Commissioners to choose from three candidates following local GOP selection Tuesday

From left, Don Hamm, Traci Barkey and Jim Ford share their answers during a Q&A portion of Tuesday night's Campbell County Republican Party Central Committee meeting. They were selected to be the three nominees forwarded to the Board of Commission to fill an unexpired seat on the board. (RJ Morgan/County 17)

It took less than three hours Tuesday night for the Campbell County Republican Party Central Committee to narrow their list of candidates for county commissioner from nine to three.  

Jim Ford, Traci Barkey, and Don Hamm were the top vote-getters during the Jan. 18 meeting and will appear before the Campbell County Commissioners who now have 20 days, or about 3 weeks, to decide who among the candidates is the best pick to fill a vacant commissioner seat left behind by the resignation of D.G. Reardon.  

A vote, however, could come as soon as next week, according to Campbell County Commissioner Rusty Bell.  

The seat for which the three candidates are applying for expires this year, as do the seats for Commissioners Bob Maul and Rusty Bell, meaning whoever is selected will need to run in the fall 2022 election to maintain their seat for a full, four-year term. 

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During the meeting, Ford and Barkey were the popular choices and received 52 and 50 votes, respectively, out of a total of 91 voters, including 18 proxies.  

Hamm received just 38 votes, edging out Ian Scott by one vote and Charlene Camblin by two.  

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The other applicants included Doug Griffis, John Haivala, John Robertson, and Lee Boyd.  

Each of the applicants was asked two questions: in what areas did they believe the county be more involved, or less involved, and what county service should take priority in the event of a budget surplus?  

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Most of the candidates did not specify an area that they believed the commission should be less involved aside from allowing county boards to do their work while a majority complemented the existing board on their work and how active they are in the community.  

The question regarding a surplus, however, drew a variety of answers. Griffis suggested extra funds should go towards preparing for electric vehicles. Scott, a self-described champion of youth, said that the funds should go towards the county’s youth programs.  

Hamm and Camblin were at odds, with Hamm proposing that funds should not be used to construct more county buildings while Camblin proposed they be used towards “much-needed” improvements at Cam-Plex.  

Several other candidates indicated that a surplus should go towards improving the county’s roads and bridges.