DAVIESS COUNTY, Ky. (WEHT)- Since outgoing Daviess County Judge Executive Al Mattingly was first elected in 2010, changes aplenty have come to Daviess County and the city of Owensboro.
New businesses have moved in and downtown amenities have made Owensboro a more popular tourist destination in western Kentucky- but how the county got to this point and where it goes from here remain key questions as Daviess County votes to pick Mattingly’s replacement.
Castlen overcame a serious challenge in the Republican primary, fending off former Judge Executive Reid Haire and businessman Will Mounts. Castlen says he’s feeling good on the campaign trail- saying voters have told him they simply want him to win- adding that the people of Daviess County recognize what he brings to the table.
Kunze, meanwhile, ran unopposed in securing the Democratic nomination. He hopes that voters who may otherwise vote exclusively for Republicans will see his record and know that he tries to “do the right thing for the majority of people.”
Castlen says he’ll try to focus on the everyday issues people bring to the table, saying those problems mean more to people than broader issues that people may disagree on. Kunze, however, says he wants to focus on public safety countywide and called for more funding and cooperation between the Daviess County Sheriff’s Office and the Owensboro Police Department.
Still, this election does come after a decade-long effort to revitalize downtown Owensboro, funded and supported in part by the Daviess County Fiscal Court. Castlen agrees that downtown has grown, making the city more alive and vibrant than it was previously.
However, Kunze pointed out that Castlen voted against the tax increases that supported the revitalization project in 2009, when he served on the City Commission. Kunze voted for the increase.
Kunze says the tax increase and the broader effort to update downtown is a sign that new ideas can work and says anyone holding public office- Daviess County Judge Executive or otherwise- should always look for new ideas to make life better.
Still, after 20 years of experience in public service, Castlen says voters know and trust him to get the job done- something he credits to a “servant’s heart” that keeps him running.