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Dean, Slusher compete for 4th district magistrate

From staff reports

Jessamine County’s 4th district will have two choices for magistrate on Nov. 6, Kent Slusher and George Dean.

Candidates were given the same questionnaire they received during the primary election. However, this time, each candidate was given 100 words in which to answer their questions instead of the previous 50. 

Slusher is a republican and a graduate of Jessamine County High School and the University of Kentucky with a bachelors in forest biology. He has 24 year’s experience as a state forester and ranger with the Kentucky Division of forestry and 2.5 years’ experience as a horticulturalist with LFUCG. His civic involvement includes being very active in the Jessamine County Schools and serving as a substitute teacher, bus driver, coach, booster president of the wrestling and track team, volunteering his time with his children at the Jessamine County Animal Shelter and also helping for over 20 years with the Jessamine County tree giveaway for Arbor Day.

Dean is a democrat and graduate of Jessamine County High School and University of Kentucky. He has worked as a teacher, magistrate and farmer. He served as 4th district magistrate from 1994 to 2015. His civic involvement includes the Jessamine County Beef Cattle Association, Jessamine County Historical Society, Jessamine County Antique Farm Equipment Association, Habitat for Humanity and Camp Nelson Education Foundation.

JJ: What will be your top priority if elected to office? 

KS: The first thing that I would do is meet all the employees of Jessamine County Fiscal Court and listen to concerns. As a current and former civic employee, I value developing communication with the people I work with.  Secondly, the fiscally conservative side of me will want to look at spending and working with constituents to grow the economy of Jessamine County.

GD: My top priority is to use my 21 years of experience as magistrate to establish a sound commonsense approach to government that is built on principles of non-partisan cooperation, fairness, and honesty, a government that will recognize the demands for services our county faces and have the willingness and resolve to meet them. 

JJ: What makes you the best candidate for the job? 

KS: I have spent my entire professional life working with a wide variety of people. The quality I see as indispensable is the ability to effectively communicate and connect with people to achieve a desired outcome. Whether you are leading a national guard crew, fighting forest fires or dealing with business leaders to bring in jobs – you have to be able to speak well but also connect on some personal level.

GD: Experience and a proven record of dedication and leadership as 4th District Magistrate from 1994 to 2015. I also have six year’s experience as a part-time teacher in Jessamine County Schools  and 10 years as a commissioner for Jessamine County No. 1 Water District.  I have served on many governmental committees during my 31 years of public service.   These experiences have given me a knowledge and understanding of all aspects of county government.

JJ: What professional/political accomplishments are you most proud of in your
life?

KS: I am most proud of leading the state in educational programs to Central Kentucky children. I am also proud to have served as both law enforcement and a wildland fire fighter.

GD: There are many accomplishments as a magistrate that I am proud of:  the preservation of the Valley View Ferry; improvements to Parks and Recreation facilities  and the building of an award winning animal shelter.  I also worked on the design and development of Camp Nelson Heritage Park and High Bridge Park.  I didn’t simply vote for projects like these.  I put in many hours of work above and beyond the duties of a magistrate to insure that not only theses but all county projects were a success and something all of the residents of our county could take pride in.

JJ: What is the biggest challenge our community faces?

KS: Jessamine County needs to be able to provide local, long term, stable jobs to its citizens.

GD: Currently our biggest challenge is overcrowding of our jail.  It is a result of the nationwide opioid epidemic that impacts every Jessamine County resident.  Addressing this problem is complicated by a struggling economy.  It is a controversial issue that will require courage and determination to resolve.   

JJ: How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process in our
town?

KS: One thing I have ran on is being accessible to the people I call neighbors.  I have put my cell phone number out to the public because I see it as vital to have personal contact.  Too many times it is difficult to reach people directly.

GD: I have always advocated for constituents to be involved in the political process.  As a magistrate I published an annual newsletter and distributed it throughout my district.  I  have a website and will establish a magistrate Facebook page which can be used to message me.  My cell phone and other contact information will be available on the county website.  I will make sure our website is up to date.  I have and always will invite public input and participation.

JJ: If elected, what three steps would you take to put our county on a firmer financial
footing?

KS: We need to attract companies to our county and develop revenue within our community.  The new industrial park being developed is a wonderful step. Filling the new park will take leadership and people that can communicate what a wonderful community we have.

GD: As a member of the Fiscal Court, there are really no steps that magistrates can take individually, but I will encourage and work with the Judge Executive and my fellow magistrates to find ways to improve our financial condition.  Our success will depend upon improving our local economy and responsible management of our tax revenues. 

JJ: Do you have any additional comments?

KS: It has been an absolute honor to run for Magistrate.  I have been to nearly 3,000 doorsteps and each one I looked at as an opportunity to listen to concerns, joke a little and tell people who I am.  I have reconnected with people I had went to elementary school with, teachers that I had in school and kids that I had coached that now are young men and women with their own families.

GD: From 1994 to 2015, I worked with my fellow magistrates in a spirit of non-partisan cooperation to make Jessamine County a thriving and progressive community while finding solutions to problems big and small.  Even during hardship and poor economic times we kept taxes low and improved services. We were able to do this because we were willing to vote for what was best for our community. I will work as your magistrate to restore trust and integrity to our fiscal court though knowledge, experience and a common sense approach to sound government.