, and is currently a sophomore at Paducah Tilghman High School.
2. What makes you the best qualified candidate for McCracken County Commissioner?
For most of my professional life, I have been hired by various clients to analyze problems, search for solutions, and help ask good questions. I believe our community needs a county commissioner that will both individually and collectively exercise diligence to study and analyze the community’s present day challenges and plan for the future. I believe my past experience has prepared me to be a county commissioner. McCracken County needs county commissioners with the courage to think progressively to create a type of community in which people from all parts of our nation would prefer to live. That passion for improvement must be tempered with “common sense” to ensure the county stays fiscally responsible. I, also, believe your county commissioners need to be proven collaborators that have demonstrated the ability to express their ideas and have worked with others to bring about improvement. The absence of collaboration creates management nightmares such as those presently experienced with the McCracken County Detention Center. I believe I have real life experiences which demonstrate the following: (1) I do exercise diligence; (2) I can ask the hard questions and maintain respect; (3) I look for solutions; and (4) I can collaborate with others to make the solution a reality.
3. What issue will be your first priority if you are elected?
The recent loss of jobs and the slow loss of population over time are concerning issues for our community. As a county commissioner, I will work to maintain an active and helpful role in the city/county/private partnership of Paducah Economic Development (PED). Economic development is a “team sport.” A county commissioner represents the tax payers in this partnership. The community needs to understand the “economic development mission” along with the strengths and weaknesses of our community in the competition for new economic growth. As a county commissioner, I will help provide that transparency to tax payers. Also critical to economic development is maintaining our community’s status as the “preferred living quarters” in the region. We live in a unique and wonderful community. McCracken County has affordable housing, good schools, an energized and skilled labor force, low crime, great restaurants, and diverse cultural offerings. In my business travels, I have found many people want to live in a community with the qualities already possessed by McCracken County. I will work to make sure our economic development effort/message is on point and effective. It is important that we elect county commissioners who can work with other leaders in the City of Paducah and in the local power industry to ensure we are putting our best foot forward AND if the County Commissioner thinks otherwise, he/she should start public conversations to ensure the “economic development mission” stays on point. I will be that kind of county commissioner, and I can do that with civility and respect.
4. What longer term issues concern you the most?
I believe people in America are looking for a great place to live, work and play. I believe we should embrace that culture in McCracken County. Every campaign cycle, we hear about the need for an “Elizabethtown type” of sports complex from the candidates. The reality is – a significant expenditure such as the sport complex built in Elizabethtown, Kentucky is an empty promise for our community. The construction of that complex was funded by a restaurant tax which is presently a statutory impossibility for our community, and I do not think we would want the tax if we could have the tax. By the way, the operation of the Elizabethtown Sports Complex lost over a million dollars last year and the Elizabethtown city government is now scrambling to cover the operating costs. That being said, I certainly see the need for significantly better sports/recreational facilities for all ages. (For example, it is hard to believe our community of 65,000 does not have running water at a soccer field.) I also see lots of synergy in better utilizing 5 existing public park properties: (1) the Noble Park property, (2) the Stuart Nelson Park property, (3) the Brooks stadium property, (4) the Carson Park property; and (5) Soccer Park (the old landfill) property. The City of Paducah and McCracken County working together to make these 5 properties better serve our needs should be a long term goal of this community. These properties are all located close to each other and presently share existing infrastructure, public easements, public streets, and power. Ironically, the actual distance between these properties is very close to the amount of distance between the various fields in the Elizabethtown Sports Complex. Improving the way we connect to and between these properties could generate similar facilities with existing public property. In short, I am a “public parks type of guy.” Our public parks are monuments to our democracy, in that, we all own together the “cool parts” of our community. I want to see the McCracken County government and the City of Paducah government work together to improve our public parks in a way which meets the needs of our “present day culture.”