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Newberry switches to Independent

BY KATHLEEN FOX kfox@paducahsun.com

Judge-Executive Van Newberry announced Monday that he has switched his voter registration from the Democratic to the Independent Party.

In a statement released Monday night by McCracken Fiscal Court secretary Jilla Woodward, Newberry, who was elected in 2006, said he has come to believe political offices on the county level are best served by nonpartisan leaders.

"I have decided that the best way to impartially serve everyone in McCracken County, be they Republican, Democrat or any other Party, is to be an independent public servant," he wrote.

Newberry wrote that he had considered the move for some time and made the decision following the recent federal government shutdown, "partisan politics at its worst."

He wrote: "I believe this change to nonpartisan will enable me to better support the needs of our citizens. I strongly believe that this change to Independent will make me a better public servant for McCracken County."

Newberry has not filed for re-election, according to the Kentucky State Senate electronic filing records. His statement did not mention a re-election bid, and he could not be reached for comment.

Retired McCracken Circuit Judge Jeff Hines has filed to run for judge-executive on the Democratic ticket.

In the statement, Newberry cited state Sen. Bob Leeper's past decision to run as an Independent. He also said two fellow judge-executives recently changed their political registration to Independent: Larry Elkins of Calloway County and David Gallagher of Fulton County.

Elkins announced the decision in May and has filed to seek a fifth term, the first as an Independent. Gallagher, who was elected in 2007, announced that he will not seek re-election. Two men, David Weatherly and Jim Martin, have filed to run on the Democratic ticket in Fulton County.

Contact Kathleen Fox, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8651 or follow @kathleendfox on Twitter.

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