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MEET THE CANDIDATES: 9 vying for city commission

To see the complete special section, click here: Meet the Candidates

Seneca Anderson

Age: 38

Education: Graduate, attended EKU

Professional background: Background in business and management

Occupation: Local small business owner. Tim Short Auto

Political experience: I have no prior experience, but have always had a strong passion for politics and helping people

Civic involvement: Member of Downtown Winchester Organization Committee, BPAC member

 

John Kenneth “Kenny” Book

Age: 67

Education: Associate degree in higher accounting and business administration from Kentucky Business College Lexington,  1974

Professional background: Bookkeeper and tax preparer

Occupation: Retired bookkeeper and tax preparer, 2016

Political experience: City commissioner since 1990

Civic Involvement: Generation Center Board, Public Works Committee and Bluegrass Rails to Trails Board. Previously served Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation Board, Clark County GIS Consortium, The Strode Creek Conservancy and Kentucky Waterways Alliance. Serves on the Board of Advisors for the American Biographical Institute. Served on the National Association of Tax Professional, serving on the Board of Directors. Honorary mmber of Kentucky Sheriff’s Association. Kentucky Colonel.

 

Shannon Cox

Age: 58

Education: BA and MA from University of Kentucky, master’s in education from Eastern Kentucky University

Professional background: Retired George Rogers Clark High School teacher

Occupation: Retired. Works at Lowes.

Political experience: 10 terms on Winchester Board of Commissioners

Civic involvement: Habitat for Humanity board, Brooks Place board, Winchester Salvation Army chairman, Central Kentucky Fellowship of Christian Athletes, National League of Cities committee on youth, education and families

 

Ramsey Flynn

Age: 43

Education: 1993 graduate of GRC, two years at EKU, 2006 graduate of Leadership Winchester and 2018 graduation of Leadership Central Kentucky

Professional background: Retired from Winchester Fire-EMS after 20 years of service

Occupation: Bluegrass Community and Technical College safety and security supervisor

Political experience: Ran unsuccessfully for city commission and was beat by 146 votes to fall in 5th place in the Novvember 2016 election

Civic involvement: Currently serve on board of drectors for the Bluegrass Heritage Museum and ASAP committee

Previously served on Winchester Clark-County Heritage Commission as chair from 2012-2016; Winchester-Clark County Parks and Recreation board and served as vice chair for two years. Also was able to get a anonymous donor to donate $10,000 to start the fitness center in the basement of the College Park gym.

 

Thomas Eugene Korb, Jr.

Age: 52

Education: 1983 George Rogers Clark High School graduate 

Professional background: Owned and managed Golden Corral restaurants for more than 30 years. Owned and operated Tommy’s Roller Rink.

Occupation: Operating partner of Golden Corral (No. 630) in Winchester

Political experience: I am a political newcomer with a fresh perspective, open mind, clear eyes and sensational listening abilities. 

Civic involvement: Donate to many clubs, organizations, churches and schools throughout all of Winchester and Clark County. When it comes to giving back to the community, it has always been a priority and something close to my heart. 

 

JoEllen Reed

Age: 64

Education: Bachelor of science in elementary education with an emphasis on early childhood (1975), master of arts in elementary education and early childhood (1979) and Rank I in elementary education (1983) all from Eastern Kentucky University.

Professional background: Elementary teacher for Clark County Public Schools from 1975 to 1984 and 1991 to 2002; worked three years as ombudsman for the Kentucky Department of Education. Served as liaison to the Education and Humanities Cabinet for the Kentucky Department of Education. Served in Gov. Wallace Wilkison’s administration as governor’s advance

Occupation: Retired; currently director of Advocacy Department of Education and community relations and legislative liaison for Bluegrass Community and Technical College

Political experience: Four terms as vice-mayor for City of Winchester (1999-2002 and 2005-2008), Clark County Commissioner 2011-2014.

Civic involvement: Hospice East board of directors, vice president, executive committee, strategic and long-range planning committee; First Christian Church elder, chairman of the board, pastoral relations committee chair; Member LifePoint Hospitals patient and family advisory board (national); member Saint Joseph Hospital and Saint Joseph East patient and family council; member and former board member of Bluegrass Heritage Museum; member of Winchester Federal Bank advisory board; graduate of Leadership Kentucky, Leadership Central Kentucky and founding member of Leadership Winchester; member Winchester-Clark County Chamber of Commerce and serve on chamber’s advocacy team.

 

Kitty Strode

Age: 74

Education: Attended University of Kentucky

Professional background: Formerly employed by the Lexington Tobacco Market and Stein Mart

Occupation: Mutual clerk at Keeneland and Churchill Downs

Political experience: City commissioner for the past eight years

Civic involvement: Tourism Commission, Chamber of Commerce, United Way, Bluegrass Heritage Museum, Main Street Winchester, beautification committee, Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival, Beer Cheese Festival, Rock the Block

 

Paula Branham-Thomas

Age: 55

Education: Graduated GRC in 1980. Business certificate and some college.

