HAZARD — With Election Day drawing near, candidates and voters across the county are preparing to make decisions that will impact the local community for the next few years.
Of course, the big race on the ballot this year has national implications as President Barack Obama fights to gain another four years in office against Republican challenger Mitt Romney. But there are also local races in which Perry County voters will have the opportunity to cast a ballot.
The six-year term of commonwealth’s attorney is up this year. Two people who have both served as this circuit’s chief prosecutor in the past are running for the position. Teresa Reed is running on the Democratic ticket and is the incumbent for the position; her opponent Republican John Hansen, who was also Reed’s immediate predecessor.
Perry County Circuit Clerk is also to be decided in the coming week. Charles Ira Patterson, who has worked in multiple aspects of the legal system, beat both the incumbent and a former employee of the clerk’s office in May to gain the Democratic nomination. Thomas Ira Eckert is running as the Republican candidate after working as a lawyer in the court system for many years.
Also up for election this year is the Hazard city commissioner. A seat was left empty when long-time commissioner Lou Ella Farler decided not to run for re-election. In this race, five candidates are running for four slots, including three incumbents and two newcomers. Donald “Happy” Mobelini, Fitz Gilbert, and Jimmy Ray Lindon are fighting to keep their positions on the commission, while William Hall and Ricky Steele are both running for the first time.
The City of Vicco will be voting for mayor during this election. With only eight months left in his second term, Vicco Mayor Earnest Back stepped down due to health concerns. A long time city commissioner for Vicco, Johnny Cummings filled the post. Now less than a year later both men are running for the same position.
While several other races will be determined locally such as Vicco City Commission, both Hazard and Perry County Board of Education, and Buckhorn City Commission, all of these candidates are running unopposed.