Commissioner Candidates Make Final Speaking Appearance
Six of the seven Republican candidates listed on the nominating ballot for Fulton County commissioner made a guest appearance at Friday’s annual spring dinner hosted by the county Republican Committee.
Offering the guest speakers one final opportunity to address registered voters before the upcoming May 17 election, Richard L. Buterbaugh II, of McConnellsburg, took time to elaborate on his four terms of office with Mc- Connellsburg Borough Council. Buterbaugh stated, if elected, he would give all county residents the same commitment and dedication he has provided to borough residents.
He identified the most pressing issues at the county level as fiscal responsibility and making sound business decisions. Buterbaugh noted commissioners must learn to separate wants from needs in order to keep an undue burden from being placed on taxpayers.
Buter- baugh went on to say by joining with the Fulton Industrial Business Association and the Chamber of Commerce, the county should be able to attract small businesses and expand the existing tax base.
Incumbent Craig C. Cutchall provided those in attendance at the Hustontown Firehall with a brief outline of his background, which included a 35-year teaching career at the Forbes Road School District. If elected, Cutchall stated one of his goals would be continuing what programs are already offered at a county level. One of the biggest problems in reaching this goal is constraints on the budget, which is largely earmarked for prisoner expenditures and retirement costs.
In addition to being creative, Cutchall stated the new board of commissioners will need to make changes that aren’t mandated by the state or federal government. “Everyone’s goal is to save money. We’re all taxpayers,” noted the commissioner, who added the county has been fortunate in that real estate taxes have remained somewhat level.
He also made reference to building on the bond with our youth and adults through programming. Serving on an Advisory Committee for the Fulton County Area Vocational-Technical School, Hagerty said he would like to see additional courses offered in woodworking and other areas that could provide additional career opportunities.
He went on to point out that in the case of mandates, those handed down from the state and federal level do not always fit here in Fulton County. Furthermore, making reference to the need to reduce and control spending, Hagerty reminded the crowd that it’s not the government’s money, but the taxpayers’ money that is spent daily.
Needmore area farmer Rick Leese shared that his two priorities, if elected to office, would be holding steady on tax increases and promoting business. Citing his experience in the produce business, 25 years with the Fulton County Planning Commission and 12 years as a county auditor, Leese stated he was well acquainted with working and balancing books.
According to Leese, government should be scaled back as people cannot afford to pay their taxes.
“I want us to remain a strong, independent county,” said Leese, who added he would encourage an open-door policy for residents to have their concerns properly aired.
Having also been immersed in the building industry since he was a child, southern Fulton County native Rodney McCray stated the campaign trail and his life experiences have taught him “the best leader is a servant of the people.”
McCray said he is not just interested in getting people’s votes but interested in getting to know the dreams, hopes and fears of individuals throughout the county. “To govern and lead this county, we need to know where we want to go,” said Mc- Cray, who further noted a course must be plotted and adjustments made along the way.
“We will reap the rewards together,” said McCray. “I’m part of this county with you.”
With candidate Michael Chilcote Sr. unable to attend the May 8 gathering due to a prior engagement, Lisa Mellott-Mc- Conahy was the next speaker to take the podium as a potential candidate for commissioner. Residing in the Knobsville area with her husband and three children, McConahy cited her 14 years of experience with the county as a block grant administrator and Emergency Management Agency coordinator. She is currently working as a consultant dealing with issues of public safety.
Incumbent Rebecca Kendall briefly addressed the crowd on her re-election bid as county auditor. She is currently in her 11th year with the county and boasted of her knowledge of the county’s fiscal accounts. Event emcee Stanley Kerlin added fellow auditor candidate Sandra “Sonnie” Stenger was unable to attend the banquet as a result of a prior scheduled event.
Four-year-old Camryn Horne asked the crowd to “vote for her daddy,” northern Fulton County Magisterial District Judge Devin Horne. Horne is in the final year of his first six-year term of office. Since his first election to office, approximately 15,000 cases have been handled by Horne’s staff.
Adrianne Leese- Gregory, candidate for southern Fulton County magisterial district judge, told the crowd she possesses a degree in accounting, and the position of judge would allow her to further delve into the ins and outs of the legal system.
Wanting to see the county stay moral and just, Gregory announced she would remain impartial, objective and honest if elected.
In her campaign for southern Fulton County magisterial district judge, lifelong county resident Tamela Mellott Bard stated she learned from her parents at an early age to keep an open mind. Backed by her knowledge of the legal system, Bard partnered with local attorney James Schall in 2000 and currently serves as county public defender.
In addition to her knowledge and experience, Bard stated she already possesses the necessary certification to begin on day one as district judge. She pledged to devote herself on a full-time basis.
Having been called from the banquet for an unexpected death, county Coroner Berley Souders is unopposed for the coroner’s position. He was appointed to the position approximately one year ago following the retirement of longtime county coroner Darryl Heckman. It was noted he is accepting write-in votes from registered Democrats during the May 17 election.
Uncontested on the Republican ballot for sheriff, incumbent Keith Stains is in his second term of office. Making reference to his experience in operating the office, Stains vowed to continue striving to make the office operate more efficiently.
Unopposed as well on the Republican ballot this spring, county Treasurer Monica Seville is seeking re-election to her third term of office. Seville went on to say she truly loves her position with the county and the individuals she works with on a daily basis.
Seville said during her time with the county, two things have happened that have been beneficial to the county’s operations – the hiring of technology director Eldon Martin and business manager Tim Stanton. From being on the inside of county government, the treasurer also made reference to things not always going as smoothly as you think they will.
Hearing comments from other speakers about the cost of housing prisoners, District Attorney Travis Kendall stated it’s the not the job of the district attorney to keep people out of jail. However, Kendall stated many may be surprised at how much effort is put into keeping people out of jail by his office.
Currently unopposed on both tickets, Kendall said his office pays close attention to costs and when possible they try to make money for he county.
Diane Rhodes, aide to Congressman Bill Shuster, conveyed the congressman’s apologies for being unable to attend the spring dinner. Rhodes said Shuster remains committed to the party’s ways that includes reducing spending/debt and improving the economy and job growth. Sen. John Eichelberger Jr. and Rep. Dick Hess addressed the crowd on the status of ongoing budget negotiations, which could wrap up in June, and proposals for redistricting.