Two vie for 2nd District commission seat in Tuesday’s election
by Clarke Davis
The Aug. 7 primary election in the 2nd District will determine which of two Republican candidates will be the next county commissioner.
Kyle Brown, Grantville, and Wayne Ledbetter, Perry, are in a race for the seat to replace Roy Dunnaway, who is bowing out after one term.
Brown, 48, lives on 39th Street on a farmstead that once belonged to his grandfather where he keeps 10 cows and calves and a horse. The land goes back four or five generations in the family, he said, and he moved there in 2002. He’s added another 40 acres on which he grows alfalfa.
He grew up in northern Shawnee County and graduated from Seaman High School. He owns KB Safe & Lock, servicing, repairing, and moving safes and vaults.
“I guess you could say I’m a legal safecracker,” he said.
Ledbetter, 56, has a 35-year teaching career at Perry and will cut back to part-time this fall.
For the last several years, he has been the school district’s career coordinator, guiding students into various career paths.
The teacher is a county native raised at Winchester where his parents, Marvin and Lillie Ledbetter, still reside and his father is the mayor. Wayne and his wife, Lynn, are both 1973 graduates of Jefferson County North High School.
The candidate graduated from Emporia State University and has post-graduate college hours from several universities. The Ledbetters have three children and two grandchildren.
The 2nd District is comprised of Rock Creek, Kentucky, West Fairview, and Kaw townships.
The candidates were asked in telephone interviews recently what they are finding on the campaign trail. Here are their responses:
Kyle Brown helped a neighbor work cattle last Wednesday in 100-degree heat, but that didn’t stop him from attending the threshing bee at Meriden over the weekend.
The Grantville man and an uncle, John Brown, had a 1936 McCormick tractor on display they had restored.
On the campaign trail, Brown said he is receiving a “wonderful reception” talking with people from the village of Rock Creek to Perry.
“People want to know what’s going on. They just want a straight answer to their questions,” Brown said.
“Whether it’s the retired folks or those out working,” he noted, “they want to know if we are getting the best bang for the buck.”
“I tell them they might not like my answers if elected, but that it will be a straight answer,” he said, noting that he has been told by people that they get the runaround.
Brown works all over Jefferson County because of his business — KB Safe & Lock — and said he can’t go anywhere but what someone doesn’t know a family member.
“I have a lot of aunts, uncles, and cousins,” he said.
Brown’s biggest push as a candidate is economic development. “The new chiropractor opening an office in Perry is a wonderful thing. Helping our small businesses and bringing in new ones is the only thing that will keep our small towns going,” he said.
Brown said he had no knowledge of a sign at the Oasis in Meriden declaring support for his opponent and added that he does not believe owner Zack Snyder would support him because of his position on the Rural Water District No. 1 board of directors.
Wayne Ledbetter’s weekend was spent helping operate Lake Bound, a convenience store near the Perry dam, for his daughter and son-in-law, who wanted to get away.
It was a break in the campaign for Ledbetter who has been to 600 homes and has more than 800 left.
He said he doesn’t always find people at home, but he intends to visit every house with a Republican voter. The second district has 1,904 Republicans in 1,238 households.
The issues the candidate is finding among the people are roads, economic development, and zoning issues.
“People are not unhappy with the roads, but they have concerns. This is the one county service that everyone uses everyday,” he said. “People know we can’t afford to pave all of them, but they want the commission to stay on top of this issue.”
Economic development comes into play, because people know that to pay for the fixed costs of government to maintain services requires increasing taxes or a larger tax base, he said. “They prefer the latter,” he said.
“I’ve heard comments about the zoning and regulatory environment, as well,” he said. “I’m told the process can be too long and tedious. Maybe we need to look at how things can be expedited.”
Ledbetter said that if elected he would insist on more long-range planning and goal-setting on the county level that can be communicated to the public so they feel each area is getting its fair share.
The Perry candidate was upset last week to learn about a sign that was posted in Meriden stating the Oasis, a drinking establishment, supported his candidacy.
“This endorsement was not solicited,” he said. He added that he does not drink and does not go to bars. Furthermore, he said, had he been on the commission at the time this owner was trying to establish a sexually oriented business, he, too, would have been opposed.
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