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Thursday evening, Leadership Owen County hosted the third and final candidate forum for the upcoming general election.
Both mayoral candidates, incumbent David “Milkweed” Wotier and Horace “Doug” West, participated as well as eight of the nine candidates for Owenton City Council including Tim Cammack, Darrell Hearn, Rita Osborne, Robbie Osborne, Robert “Bob” Osborne, Larry Dale Perry, Doris Riley, and Robert Walker. Gerald M. Powell did not attend.
Several issues were discussed, including downtown beautification, tourism, drug-abuse, and job-development.
All candidates agreed action needs to be taken to bring more jobs to Owenton.
“There are very few businesses left downtown,” Wotier said. “We want those businesses to stay here and we want new businesses brought in so that the citizens of Owenton can be convinced to shop locally.”
Walker said revitalizing the downtown area could bring in more business.
“If we could get our downtown revitalized, it could bring in more tourism, which would only mean more money being spent in Owenton,” Walker said.
Perry said he has approached several businesses to talk over issues with them.
“I’ve gone to some of the businesses around and asked them what it would take for them to stay in town,” Perry said. “If we can keep more businesses here and bring more businesses in, more people will be able to stay in Owenton and work.”
West said if he were elected and a city position were to become available, he would try to find someone who lives within the city to hire for the position.
“Whenever a city position becomes available, I would look at the people who live in the city and pay taxes in the city,” West said.
Robbie Osborne said that he would like to see more events take place in Owenton to give businesses a boost.
Both Wotier and West said the Kentucky Speedway’s three-day Sprint Cup event should bring a significant amount of revenue to Owenton.
Rita Osborne said she felt the drug problem within the city needs to be looked at more closely.
“Don’t get me wrong, our officers do a good job,” Rita Osborne said. “There just needs to be more focus on getting drugs off the streets.”
The forum also covered the issue of family members being on the council together.
“I think we could look at how other councils are handling the issue and go from there,” Cammack said.
Bob Osborne said he did not agree with family members serving on the council together.
“One household shouldn’t get two votes,” Bob Osborne said.
Hearn said he felt one of the biggest issues currently facing the city is keeping kids off the streets.
“I want my kids to be safe and I want all the kids in the city to be safe,” Hearn said. “There’s no reason why our kids should be on the streets at night.”
Riley said she felt citizens of Owenton should take on a new attitude.
“This is a fabulous city and a great place to live,” Riley said. “We just have to get people to realize that. I work with the historical society and I’ve spoken to people who visit from all over the United States and they’re very interested in our city. We see it every day, so it may not seem so interesting to us. But for people coming from California or Canada who have never seen a place like this, it’s a wonderful experience.”