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2014 elections could mean change in leadership

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Judge-Executive, other county leaders to face primary challengers in May

With less than three weeks until the filing deadline, the majority of the county’s top elected officials could see an easy re-election.

Tuesday, Jan. 28 at 4 p.m. is the filing deadline for anyone seeking a federal, state or local office in Kentucky, according to County Clerk Julie Barr.

But as of Monday, it was mostly those who currently hold elected office who had already filed to run in 2014.

Currently Barr, Jailer Mike Simpson, Coroner Brett Donner and six of the eight magistrates on the Oldham County Fiscal Court have filed for re-election and are unopposed for both the May primary and November general election.

Several local judges, from Supreme Court Justice Michelle Keller, whose area covers Oldham County, to District Court judges Jerry Crosby and Diana Wheeler are also unopposed. Fourth District Congressman Thomas Massie is also unopposed.

Barr said despite a short amount of time until the filing deadline, the amount of filings seem to be on par with previous election years.

Those interested in running for local office must meet certain requirements to do so.

“They have to meet the qualifications for that office, file with my office, bring the appropriate fee for filing and the appropriate signers with them,” Barr said.

While some elected officials are currently unopposed, many others will face at least primaries this May, including Judge Executive David Voegele.

Voegele, A Republican who was elected to the position in 2010 after being a magistrate, will face fellow Republican David Howley, who’s currently a detective with Oldham County Police.

In an interview, Howley said he’s wanted to run for judge executive for years, but that the 2014 election has turned out to be the best time to do so. Howley will retire in July from OCPD after more than 19 years in law enforcement, including the last nine in Oldham County.

“Some changes need to be made,” Howley said of his candidacy. “There’s nothing negative I can say (about Judge Voegele), I just think there needs to be a fresh start.”

Howley said he wants to recruit more light industry to the county with hopes that more jobs in the county could help reduce property taxes. He also said he wants to build a Jefferson Community and Technical College satellite campus to the county.

Voegele said he is running for re-election to continue programs he’s initiated with improving county roads and increasing economic development. And he was open to any competition.

“I welcome any challengers and I stand on my record,” Voegele said.

Voegele said being judge-executive is a 70-hour per week job, with decisions that aren’t easy to make. He also noted multiple improvements in roads during his term so far, including continued work on a bridge over Interstate 71, road widening in Oldham Reserve, beautification of Highway 146 and the widening of U.S. 42.

Those accomplishments, plus more, are why Voegele said he doesn’t understand Howley’s desire for a fresh start.

“A fresh start from what?” Voegele said.

Other offices currently with primaries include the county attorney, sheriff and property value administrator, which will be an open seat due to the retirement of current PVA Ron Winters.

Two magistrates, District 2’s Wayne Theiss and District 5’s JD Sparks also have primary competition.

So far, no one has filed to run for mayor of La Grange and other cities have filing deadlines in August.

But with a late January deadline, time is running short for those interested in running.

“The opportunity to run for office is open to anyone in the county,” Voegele said. “I expect anyone who pays taxes in the county has the opportunity to step forward and offer a vision for this community.”

Email us about this story at editor@oldhamera.com.