16 candidates vying for 3 county commissioner seats | News

With 16 candidates campaigning for Daviess County Commissioner, the field is wide, with a cross section of residents seeking to fill three seats on the four-member elected body.

Executive Judge Al Mattingly, who currently occupies the fourth seat, will retire at the end of his current term.

Current Central Division Commissioner Charlie Castlen has elected to run for Executive Judge and Eastern Division Commissioner Mike Koger has decided to retire.

West Division Commissioner George Wathen is the only outgoing commissioner to stand for re-election.

Wathen, 68, said he thought it was important to have some continuity at Daviess Tax Court.

“I’m actually the only candidate in the running who has held the specific position before,” he said. “You will have at least two new members on the court and I think it is important that we have continuity.”

Wathen, one of 15 Republicans running for county commissioner, said he thinks conservatives are needed for elected office more than ever.

“Anyone who knows me or knows me knows I’m a conservative, whether it’s talking about social issues or being fiscally conservative.”

Other candidates campaigning for West County Commissioner include Sharon Castle, 79, Chris Castlen, 57, Patrick Hayden, 44, and Dustin Warren, 41.

Castle, who previously campaigned for the Daviess County School Board in 2020, said she was running because she didn’t feel communication was handled properly in tax court.

“Communication is key when it comes to dealing with people; so it’s really important to get that information and have your stuff looked at,” Castle said. “Even though there’s nothing you can do about it, you really have to let people know because they’re paying taxes.”

Castlen, a retired U.S. Navy and Owensboro Police Department lieutenant, said he thinks it’s time for a new generation of leadership in Daviess County.

“I have two daughters in college, one in high school, and I see that as a community we need to build on our current successes that we have had in Daviess County and continue with the opportunities for our future generations by building on our successes, too,” Castlen said. “I think a generational shift in leadership is what we need to get there.”

Patrick Hayden, 44, who has worked in the construction industry, said he thinks the Tax Court should be more conservative on budgeting and spending.

“I think there’s always fat in the budget and I think they have enough money, but they always feel like they always have to spend it,” Hayden said. “It’s always ‘we may not raise taxes this year’ instead of ‘hey, we’ve been good stewards of your money, so we’ll lower them’.”

Dustin Warren, a farmer and volunteer firefighter, said he decided to run for county commissioner to help secure a good future for Daviess County.

“I have decided to run for the taxpayers, the citizens and the future of our community,” Warren said. “I just want to be able to give everyone the transparency they need to be heard and just be a voice for them.”

The 2022 primary has brought out seven candidates for the county’s central commissioner seat, which unlike the Western District has no incumbent for re-election.

Local business owner Darrin Autry, 57, decided to enter the race for the Central District because he would like to see more business growth in Daviess County.

“I think the main issue is trying to help Owensboro grow again,” Autry said. “Our cops, our utilities, they haven’t been treated very well and I think we need to show them our support as well.”

Dianne Burns Mackey, 75, a retired teacher and former member of the Daviess County School Board, said she would like to see more people from outside the town of Owensboro represent Daviess County in tax court .

Flooding and drainage issues are areas she would like to work on if elected.

“I know of some county-specific issues, like Panther Creek water,” Mackey said. “I wish Panther Creek was cleaned up more regularly so we don’t have as much flooding.”

Mackey said she was conservative in her spending and didn’t think taxes should be raised.

“I don’t think we should raise taxes, I’m conservative in that regard,” she said.

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Larry Conder, a former Owensboro city commissioner, also decided to throw his hat in the county commissioners ring.

Conder, 61, said he wanted to make sure the $19.7 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding is spent in the most beneficial way for Daviess County residents.

“There’s a significant amount of ARPA funds and other funds that will come to the tax court, if not already, that need to be administered properly, over a long period of time,” he said. “This is the first time in a very long time that the tax court has had this, I guess generational, opportunity to really make a difference in the lives of people who live in Daviess County.”

Andy Gamblin, 58, said as a school bus monitor for Owensboro Public Schools, he didn’t have a lot of money to spend on a big campaign, but he always wanted to do his best. .

“I’m concerned about our county,” Gamblin said. “I want to try to keep taxes lower and we have to try to create good, well-paying jobs.”

Jason A. Jackson, owner of Phantom Electric & Technologies, said he was interested in servicing Daviess County Parks.

Jackson, 40, said he decided to show up, “to try to make a change, to really understand the budget.”

Jackson said he thinks there is reckless spending and would like to see a tax court budget that doesn’t spend all of the allocated money.

“We have the budget and we are spending everything,” he said. “We don’t always have to spend it all just because you have the budget.”

Michael Norman King, 40, said he was running to promote business and job growth in Daviess County.

“I think the current regulations are too rigid and impede growth,” King said.

King, president of Norman King Electric, said making these business regulations more user-friendly will allow for greater job growth and help mitigate any possibility of higher taxes.

Tyler Sagardoy, 36, and the only Democrat running for Daviess County commissioner, said he believes good government is more than good management.

“I’m running for commissioner because I believe in the transformative power of good, fiscally responsible local government,” said Sagardoy, who won’t have an opponent until November’s general election.

Matt Fitzgerald, a 37-year-old Iraq War veteran and former law enforcement officer, said public service was important to him. That’s why he decided to campaign for the Eastern Division seat.

“I have a daughter; she was born in November and I’m doing a lot of this because of her and future generations,” Fitzgerald said. “We should try to leave the county better than when we found it. “

Mark Irby, 47, said he believed his 24 years of experience working in various county departments and several different councils had helped him gain the experience needed to serve on the tax court.

“I started working for the county in 1998,” Irby said. “We have a big tax yard right now. They have prepared a great plan for us to continue and I would like to be part of it.

Realtor Janie Marksberry, 62, said she decided to run because she wanted to see “smart growth” in the Daviess County community.

“I believe we need to plan for the future prosperity of Daviess County and help improve our quality of life while preserving what makes our county special,” she said. “We want to focus on rebuilding and revitalizing our existing commercial areas and streamlining and simplifying our planning and zoning process.”

Eastern District candidate Jimmie D. Sapp, 62, said now that he’s been able to take a step back from his business, Twin Oaks Automotive, he’d like to give back to Daviess County.

“I believe I can make a difference with the experience I’ve had in business and farming,” Sapp said. “I’m a very conservative businessman and I’ve had the good fortune of owning my own business for 27 years and recently decided that I was going to retire or retire and try to give back to the community that I was lucky enough to have a business.

The next primary election is set for May 17.

Nathan Havenner, Messenger-Inquirer, [email protected], 270-228-2837

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