District 1

Bill Bartleman (R)

1) Tell us about you (including but not limited to personal, educational, and professional information):

Carla and I have been married for 42 years. We have one daughter, Jeni Drake, who graduated from Reidland High School and works for ophthalmologist Dr. Barbra Bowers. Our son-in-law, Steve Drake, graduated from Paducah Tilghman and works at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant. We have three grandchildren, Austin, who graduated from Lone Oak High School and Spalding University, and Tristin and Cadin, students at Reidland Middle School. I am a 1972 graduate of Murray State University where I majored in journalism and business.

For 39 years, I worked as the government affairs and political reporter for The Paducah Sun. I now work for West Kentucky and Tennessee Telecommunications as director of special projects. In 2014, I was elected 1st District county commissioner, defeating a 16-year incumbent. In 2011, I was inducted into the Kentucky Journalism Hall of Fame. I'm on the boards of the Kentucky Association of Counties, Purchase Area Development District, Paducah-McCracken County Convention Center and Western Recorder Baptist newspaper. I also am a graduate of the Leadership Kentucky training program, and recently graduated from the Delta Regional Authority Leadership Academy. Carla and I are members of Reidland Baptist Church where I serve as a deacon and moderator.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

Experience as a reporter and as the incumbent McCracken County Commissioner make me the most qualified candidate. I understand the inner workings of government and have developed cooperative working relationships with local, regional, state and federal officials and agencies. Those relationships help to create a positive view of McCracken County and to attract the attention needed to get things done to improve the community. My work as a reporter involved being a government watch dog, and I've continued that philosophy as commissioner. I'm not afraid to ask challenging questions and demand accountability for how tax dollars are spent. When people contact me about problems or concerns, I always try to meet with them face to face to get a first-hand look to better understand their problem. Decisions I make are not based on politics or social class, but on what is best for county. I have a concern for people and understand their needs because of my involvement in all segments of the community. I'm influenced by facts and compassion, not politics.

3) What issue will be your first priority if you are elected?

The first priority will be to work in cooperation with community leaders to create an independent economic development agency that can be successful in attracting new business and industry to the community. It is important to learn from mistakes of the past to make positive changes. To help achieve that goal, I will continue work to create a positive feeling about McCracken County, not only by residents but more importantly by people outside the county and region. A positive feeling is the key to economic development and creating a vibrant economy with high paying, career sustainable jobs. The positive feeling can be created by enhancing the outstanding quality of life that already exists, being progressive in our programs and ideas to prevent an out-migration of young people, improving and expanding the already excellent education systems, working in a cooperative spirit with all segments of the community and recognizing the need for regional cooperation.

4) What long-term issues concern you the most?

Creating a quality and economically feasible 911 emergency call system is a major long-term challenge. The patrilocal view of control by any one agency must be set aside to create a system that first and foremost provides top-notch public safety but is affordable without breaking the banks of local governments. It must be a cooperative effort to create an independent regional center involving at least the city and county, and hopefully other nearby government agencies.

A second long-term problem is lowering electric rates and getting utility providers to make decisions that help in the important goal of economic development.

A third concern is making sure that the governor and state agencies such as the Economic Development Cabinet keep western Kentucky on a level playing field with other areas of the state. Correct or not, there's a perception that the region is ignored by Frankfort. More must be done to change the fact or remove the perception. Other issues are to increase salaries for the lowest-paid county employees, support law enforcement and volunteer first responders, and continue a conservative approach to spending tax dollars.

Mark Scott (D)

1) Tell us about you (including but not limited to personal, educational, and professional information):

I am a lifelong resident of McCracken County and reside in Reidland. My parents are Geraldine Scott, who was a Realtor in Paducah, and the late Merritt Scott, who worked for the city of Paducah as a firefighter.

I have one daughter, Paige Scott, who resides in Nashville, Tennessee, working as a paralegal for the law firm Freeman and Fuson.

A 1978 graduate of Reidland High School. After graduation I was accepted in the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 184 apprenticeship program, which I have been a member of for 40 years. I am a 20-year member of the United Steel Workers 550 at the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion plant, doing site wide cleanup work.

I am a member of Gospel Mission Worship Center, and a member of the NRA.

Some of my spare time is spent in the outdoors hunting and fishing.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

I would like to think that my work ethic says a lot about me and who I am.

I have always been a people person with a desire to want to always lend a hand in some way. I would like to take that same desire and use it to represent the people of McCracken county, and to be a voice for those that don't feel like they have one.

Willing to work with county and city leaders to bring good jobs to our area.

3) What issue will be your first priority if you are elected?

