Smothers wants to remain community's 'voice'

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By Stephen Lega

Incumbent District E Magistrate Roger "Cotton" Smothers survived a four-way primary in May as the only candidate on the Nov. 2 ballot. Last week, however, he gained a challenger in write-in candidate Joe Livers.

Smothers, 42, remains committed to the people of his district and the county, he wrote in response to a questionnaire from the Enterprise. (Both Smothers' and Livers' complete questionnaires are available online at www.lebanonenterprise.com.)

"I want to continue being a part of the success of Marion County," Smothers wrote. "I want to continue being the voice for my community and serving the people. I enjoy being a public servant."

Smothers works for Monumental Life Insurance. Smothers is a 1986 Marion County High School graduate. He has been married for 22 years to Tammy Lynn (Thompson), and he has a son, Dale, and a daughter-in-law, Krissy.

Smothers also wrote that he is a Christian who attends church regularly. He added that he has helped with fund-raisers at the church in Raywick, at St. Joe and at Finley.

He has served on the fiscal court for the past eight years, and Smothers wrote that experience has given him the tools to help his community. He added that he has made himself available to his constituents and regularly attended meetings of the fiscal court as well as EMS, road department and other meetings. He has completed 320 hours of training through the Kentucky Association of Counties.

"Most importantly, in today's economy, I have taken part in keeping our counties budget balanced and with a very good surplus, which is not achieved by many other counties in the state of Kentucky," Smothers wrote.

Smothers identified five priorities if he is re-elected - standing up for the people who elected him with honor and integrity, serving with the same dedication and motivation he has for the past eight years, supporting economic development in the county, striving to keep roads and infrastructure safe and well-maintained, and maintaining a balanced budget.

The biggest issue facing the county will be decreases in the budget as a result of state budget cuts. Smothers wrote that his previous experience on the fiscal court will help him deal with the budget cuts while still providing county services.

Rising health insurance costs have affected the county budget in recent years. Smothers wrote that the magistrates should continue to seek the lowest price with the best coverage for county employees.

"At the time of renewal for the insurance to be reviewed there should be an open meeting to discuss all insurance quotes and the best insurance company with the lowest cost to our county tax payers should be chosen," he wrote.

Smothers also supports bringing E-911 to Marion County.

"If it saved one life I feel that it has paid for itself," he wrote.

Smothers noted that the county is already working on grants to help implement the first stage of E-911. He added that he thinks other stages of E-911 will be funded through grants as well.

Smothers also wrote that the county needs to be better prepared for disasters and emergencies, such as ice storms.

"If we were to face such a thing as this again, we need more shelters ready and available to house people and supply what might be needed," he wrote.

Smothers concluded that he has served with honesty and integrity for the past eight years, standing against some tough issues, but for the people of his district. He noted that people use cotton every day - cotton swabs, cotton shirts, even Cottonelle - and he hopes the people of his district will keep "Cotton" as their magistrate.

"I plan to continue my journey as magistrate if I am blessed to be re-elected," he wrote.