Professional background: I am the administrative assistant to the principal at Shearer Elementary School. I have worked at Shearer for 26 years.

Occupation: Administrative assistant to principal.

Political experience: This is my first time to run for office.

Civic involvement: I taught vacation Bible school for 10 years, Sunday school for eight years, youth minister for two years. Actively involved in women’s missions. I have been on the financial committee, calendar committee and evaluation committee for the Clark County Board of education.

 

David Walker

Age: 39

Education: Some college

Professional background: Customer service/support

Occupation: Team manager at Amazon

Political Experience: None

Civic Involvement: None

 

Q&A

What will be your top priority if elected to office?

SA: Finding solutions to our current problems. Giving the youth positive things to get involved in. The youth needs something for them, they need something to do. Also I would like to encourage more tourist attractions to the city, so it will attract surrounding cities to come here, which will generate more revenue.

KB: Continue working on the drainage problems all over town, Cleaning up the trash all over town by changing the ordinance that only have once a month heavy trash pickup to twice a month heavy trash pickup especially in the spring and summer. And instead of giving the property owners 10 days to call WMU for heavy trash pickup give the five days from the date of the letter.

SC: I want to continue to work on improving the lives of everyone in Winchester and Clark County. Whether through providing quality housing, expanded educational opportunities, continued recruitment of industry or workforce development, we all need to strive to improve the lives of all.

RF: Bring drug education and awareness to our community to help the drug addiction that plagues our community. I would like to work with our school board to promote our school system and the Area Technology Center and community college campuses to large corporations looking for communities to build in, so we can bring good paying jobs to Winchester. .. Make Winchester welcoming when you enter our town off I-64 other roads entering our town.

TK: I believe that it is important to let the community’s voice be heard. As an example; I have been asked about how I feel about animal rights as they stand in our commnuity today. This is something that I personally feel needs to be addressed. 

JR: My top priority will be working with our first responders to continue to promote a safe, secure, vibrant community. Young people need to feel safe in their schools, residents need to feel safe in their homes, in their churches and as they go about their daily activities.

KS: Several projects are coming to fruition after years of work so there are many priorities. Waste water infrastructure, the downtown master plan, Sphar building, decreasing slum and blight, continued growth in business and industry, advancing the dialogue on the opioid crisis and impact of pension reform.

PBT: I would like to work with the community to address the growing drug problem of our youth in Winchester.

DW: My top priority is to make sure the families of Winchester are represented when the decisions that affect them are made. I will give a voice to the common person that lives in Winchester to make sure our money is being spent in a responsible, ethical way that will represent the values we hold dear as a community.

What makes you the best candidate for the job?

SA: I am the best candidate because I represent diversification. We have much work to do in our community to move forward, I believe my ideas are important to take us further. I am involved in the community, not just during election season. I want to resolve problems not create more.

KB: I have been on the city commission since 1990. I have the experience. I go to the training seminars offered by KLC.

SC: My experience. My time on the job has give me the drive and knowledge to be able to do the job and do it well.

RF: Winchester has deep roots for me and my family, and I have dedicated much of my life being involved in my community and serving as a firefighter. My passion is the people of Winchester and growing our town for the next generations.

TK: I lead by example and I know what it takes to be a successful business leader. I plan on working as hard for our community as I do for my restaurant. I will also continue to thank God everyday for the opportunities given to me.

KS: My experience as a city commissioner coupled with my passion for this community. I have no personal agenda — it’s about what is best for Winchester. I’ve been engaged as an active volunteer serving many organizations since I moved here in 1975 and they have provided me many visions for Winchester.

JR: With more than 18 years of experience in city, county and state government, I know the importance of maintaining a fiscally-responsible government. Government must be proactive and not reactive whoever possible. Our citizens should demand accountability, accessibility and vision from their leaders.

PBT: I will be fair to all. I will research each task that is given to me as city commissioner and all will be treated equal and with respect. I have worked with the public and have lived in Winchester all my life. I have a lot vested in this community.

DW: I will bring common sense to local government. I live and work in this community. I drive through the neighborhoods and see what we have, what we need and what we need to address.

What professional/political accomplishments are you most proud of?

SA: My biggest political accomplishment is signing up as a candidate for city commissioner. I have always been a passionate person with strong values and leadership skills. It is time for fresh ideas and real changes. I understand the frustration of residents. I hope to address the issues in our community.

KB: I got North Main Street drainage culvert fixed at Barnes Drive, East Washington Street drainage, sidewalks on West Lexington Avenue, Fulton Road and Belmont Avenue with the help of the others that serve(d). I took up money to build picnic shelters in Massie, Melbourne, Harmon, Fairfield and Wiseman parks.

