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Eleven battle for six seats on Mount Washington council

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ELECTION 2008

By Mallory Bilger

MOUNT WASHINGTON — Eleven candidates are vying for a spot on Mount Washington City Council this election, seven of which have previous political experience.

Each candidate has his or her own goals if elected. Read on to find out why each candidate has chosen to run and what he or she plans to do if elected:

Clifton Hudson

Clifton Hudson has been looking for a way to get involved in city or county government for several years.

Last election Hudson, 39, ran for constable and was defeated — but he wasn’t ready to give up so he decided to run for city council.

“I just felt like I had people encouraging me to run because of some issues that are not getting addressed by this council,” he said.

Hudson, who has spent most of his life in Mount Washington, said the completion of the city’s new sewage treatment plant and getting the citizens better representation would be at the top of his list of priorities if elected.

“We need to expand the city limits to meet the second district boundaries,” Hudson said. “That way everyone can have a voice that has a Mount Washington address.”

Hudson said he would like to see the city split up into districts so that each council member would have a specific area of representation.

“It would give people a face with their precinct,” he said.

He would also like to establish a Mount Washington city government building and bring a hospital and trauma center to Mount Washington.

Hudson said he’s worthy of a spot on the council because he is determined and cares about Mount Washington’s residents.

“When I set my mind to something, I go after it. I’m going to dedicate 24 hours, seven days a week to this position. When a citizen comes to me with a concern, I’m going to address it.”

Hudson has past experience as a self-ordained pastor and is currently trying to start a church known as Lovelight Ministries.

E. Dennis Griffin, republican

Many people recognize Dennis Griffin’s name because his father, Sid Griffin, served many years on the city council and as mayor.

Griffin, 57, has decided to follow in his father’s footsteps of public service and is hoping to get elected to the council this November.

“I’ve been thinking about running for a long time,” he said. “With my dad on the board, I waited for him to step down.”

Griffin, who grew up in Mount Washington, said he doesn’t believe the citizens have been at the top of the agenda for many past and present council members.

If elected, Griffin said he would work to expedite the new sewage treatment plant and bring new restaurants and businesses to town.

“The sewage treatment plant is one issue that’s going to have to be taken care of right away. The sewers are the number one thing.”

Griffin said he would be a good council member because he would keep the people’s needs first.

“I feel like I’m part of this town. I’m one of the guys that if you call me about a problem, I’ll check it out and get back with you.”

Griffin believes that many council members fail to properly follow up with concerned citizens.

“I’m a whole lot like my dad, I guess. He would get back with everybody. It seems like that’s what’s missing. The people that are on the council now aren’t working for the people like they should be.”

Griffin is a previous member of the Washington and Marion County Fraternal Order of Police and is a former member of both the Mount Washington Lions Club and fire department.

Larry Porter, Republican

Larry Porter is a familiar name at city hall. Porter has served two terms on city council and ran in 2006 for mayor.

Although Porter was defeated for mayor, he said he wanted to continue serving through city government.

“I enjoy serving the community and that’s number one,” Porter, 49, said. “I really did enjoy what we did. To be involved and see the workings of the city, dealing with the general public every day, I just really enjoyed it.”

Porter said that if elected he would commit to working with the mayor in ensuring that the sewage treatment plant was completed in a timely manner. He recalled that he had worked on the project extensively with past councils and wanted to see it through.

“We worked on the treatment plant and I’m sorry I’m not there to be doing that at this time,” Porter said.

He said he would also like to attract more businesses to the community and work to improve Highway 44.

Porter said if elected he would be a trustworthy and committed council member.

“I like to be honest with everyone and give everyone an answer that they can live with,” Porter said.

He said he would be committed to making himself available to the community.

Porter owns and operates the Cyclone Farm and Home Center on Highway 44 East in Mount Washington. He is a member of the Mount Washington Lions Club, serves on the Board of Directors for Peoples Bank of Mount Washington, serves on the Selective Service board and is a member of Bethel United Methodist Church where he serves as a trustee.

Gary Lawson, Republican

Incumbent Gary Lawson is looking to serve a second term on the city council.

Lawson, 56, said he chose to run for reelection because he wants to see Mount Washington continue to improve and grow and wants to serve as a liaison between the people and the city.

If reelected, Lawson said he would continue to help secure funding for the city’s new sewage treatment plant. He would also commit himself to improving Highway 44 and the city’s police department.

