Rita Dukes Smith: What are your top priorities if you are elected/re-elected for the position of Magistrate?
Charlie Beshears: Jobs, sports complex property, securing grants, roads, more boat ramps on Tradewater River, ATV Park at Barnsley, upgrade the YAA field and the county's communication system.
RDS: What are the primary issues facing your district and what can you do as a magistrate to deal with them?
CB: The needs of my district (sixth district) are the same as all seven districts in Hopkins County. When elected you represent the interest of the whole county along with the district that elects you. At the top of the list is jobs, empty factories, beaver dams in creeks, roads, dilapidated housing and nuisance lots.
RDS: Do you believe that county dollars and resources are being spent and used wisely?
CB: Yes, I can assure you that every expenditure has been questioned again and again. Monies spent were used to move the county forward. Prices on everything ― gas, blacktop, insurance, building materials, utilities ― have risen, but we have been able to manage without raising taxes.
RDS: What are the primary issues facing the county as a whole, and what can you do as a magistrate to deal with them?
CB: Our cities, fire departments, library, Humane Society and others are unable to apply for grants that would allow them to grow because their budgets are so small. They know that if they apply for a grant that is a 50 percent match, they will be unable to match it. The county has an will continue to look for ways to allow them opportunities to apply for grants.
RDS: What are your qualities or attributes that would benefit Hopkins County?
CB: My best attribute that I bring to the court is that I can work with both Democrats and Republicans and I listen to taxpayers. We do not have to agree but we do have to respect others' points of view. I have learned that I am only one vote and that will not get me anywhere unless I have earned the respect of those I work with.
RDS: If elected/re-elected, on what does the county need to spend more money?
CB: The county needs to spend more money on quality of life things. Every community in Kentucky and the country has buildings that are vacant. Every community is hoping to attract industry. The state and counties have incentives to bring in industry that area equal to other community which are not working well or as fast as I like. What is left? We need to make our community stand out over other communities by providing good quality of life; i.e. shopping, dining, educational and recreational opportunities. I am sure you have heard the saying, “location, location, location.”
RDS: If elected/re-elected, where would you like to make spending cuts?
CB: To make spending cuts implies that I want to cut services. I want to keep the services that voters depend on. I want to keep the tax rate stable if we can and find ways to still move the county forward. Please remember that the county receives only 16 percent of what you pay on your tax bill. That's only $160 dollars for each $1,000 you paid.
RDS: How many hours per week will you dedicate to being a magistrate? What will you be doing during that time?
CB: I will be available any time day or night to my constituents. My wife and family have learned that I am always working, while eating out, getting gas, shopping and at events; if someone wants to talk about the county's business, I am glad to talk to them. I will continue to attend committee meetings, board meetings, council meetings, training and conferences in an attempt to learn the needs of my community and ways to help move our county forward.
RDS: Under what circumstances would you vote to increase tax rates?
CB: I would exhaust all other possibilities before raising taxes. It's been seven years since taxes have been raised. That should say a lot especially with the prices of everything else going up year after year.
RDS: Why should voters vote for you instead of your opponent?
CB: Because I care about our community and I try to show it through my everyday actions ― i.e. attending meetings and training that are not required and I am eager to volunteer. I am happy to work with my fellow court members and plan for the future. I hope I have proven this the last four years and I ask for your support and vote.
Rita Dukes Smith
SurfKY News Director
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