PVA candidate questionnaire - Terry "Catfish" Rakes

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By The Staff

Name: Terry "Catfish" Rakes

Address: 221 Windy Lane,  Lebanon, KY 

Date of birth: 5/27/78

Family information:

Wife: Christy Abell Rakes - Daughter of Carroll and Phyllis Abell

Parents: Bobby and Debbi Rakes  and the Late Connie Jo Rakes

Siblings:  Tonya and Eric Blandford, Donna and Jason  Mudd

Grandparents: Rita Thomas Wright, Geneva Cox Rakes, William "Bud" and Doris Spalding

Educational background:

Marion County High School

Eastern Kentucky University

Work history:

Fastenal Company

Marion County Board of Education

American Fuji Seal Inc.

Community activities (clubs, organizations, church, etc.):

Lebanon Lions Club

Marion County Historical Society

Marion County Democratic Executive Committee

Marion County Young Democrats

Holy Name of Mary Church

Campaign website:


Campaign email:


1. Why are you running for PVA?

I, Terry "Catfish" Rakes, am running for Property Valuation Administrator  because I feel that I am qualified to adequately serve the people of Marion County in this capacity. Not only do  I have a strong desire to be a public servant to every community throughout the county;  I believe that it is my obligation to work to enhance the future of this great county, while carrying out the duties of PVA in a trustworthy and financially responsible way. I believe that I have the intellect and possess the quality of fairness, people skills and the necessary energy,  to provide strong and effective leadership needed  in county government. I am willing to roll up my sleeves and arise to the call of duty, as a result of my work ethic, modeled by my parents, Bobby and Debbi Spalding Rakes and the late Connie Jo Wright Rakes. Also, my wife, Christy Abell Rakes, (daughter of Carroll and Phyllis Abell) and I , desire to raise our family here, therefore Christy and I will be energetically involved for many years to come. I want to be a greater part of what takes place in this county than I already am, for my family, friends and those that I want to get to know better . I am especially interested in the future of the youth and the elderly. Christy and I have eight  nieces and one nephew, five of which live in Marion County and we are concerned about their future as well as the future of  every young person.  My grandparents, Geneva Rakes, Rita Wright and Bud and Doris Spalding are very important to me and it is my desire to work harder than ever to make a difference in the lives of those who have been and continue to be the pillars of our community.

2. What are your qualifications to serve as PVA? What knowledge and experiences have prepared you for this position?

The qualifications to serve as PVA include the same age and citizenship prerequisites that are common to filing for any county office, however, unlike other county political seats, this particular position requires one to pass a test, administered by the state. I believe that the knowledge and experience that is required lends itself to diversity. First of all, I believe that my passing the required state PVA exam on the first try, proves that I have the educational ability to effectively conduct the job duties at hand, while providing equal and fair representation to everyone. As a result of  hard work and the desire to understand and communicate with others, I possess the ability to help provide solutions for issues, through innovative ideas and or working with people on the community, county and or state level. I also feel that my involvement with civic organizations (Lebanon Lions Club and Marion County Historical Society) and political committees (Marion County Democratic Executive Committee, chairperson of Marion County Young Democrats, and serving as a state delegate of the Marion County Democratic Party) have granted me experience, pertinent knowledge and strength in relationships needed, to move our county forward.


3. If elected, what will be your priorities in office?

I, Terry "Catfish" Rakes am committed to the future of the people of Marion County. I believe that my first priority to the people is to fairly evaluate their property, according to state guidelines, of course. Even though paying taxes is a requirement for all of us, it is more of an issue today than ever, due to the budget crisis we are experiencing. Most families are struggling to provide for their own, therefore the subject of taxes is a more unpleasant subject than ever before. Even though my responsibility is to fairly assess property, I would like to improve the public's awareness of what takes place in the PVA office and it is my desire to hold quarterly meetings throughout the county to make information readily available to the taxpayers.  After traveling much of the the county, knocking on doors, asking for the support of the people, I am aware that most citizens know the PVA office only as the "office that raises their taxes". I think anyone would agree that raising taxes is not popular but sometimes necessary. However, to help create a more positive image, it is my goal  to raise the awareness of all aspects that take place in the Property Valuation office and to make the public aware that my door is open for a professional and friendly discussion when an issue is in question. Another goal that I believe is equally important and pertinent to creating a positive image, is to be involved in the community, every community throughout the county. I want to personally get to know the people  in every community and to be involved in the events that take place. I believe that my priorities are in line with what the people want and need.


4. What do you believe will be the most important issues facing the PVA's office in the next four years? What can you do as PVA to address those issues?

I believe the most important issues facing the PVA's office are: the need to update technology, enhance financial transparency, and strengthen relationships through involvement in the community. I think there is a need to create an interactive website to provide citizens the ability to research  property information, exemptions, the appeal process, tax rates, etc. A website would provide financial information online for all citizens to review. Involvement in each community, raising awareness of the duties of the PVA office, while being financially responsible and available will be my top priorities.


5. If elected, what changes or improvements would you make in the PVA's office? What would you keep the same?

I, Terry "Catfish" Rakes, promise that the office staff will remain the same. Each of the staff have been told by me that if I am elected, they will maintain their position. I believe that with the current stressful economic times and record setting unemployment rates, any elected official should be obligated to offer job security to the experienced staff in place. I would like to work to create a more positive perception, by providing citizens with a better understanding of  all  duties of the PVA office and by working to portray a more positive image by serving  the citizens and the communities of Marion County, beyond the call of duty of evaluating property.


6. What else would you like voters to know about you?

I am a very open, honest and trustworthy person that believes that everyone deserves equal and fair treatment despite the situation at hand. I would like everyone to know that I come from a hardworking and caring family that have instilled in me the values that are important to being an effective elected official and public servant. It is important to me to be involved in civic duties and to be an advocate for what is right and honorable. I desire the opportunity to serve the citizens of Marion County as PVA and as an involved advocate to help ensure a safe and positive future for everyone, especially our youth and elderly.  While working full time, I am spending every waking hour, after work hours, to see as many citizens as possible, in every precinct, to ask for your vote I love this county and the people that live here, and I humbly ask for the opportunity to serve you, not only as your PVA, but as a leader that is involved and who will continue to invest time in the positive decisions and work that is needed to improve upon an already great place to live and raise a family. If you are a supporter of "Terry "Catfish" Rakes,  I ask that you talk to your family and friends on a daily basis regarding Terry "Catfish" Rakes, for PVA. My deepest thanks to all the citizens who have already shown your support for me. I Terry "Catfish" Rakes humbly ask for your vote for Marion County PVA on May 18, 2010.