Some new, some familiar faces elected to lead the county
With an election year that saw both Butler and Falmouth elect mayors and city councils, the county government positions up for grabs, and both the state representative and senator running contested races, there were many top stories for Pendleton County.
1. Republicans claimed eight of the nine contested races in the November 2018 General Election.
2. With the retirement of Pendleton County Sheriff Craig Peoples, the top law enforcement officers for the county was up for grabs. Republican Eddie Quinn beat Deputy Sheriff Todd Dennie in a close race. Only 61 votes separated the two candidates. Quinn had won a four-way race in the Republican spring primary, beating Rob Yelton, Richard Tate, and Darrin Brown.
“I am honored and humbled the voters chose me,” said Quinn. “I am looking to build a more proactive sheriff office. I will work hard to make a better and safer county for everyone.”
Since the election, Quinn has been focused on preparing to take over the role. He has met with the present staff and will be announcing shortly his Chief Deputy as well as his staff. He told the Falmouth Outlook that he is not looking to make sweeping changes in personnel.
One area that he is will move on quickly is hiring a second retired law enforcement officer to fill the second SRO for the school district.
3. With the volatile General Assembly from earlier in the year, the state races became a scene of rhetoric and funds being used to support or defeat candidates. Republican incumbent Mark Hart faced a stiff challenge during the campaign from Democrat Greg Coulson, but at the end of the day, Hart won easily. Hart swept all three counties--Pendleton, Harrison and Scott--and his margin of victory, 2,618 votes was the largest in the 22 years of the 78th District of the Kentucky House of Representatives.
At the time, he told the Falmouth Outlook, “I’m very excited to be re-elected and at the level that the constituents did.
After a couple months to reflect, he said, “I felt good going into election night but I never dreamed I would be re-elected at the largest margin in 22 years. I am very humbled and proud to represent Pendleton County and the 78th District.”
Since the election, the issue of pension reform reared its head again as the Kentucky Supreme Court ruled the process used to pass the pension reform bill unconstitutional.
Governor Matt Bevin called a special session to address and pass pension reform. After 24 hours, the legislators disagreed with the governor and adjourned the special session. It will be an issue looming for the legislation to address in the short session in January 2019.
“Most think the special session was a complete waste but it allowed the House and Senate to have two days to get together and start working on and writing a bill,” said Rep. Hart about the special session and pension reform. “We won’t be starting January at square one but have a taste of what everyone wants and we are one step ahead to start January’s session.”
4. Democrat Jeff Dean had sought one more term in serving Pendleton County as the County Attorney but the voters chose Republican Stacey Sanning. She had made stronger prosecution leading to more jury trials as a point of her campaign. She won the race by 327 votes in becoming the first female to assume the top legal position in Pendleton County.
5 tie. Kentucky State Senator Wil Schroder from the 10th District faced a tough challenge from Campbell County native Rachel Roberts. The Democrat candidate was set to unseat the Republican incumbent and a lot of attention and funds were focused on the seat representing Pendleton, Bracken and Campbell counties. Schroder turned back the challenge winning easily. He carried Pendleton County 3,251 to 1,369.
After the final votes were tallied, he text the Falmouth Outlook, “I am honored to have your vote of confidence and look forward to continuing to serve you in Frankfort.”
He noted that Pendleton County gave him the highest percentage win of the three counties he represents.
“I will be forever grateful for the overwhelming support from Pendleton County voters,” he said. “Pendleton County is a special place with citizens who take pride in their community.”
With good working relationships with the local leaders, Schroder says, “I am looking forward to working together as we try to make Pendleton County and the Commonwealth an even better place to live, work and raise a family.”
Like Hart, he too will face the issue of pension reform starting in January 2019 after the ill-fated special session called right before the holidays.
5 tie. It was a three-way race loaded with storylines as Ron Stinson, Sebastian Ernst and Elonda Hinson battled it out for Falmouth Mayor. Stinson had been selected by city council to serve as mayor over Ernst in a multiple round of voting. Ernst decided to challenge Stinson in the General Election and made the topic of privatizing utilities as one of the focal points. Also, in the race was Elonda Hinson who had been impeached and removed from the office of Falmouth mayor with Stinson and Ernst casting two of the impeach,ment votes. In the end, Stinson turned back the challenge with 327 votes to Ernst’s 181 and Hinson’s 79.
As the calendar moves into a new year, the City of Falmouth
“The main hurdle we have to get through right now is the sewer rehab. We are trying to get it finalized and in the final design,” said Mayor Stinson who indicated the city is under an agreed order from the state for violations before he became mayor.
Financially, the mayor is working on getting reductions on the cost of financing of the project. As the Fed changes interest rates at the federal level, it is costing the city more to complete the project.
“You are talking a quarter or half a point over 30 years and it’s a lot of money,” pointed out Stinson.
“I am trying to get this project to a point that we can then begin promoting the Klee property and build revenue through new businesses,” said Stinson.
With a 2019 election season that will see the election of a new governor, the political stories are sure to be focused on Bevin, what he has said and done, as well as what comes out of the 2019 General Session.
Rounding out the top ten political stories were: 7. David Fields retained his seat as Judge Executive of Pendleton County as the retiring Sheriff, Craig Peoples, challenged him for the role; 8. Darrin Gregg upset incumbent Bobby Fogle in a rematch for the Magistrate seat for District 3; After impeachment by Falmouth City Council removed her from the mayor’s office, Elonda Hinson filed her paperwork for mayor to challenge two of the city council members who had removed her from office; 10. Kevin Barnard had watched is dad serve as Pendleton County Board of Education member and after victory over board chair Jodi Berrtram, he will be filling the shoes his dad had left. Other stories receiving votes were: the primary matchups were set; Eddie Quinn winnig a four-way Republican primary; and Falmouth City Council elections.