By Carol Mills
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
After two unsuccessful tries at being voted in for the London City Council, Jim Hays beat incumbent Sharon Benge by 85 votes in Thursday’s election.
Benge was the longest serving member of the council at 16 years, but not all consecutively.
Hays received 1,389 votes to Benge’s 1,304. He ran for City Council in 2006 and in 2010, losing by only four votes in the previous election.
The highest vote getter was Nancy Vaughn with 1,691. The second highest vote getter was Judd Weaver with 1,682; followed by Bobby Joe Parman with 1,681; Danny Phelps with 1,606; Jason Handy with 1,542; and Hays with 1,389.
Hays, 58, is a contractor for Kentucky Waterways Alliance. He has a bachelor of science degree in biology and a master of arts degree in education.
He is board chairman of London First United Methodist Church, vice- chairman of the Bennett Center of London, board member of the Kentucky Heritage Council, member of the London Tree Board, and a member of the London-Laurel County Chamber of Commerce.
Vaughn, 70, a graduate of London High School, has served on the City Council for 10 years.
“I’m just happy I won and I’m looking to serve another two years,” she said. “It’s just like a basketball game. I wasn’t convinced I was a winner when I came in.”
She is an active member of London First United Methodist Church, chairwoman of the A.R. Dyche Memorial Park Cemetery Board, and volunteers for the United Way of Laurel County and Shop with a Cop.