“I want to help the police department improve to be the best in the state,” he said.

Lawson is a life-long Mount Washington resident and said he would continue to try and resolve problems in the city if elected.

“I’m available at all times to listen to and be a voice for the people,” he said.

Lawson said citizens should put their trust in him because he is open-minded and patient in resolving problems.

“I welcome hearing from the public,” he said.

Lawson has owned and operated Mount Washington’s Mass Tire and Automotive for 22 years. He has also served 10 years on the Mount Washington Fire Board of Trustees and currently serves as board vice-chairman.

Dale Walter, Republican

Dale Walter said he could bring a fresh approach to city government if elected to city council this November.

Walter, 54, has no prior political experience but believes he has what it takes to serve the Mount Washington citizens.

He said he chose to run for council this election because he has new and fresh ideas to bring to the city.

“I want to inject new ideas,” Walter said. “I’ve got some new ideas that I want to get out there and some things that I think need to be done.”

If elected, Walter said he work to get the city its own economic development office. He said although the Bullitt County’s office was doing a good job, he didn’t believe it was doing enough for Mount Washington.

“The Bullitt County office, most of its emphasis has been on Shepherdsville,” he said. “We need our own.”

Walter said he would also work to create separate districts for council seats.

“We’re one of the few cities that doesn’t have it broken down into districts. It would make council members more involved in his or her area.”

Walter said he would also work to widen Highway 44 and to get more police officers hired.

“We have two beat officers per shift and that’s not enough,” he said.

Walter worked as a foreman for Jefferson County Schools and currently serves as a reserve deputy for the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.

He is a member of the Fern Creek Sportsman’s Club and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 25. He has also been married to his wife for 32 years.

Greg Gentry, Democrat

Greg Gentry has enjoyed serving the city so much over the past two years that the incumbent is seeking another term on city council.

Gentry, 38, is a life-long Mount Washington resident who said he enjoys dealing with people and is always looking for ways to give back to his community.

If reelected, Gentry said he recognizes that residential growth is slowing. He said he would like to see the city experience more commercial growth, such as restaurants and retail businesses, to serve the existing residents.

“This would provide more jobs for the citizens of Mount Washington and tax revenue for the city,” he said.

Gentry said his strong financial background, along with good communication skills, makes him a worthy candidate for city council. He said he recognizes that being a councilman isn’t always easy, but it’s rewarding.

“I enjoy dealing with the public and I am always open-minded when it comes to the city’s best interest now and for the future. Not every decision is an easy one but you make the best decision with the information you have been given,” he said.

Gentry currently serves as a Bullitt County Court Appointed Special Advocate and is an ambassador for the Bullitt County Chamber of Commerce.

Lloyd ‘Shot’ Dooley, Democrat

Lloyd ‘Shot’ Dooley is certainly no stranger to Bullitt County, especially to Mount Washington.

Dooley, 72, is a life-long resident of the city and said he is running for reelection because he wants to continue giving back to the community.

“As a life-long resident, I wanted to be a part of helping make our city a better place to live,” he said.

Dooley said if reelected he would continue working to ensure that the proposed sewage treatment plant was constructed. He is also committed to improving traffic flow and safety on Highway 44, as well as getting a turning signal at Highway 31 EX and Highway 44.

Dooley said he is the right choice for city council because he has experience and knows the community.

“As a life-long resident, I’ve seen and been part of many changes in the community. My experience in local government will be helpful in keeping our community moving forward with smart growth,” he said.

Dooley has been married to his wife, Arbidella, for 51 years. He has four children, Lloyd Allen, Delinda, Dwight and Daniel. He has five grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.

He is a retired Bullitt County Sheriff, a member of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church and a Mount Washington Lions Club member.

Barry Armstrong, Democrat

After serving more than 33 years on Mount Washington’s city council, other people might be ready to step down.

But not Barry Armstrong.

Armstrong, 66, is a lifetime Mount Washington resident with a passion for city government. As he finishes out his thirty-fourth year as councilman, he is again looking for reelection.

“I love my community and have a desire to help it grow and prosper,” he said. “At the same time, I want to see that city government is working for the benefit of its people but to also see that the city’s business is being prudently managed with a great deal of fiscal responsibility. I believe I can help do this.”

