Vote Tuesday, June 6

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 3, 2000

As promised, The Advocate is endorsing certain candidates running for the Butler County Commission and Second Judicial Circuit Judge. After a brief interview with each of the candidates, and a discussion among our staff of what we learned, we have decided to support the following candidates to receive the democratic nomination for the office he or she seeks. All candidates seeking the Republican nomination are running unopposed.

For Second Judicial Circuit Judge, the general consensus from our staff is Ed McFerrin. As the incumbent, McFerrin's experience and close connection to Butler County is reason enough for us to show our support. Also, through dealings with his office, we have found McFerrin and his staff to be very forthcoming with the media, honest and always willing to provide any clarification we have needed.

The Butler County Commission race was a much tougher decision. All of these candidates are good people, so character was not an issue, and we did not always agree completely on our selection for each district. However, through compromise we were able to settle on one candidate from each district to which we offer our support.

District one: Gary Hanks. As the only sitting commissioner to adamantly oppose any tax increase in the county, we feel Hanks is the best choice for district one. While Hanks said he does support the current unit system of government with rotating chairman, he said he also would like to see each commissioner have road employees under his or her charge to be responsible for dirt road maintenance in each district. Hanks said the personnel and equipment is already in place for such a program, and would help keep unimproved county roads and driveways in better condition.

District two: Jessie McWilliams. McWilliams seems to be the most passionate among all the candidates seeking a seat on the commission. As a local merchant, McWilliams is experienced in dealing with the public and understanding their wants and needs. McWilliams wants to see meeting times changed so more people can attend, and supports stronger funding of industrial development and law enforcement.

District three: Vernon Herring. A former commissioner with seven years experience with the county road department, Herring has already received the required 120 hours of schooling all commissioners must take. Herring says he wants to help restore the integrity of the commission and make meetings more efficient. His platform of "working together for the people of Butler County" echoes what The Advocate has been saying throughout the campaign process.

District five: Debra Halford. Halford wants the people of her district to decide how she should lead, and promises to base all of her voting decisions on how her constituents feel. She also echoes the working together platform which we feel is so important, and expressed her main priority as developing more jobs and positive growth for the county.

Special Referendum: yes. As a final note, a yes vote on the special referendum to increase court costs will do two things: help the county pay for a new jail, and prevent the commission from increasing sales taxes in the future. To us it's the only logical choice.