SC: I believe that my time on the city commission has changed our community for the better. Economic opportunities have expanded. More jobs have been created. Our police and fire departments are better. The quality of housing has improved. But there is still work to do.

RF: Serving 22 years as a firefighter — two years with Clark County Fire Department and 20 with the City of Winchester — and being able to have a career in my hometown and raising my children here.

TK: Professionally, being involved in Golden Corral’s huge military support system has been a great accomplishment. Golden Corral has fed more than 5 million military men and women for Military Appreciation Night, Camp Corral has sent more than 20,000 children to summer camp and more than $12 million has been raised for Disabled American Veterans. 

JR: I loved being an elementary school teacher in our community for 20.5 years. I am proud to have served as projected coordinator and fundraiser for the Strode Station Elementary Family Resource Center and as lead fundraisers and overseer of construction of BCTC’s Winchester-Clark County campus.

KS: Helping to grow the Daniel Boone Pioneer Festival into a Top 20 event in the Southeast is an honor. Professionally, some of toughest decisions we’ve made as commission such as Sunday alcohol sales, the nuisance ordinance and the needle exchange.

PBT: This is actually my first time running for office. I am willing to work with the mayor and other city commissioners to make Winchester the best. I want to be fair and treat everyone with respect.

DW: I am never too proud to ever start at the bottom, work hard and stay motivated to accomplish a goal. No better example than me starting at Amazon as a temporary, seasonal associate. I worked to show my determination and was promoted to manager where I currently run a team of nearly 30 associates.

What is the biggest challenge our community faces? How would you address it?

SA: There are many underlying challenges our community faces, but one of the most obvious is the drug epidemic. We have to educate the people on drug abuse; we have to encourage people to get intervention. More importantly, we must provide our youth with more positive activities to do.

KB: The drug problem. Work with law enforcement by supporting them. The traffic on West Lexington Avenue. Continue to push for the Fulton Road extension. Continue to push to get the heavy truck traffic off of Seventh and Magnolia streets. Continue to fund money in the budget to fix the drainage problems.

SC: Our biggest challenge is the drug epidemic. I want to institute a program, along with partners, to provide treatment and training. Getting users off drugs temporarily is not enough. We need to provide them a clean path to another lifestyle.

RF: We are at a 2 percent growth rate over 40 years, while everyone is growing around us. The code and ordinances need to be reviewed and updated and enforced fair and equal so Winchester can be a business-friendly place. Clean up our streets from the trash that lay on our streets.

TK: Drug abuse. Start educating our children on drug abuse and its consequences early on. Early education is critical for our youth in this epidemic that has a hold on our entire nation. 

JR: Drug abuse and prescription misuse. Address it by education, education, education. Drug education must begin early, not later, but must continue in to middle and high school years. Our young people need to be taught to assess risks, debunk myths and to address consequences.

KS: Aging waste water infrastructure is a huge problem. While we’ve made improvements on Washington Street, Poynterville and Hampton Manor many areas still need to be addressed. The opioid crisis continues to plague our community so we need to work to bring additional education and rehabilitation opportunities.

PBT: The growing drug problem is our biggest challenge. I would like to be involved in a community/activity center for Winchester youth for the ages of 10 to 16 years old. It must be a community effort; protected, supervised, and easily accessible to all.

DW: There are more businesses and money leaving Winchester than coming in. We need to find out what is causing this and remove the roadblocks to encourage growth. Drugs, run down properties, garbage and needles on the sidewalk near schools. We desperately need to fix these issues.

Other comments?

SA: I am running because I genuinely care about this community and the residents. I am running to improve the city. As a local business owner, I hope to use my business skills to enhance efficiency in the city.

SC: I know things have improved the last few years. We have made things better, but we still need to strive for even better things. More jobs, more business, better housing, better opportunity for young and not-so-young alike. I am the “more” candidate. While we have much, I am greedy for my community.

RF: It’s past time for new leadership in City Hall and its time to take care of the businesses and people of our community and inspire the next generation to stay in Winchester.

TK: A 30-year career with the same company shows dedication, loyalty, and perseverance. These are also the same attributes that I would bring to the community as your next city commissioner. 

KS: This is an exciting time for Winchester! We are progressing the goals of the downtown development plan including a development fund which will offset expenses for building owners and entrepreneurs. New businesses are opening and many buildings are getting makeovers. Unemployment is at a decade low and recruitment is promising.

PBT: I would like to see more families move into the Winchester area. I think with the improvement of our schools and athletic growth will invite more families with children. This will bring more business, creating more jobs. I would also like to see more businesses come into the industrial park.

DW: As a father of two, I feel we need to start addressing some of the issues pressing our community. I‘ll always advocate for the safety of our children and families. Winchester needs to bring back that hometown feel, but be able to thrive by continuing to bring in new families and businesses.