Hear from the candidates: magistrate races

Published 3:00 pm Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The General Election is scheduled for Nov. 8, and in an effort to help inform the public, the Sun sent out a questionnaire designed to help the public know more about each candidate. Every reasonable attempt was made to reach all candidates. Every candidate who responded will be included in print and online. The answers have been edited for spelling and punctuation only.

Each candidate was sent the following questions in the same order:

1. Would you tell us about your background, please?

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2. Why are you the best candidate for this office?

3. What do you think is the most pressing issue affecting us in this election cycle?

4. How would you address this issue in your elected office?

3rd District Magistrate

Steve Craycraft (R)

1. I am Steve Craycraft, a 3rd generation Clark County native and lifelong resident. I am a GRC & EKU graduate, Army veteran, and local commercial property and business owner (Spectrum Photography). I have been married to Luanne Ross for 46 years and we have two grown children and four grandchildren.

2. There are three things I will do if elected – protect, preserve and promote. I support fiscal conservatism, low taxes, responsible spending, government transparency, local control of issues, and smart growth. I believe that my life experiences in farming, manufacturing, education, military, and business management make me the best candidate. I know how to budget money, make payroll, and invest in the future. I will be accessible. I will be responsive. I will speak up for my constituents and Clark County.

3. The biggest issue facing Clark County is managing and growth. With vision and planning, we can provide the infrastructure that enables our county to grow but do it in a way that sets us apart from other counties. We must, however, preserve the unique natural beauty of our inner bluegrass county.

4. With extensive planning, public input, and vision. For example, if we start the groundwork for infrastructure along the Veterans Memorial Parkway (Eastern Bypass), I would work to see that it is done in a way that benefits our county and its residents. The area has tremendous potential for business and housing growth with I-64 and Maple Expressway so easily accessible. Growing that side of Winchester would help reduce the traffic on the western bypass and help balance Clark County. Additionally, growth must always be done in a way that does not hurt but increases existing residential values.

Lee Watts (D)

1. I’m an 8th generation Clark Countian. I retired from the family business (Stanley Pipeline, Inc.) I have one daughter Jessica, who works at Purdue University. I have served on most ag. boards in Clark County.

2. I’m the candidate who wants to lower taxes and bring growth to the eastern bypass. I have a full and complete knowledge on how county government works, which makes me the best candidate to represent the good people of the third district. 

3. On a national note, I would say inflation, energy, crime, border, and drugs. As for what we can do as county officials, it seems to me that the most pressing issue affecting our community is drug and substance addiction.

4. As a Magistrate, I would address this issue by supporting the things that are already in place. In particular, the Agency of Substance Abuse Policy ASAP. They work with all of the community partners to combat this issue on the front lines. My opinion is supporting the wheel that is in place, keep it turning and don’t let it get broken.

5th District Magistrate

Chris Davis (R)

1. Born and raised in Clark County, I graduated from Centre College and the UK College of Law.  I returned to Winchester in 2000 to begin my legal career, which included 8 years as a prosecutor.  Today, I work as a land agent in the utility industry while also maintaining a private law practice.

2. As I finish my first term as a Magistrate, I have clearly shown my ability to deliver results for Clark County.  I took the lead in establishing a sanitary sewer district and to secure funding to bring sewer service to western Clark County.  We have repaired and re-paved many roads in District 5 and I supported renovating our local parks. All these items were achieved while our Fiscal Court lowered property taxes for 4 straight years. My experience in the private sector and the legal field provides me with a unique perspective and skill set for providing leadership in county government. 

3. The most pressing issue in the election is ensuring that Clark County continues the progress made in this term. Namely, our ongoing infrastructure projects, especially the sewer project on Rockwell Road and the expansion of broadband, must be completed. I am determined to finish these projects.

4. If re-elected, I will continue to advocate for completion of the sewer project on Rockwell Road.  As a board member of the Clark Co. Sanitation District, I have worked to secure funding for this project, and I expect that much more time will be necessary in 2023 to get this project shovel ready.  I am also involved in the plan to expand broadband access into rural Clark County and will be involved in the negotiations to make that happen.  With the availability of the Federal ARPA funds, along with other grant options, we have an opportunity to improve infrastructure and grow our local economy.

Leonard Shortridge (D)

1. Member Of Central Baptist Church, Clark County Native, Married To Marsha Scott Shortridge For 51 Years, 3 Children, 8 Grandchildren, Retired From IBM, Army Veteran, Board Of Adjustments Since 2012. Former: President of GRC Baseball Boosters, 2 Time WYSL President, Coached Little League & Soccer, Founding WYSL Board Member.

2. I bring to the table a commonsense approach to looking at issues and projects confronting Clark County citizens and the Clark County Fiscal Court. Leading and managing projects for IBM gives me the background and tools to assist the Fiscal Court in resolving current and future issues. Serving in volunteer organizations like the Boy Scouts, baseball, soccer, Habitat, and the military developed my team approach attitude. Representing all Clark County citizens, while bringing projects forward that benefit our Clark County citizens and keeping focus on being a good steward of their tax dollars.

3. Broadband right now is a hot project but there are other projects like HVAC for the jail that also need to be completed. Continuing to focus on providing broadband to unserved and underserved areas in Clark County is one of the top projects. Expanding broadband coverage at an affordable cost is what’s needed for our rural citizens.

4. Continue working with the state and federal government to complete the existing broadband projects while planning, developing, and placing bids for future phases of broadband. The current Eastern broadband project is being done by the Federal government while Spectrum and AT&T have been upgrading service in selected areas.

6th District Magistrate

Robert Blanton (D)

1. My background is very diverse. I served as planning staff to local government. In that capacity I acquired experience in everything from nuisance abatement to long range planning, budgeting, and dealing with citizens concerns and supervising employees.  I also ran the family business for 10 years.

2. Government operations are very complex and require the ability to interpret and implement policy and regulation. I possess that skill. One must be able to communicate and deal with government staff as well as citizens to resolve issues and accomplish goals and I am very experienced in those areas. Having served two terms as Magistrate, I have unique experience and the compassion necessary to serve the people of Clark County, continuing the progress we have made in moving Clark County forward.  I am always available to discuss and address any concern staff or citizens may have.

3. There is not a single issue, but many interrelated that are a cause for concern. Inflation has increased the cost of living. Affordable housing is in short supply as are good paying jobs. The cost of food has escalated. Substance abuse has increased and has a correlation to illegal activities.

4. Clark County needs to provide a positive environment for growth and development through proper planning for new affordable housing, good employment, and local business opportunities. Through education, employment, and outreach opportunities, the citizens will be able to improve their way of life. By creating new jobs, that will generate more income for workers who then can afford housing. In turn, new housing will trigger the need for additional service businesses. All of the aforementioned will increase the tax base thereby allowing  local government to provide necessary services and amenities.