It seems like our county has several issues. Poverty, the job market, drug abuse, just to name some.

But the job market seems to be the one that most everyone I talk with wants to discuss. We do need good paying jobs, and we need the type of jobs that not only pay a decent wage but also has a decent health insurance plan and a good retirement plan also.

People should not have to work 2-3 part time jobs so they can make ends meet. We live in a time where some people have lost their dignity. But in order for someone to better themselves they have to be willing to work and work at it, it can't always be blamed on someone else because they can't seem to get the bigger slice of the pie.

4) What long-term issues concern you the most?

This again comes back to jobs, Who you ask and how it affects them the most.

But the job market is a big issue.

With the resources we have: The river systems, interstates, airport and railroads should be some of our best selling points when it comes to industry and jobs here. We have the land, but we don't seem to get looked at or we don't seem to get a second look. Is it our tax base that keeps industry from coming here?

Paducah should be more than just a rest stop between St. Louis and Nashville. If that's all we will ever be then hotels and fast food is all we are going to have.

We need the type of jobs here where we can raise our families and our kids won't have to leave here to find work to be able to raise their own families.

Jobs that have a retirement plan with good benefits is a vital need. There may come a day when Social Security is no longer one of our options.

We should try to fix the things that we can control.

District 2

Jerry Beyer (D)

1) Tell us about you (including but not limited to personal, educational, and professional information):

Resident of Hendron and Lone Oak communities for 68 years; licensed funeral director since 1972; member of Concord United Methodist Church; professional/public relations advisor Wilbert Vault Company; master coroner; member of Fraternal Order of Police; guest lecturer SIU Mortuary Science Dept.; member of the NRA, Plain City Lodge 449 F & AM, and KY Coroners'/Medical Examiners' MASS Fatality Team.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

My long standing association with every elected official and all departments in county government gives me a better understanding of services that taxpayers need and truly deserve.

3) What issue would be your first priority if you are elected?

To continue to moniter all budget lines. Verify that McCracken County citizens along with other elected officials of this county to make our community a safe, prosperous, and progressive place to raise our families. I pledge to work with other officials of both city and county to bring more jobs to area.

4) What long-term issues concern you the most?

My concern will be to provide essential services to our citizens while making good on our promises to our employees both current and retired in regards to the added burden of the pension contributions. Also, additional funds will need to be found to fund a complete update of 911 services.

Jeff Parker (R)

1) Tell us about you (including but not limited to personal, educational, and professional information):

I am a lifelong resident of McCracken County, and reside in Lone Oak with my wife of 30 years, Lisa Cathey Parker. Together we raised four boys, and today enjoy our 11 grandchildren. We are fortunate that they all live in McCracken County. I am very active in and attend church with my family at Highland Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where I serve as an elder. I have had an active role in the community for several years, and currently serve on the River Discovery Center board.

I am a graduate of Reidland High School and attended Paducah Community College for two years. While there, I began a 22-year career with UPS as a delivery driver. After leaving UPS, I worked several years in the family restaurant business, Parker's Drive-In, then saw an opportunity to enter the very new cellular phone business. I owned and operated seven AT&T stores for several years, eventually selling them to return to the restaurant business with City Rockers. Today, along with my son, I own and operate The Catering Company of Paducah. As a father and grandfather, I am committed to creating a bright future for the next generation.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

I love serving our community and am very much passion-driven to give back to a community which has given so much opportunity to me and my family. I feel very connected to the community through various functions and organizations. Having been an employee, employer and union member I can see issues from many sides. Owning and operating several small businesses in recent years help qualify me for this job. As a small business owner, I know what success is at every level; on the flip side, I have seen failure with the ups and downs of owning a small business. As a small business owner, I am used to working hard and will work hard for our community's future.

I believe the people of our county deserve a commissioner who is out in our community listening to its people. I believe in taking a good common-sense approach, working through problems to find viable solutions. I truly believe that faith, family and hard work carry us a long way in whatever we do in life, and will apply those principles when elected as your commissioner for the Second District. I understand I will be serving each and every resident of McCracken County.

3) What issue will be your first priority if you are elected?

I feel our county is in a backslide, with major job loss and a stagnant housing market over the last several years. It is time for a change. I see the county committing a lot of tax dollars to go after new business and industry. We are very blessed with interstates and major river and rail arteries running through the county. We are fortunate to have very strong local industries: marine-, riverboat-, and railroad-industry companies, medical providers, construction and trucking firms. I think we sometimes aren't seeing the trees for the forest. I would like to get together with these industries' leaders to see what the county can do to promote and bring new jobs in these industries. These companies are already here, with proven track records, very good pay structures, and higher-than-average pay rates. We need to make sure we are doing everything possible to promote and help these businesses grow. In the short term, growing these industries will grow the county's tax revenue; in the long term, the increased revenue will allow us to grow local companies and to go after new industries and jobs.