Armstrong said he has five main goals if elected, which include: achieving better traffic management within the city, including Highway 44 and city streets; to carry through with the current plans to improve the appearance of the city’s downtown area; to ensure that city council members are easily accessible to address citizens’ concerns; to help oversee the timely construction of the proposed sewage treatment plant; and to encourage police officers to be considerate, accessible and fair when working with citizens.

Armstrong said he believed his experience, coupled with his passion for managing and helping people, make him a good candidate for city council.

“I feel my experience as a previous city councilman is certainly something worth considering,” he said. “The fact that I have a vast experience with managing people, preparing and following budgets and dealing with people from my experience in the financial industry is something that I felt could be a contribution in conducting our citizen’s city government.”

Armstrong graduated from Mount Washington High School and completed on year at the University of Kentucky. He has worked in the financial industry for more than 35 years and attends the First Baptist Church of Mount Washington.

He is a member of the Mount Washington Lions Club and is the son of Hubert and Marion Armstrong. He is married to the former Linda Lloyd. Together they have three children.

Kent Roby, Democrat

Two years ago Kent Roby was defeated when running for city council, but that wasn’t enough to end his determination.

Roby, 47, is again running for a seat on Mount Washington’s city council and believes that his knowledge and love of the city make him the right man for the job.

Roby is a life-long Mount Washington resident and said he chose to run again because he wants to give back to his community.

“It seems like it’s just the thing to do. I want to see what I can do for my home town,” Roby said. “I just want to see if I can make a difference.”

Roby said his goals as a councilman would be to widen Highway 44 and see much-needed turning lanes installed.

He also wants to continue the city’s current efforts to build the new sewage treatment plant.

“I want to continue the efforts with that. We really need that,” he said of the plant.

Roby said he believed citizens should vote for him because he is familiar with the city and has the citizens’ best interests at heart.

“I just want to give back to the community,” he said.

Roby has served on the Fern Creek fire department and currently serves on the Mount Washington fire department. He is a past Lions Club member and a member of the Mount City Cruisers auto club.

Emily Jasper Rucker, Democrat

Emily Jasper Rucker’s roots run deep in Mount Washington.

Rucker, 61, said her family has a history of community and public service. She wants to continue that through serving on the city council.

“Mount Washington is a beautiful, thriving, growing community. I grew up here in a family whose roots are deep and community service is important. I find myself with the time, but most of all the desire to carry on this heritage,” she said.

Rucker is an incumbent in the council race and is seeking to fill a second term as councilwoman.

If elected, she said her three main goals would include: continuing the proposed revitalization efforts of Main Street; bring new businesses to the Mount Washington, especially in the business park; and secure a flashing warning light before the intersection of Bardstown Road and Highway 31 EX to warn drivers they are approaching a traffic light.

Rucker said voters should select her for the council because she understands the needs of the citizens and business owners in the city.

“I now own a business myself so I understand the needs of small business owners,” she said. “Being a retired school teacher with grandsons attending the local schools, I am attuned to professional needs. In addition, I have time to serve that many others don’t have.”

Rucker said she would be a committed, honest councilwoman with vision

“We must take care of our children for they are our future,” she said.

Brent Wheeler, Democrat

Brent Wheeler has served six years as a Mount Washington city councilman and he wants to see many of the projects he has helped begin come to fruition.

Wheeler, 39, is running as an incumbent on the city council this election. He said he wants to work for the residents of Mount Washington and ensure that vital projects are completed.

“The next two years will be very important to the future growth of our city,” Wheeler said. “Most important will be the funding and completion of the waste water treatment plant. This project began approximately six years ago and hopefully will be completed by the time the next council term ends.”

Wheeler said he has several goals if elected, including providing amenities to citizens at affordable costs and attracting new businesses to the area.

“I will work to expand our tax base by bringing new businesses to town. It will be my goal to make Mount Washington a better place to work, live and play,” he said.

Wheeler said his record shows he is not afraid to make tough decisions.

“I listen to the public and try to do what is best for the city of Mount Washington and its residents,” he said.

If elected, Wheeler said this might be his last run at a spot on city council.

“As for myself, I would like to return for one more term and then it may be time for me to move on. I believe public office is something every individual should have a chance at. It has long been my feeling that at some time all officials need to either move up or move out. Hopefully, if I’m reelected, I will have an opportunity to make that decision.”

Wheeler is a husband and father of three.