4) What long-term issues concern you the most?

When elected to be your next county commissioner for the Second District, you can count on me to work tirelessly to reverse the trend of a flat McCracken County and grow our county in the right direction. I will work with the commissioners and County Judge to exploit any growth opportunities. I will push to have a full-time grant writer employed for use by all county offices, in order to acquire funds that might be available. Last but definitely not least, the safety of our county and its residents is a top priority. I will work with the sheriff's department and road department to make sure they are equipped with the technology and equipment to properly protect our citizens and their families.

I believe by electing Jeff Parker as your next county commissioner, you are electing someone who can in the long term bring private and public entities together to make the right decisions to move our great county forward and ensure a bright, prosperous future for all.

I would consider it an honor to serve the people of McCracken County and humbly ask for your vote on November 6. Thank you.

District 3

Ryan Johnston (D)

1) Tell us about you (including but not limited to personal, educational, and professional information):

My name is Ryan Johnston. I'm married to Kelsey King Johnston and we have two children; Elli is 4 and Case is 16 months. We currently reside in West Paducah. I'm a lifelong resident of McCracken County, having graduated from Lone Oak High School in 1995. I've been a firefighter for the City of Paducah for over 19 years and my current rank is captain. I also serve McCracken County as a deputy coroner.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

I have spent the majority of my life helping the citizens of Paducah and McCracken County in some of their most vulnerable times. With my years of service I've gained valuable insight into the changes the residents of McCracken County want to see. I am energetic, enthusiastic and ready to meet the challenges these changes will bring. My goal is to be an advocate for all citizens of this county. My years of commitment and service to McCracken County represent me being the most experienced and qualified candidate.

3) What issue will be your first priority if you are elected?

My first priority as your 3rd District county commissioner is to give the citizens of this county a voice. I will have an open door policy where your concerns will be taken seriously, handled courteously and efficiently. I also want to see change implemented in the current fiscal court meetings and allow residents to speak freely without prior approval. List below are a few other areas that, as your county commissioner, I believe need to be addressed:

• McCracken County outdoor sports complex. An outdoor sports complex is an integral part of a community. It offers residents of the area a safe place to enjoy recreational and competitive sporting events. This type of complex, in a county as large as McCracken, would bring in revenue that would encompass our entire community.

• Public Safety (sheriff department, coroners, county fire departments, Emergency Management, jailers, constables)

• McCracken County Jail - deputy jailer salaries, personnel issues, turnover rate, etc.

• Keeton Correction Facility

• Animal Shelter

4) What long-term issues concern you the most?

I am passionate about seeing McCracken County grow and expand, bringing much needed job opportunities into the area. We need industry here and I want to work with other governing boards to define the problem the county has in retaining and bringing in jobs that can support families. Once that is defined, I want to move toward making necessary changes that will make Paducah and McCracken County the best it can be.

Eddie Jones (R)

1) Tell us about you (including but not limited to personal, educational, and professional information):

I am a 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 25 years. For the past 15 years, I have worked at the law firm of Boehl Stopher & Graves located at 410 Broadway. 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 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 17-year-old daughter. My daughter, Allison, attended Clark Elementary, Paducah Middle School, and is currently a junior at Paducah Tilghman High School.

2) What makes you the best qualified candidate?

For most of my professional life, I have been hired by 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.

We need 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 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 that: (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. Economic development is a "team sport." However, I firmly believe the county government needs to assume a much more assertive role in the economic development. The community needs to understand the strengths and weaknesses of our community in the competition for new economic growth.

As a commissioner, I will help provide that transparency to taxpayers. 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 culture offerings.

In my business travels, I have found many people want to live in a community with the qualities already possessed by McCracken County. It is important that we elect 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. I will be that kind of county commissioner, and I can do that with civility and respect.

4) What long-term issues concern you the most?

I believe people are looking for a great place to live, work and play. Every campaign cycle, we hear about the need for an "Elizabethtown type" sports complex. The reality is the construction of that complex was funded by a restaurant tax which is presently a statutory impossibility for our community. 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 cost.

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 because the soccer field property is limited by its past use as a landfill). I also see lots of synergy in better utilizing 5 existing public park properties: (1) Noble Park, (2) Stuart Nelson Park, (3) Brooks stadium, (4) Carson Park and (5) Soccer Park (the old landfill).

I am "public parks type of guy." 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."

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