Willie Sawyers

Congratulations to all the local candidates who were victorious in Tuesday’s general election. It was a clean, hard-fought race with very little mudslinging, thankfully.

London and Laurel County continues to field strong, conscientious politicians who keep us on a progressive path. Our community efforts, such as recycling, and our public policies, such as the smoking ban, are the envy of nearby communities. They also like the way we cooperate for the common good.

The new roster of elected officials in Laurel County, who will take office the first of the year, should maintain our forward momentum. There’s not a bad one in the bunch.

In the judge-executive’s race, it took a seasoned, popular politician in David Westerfield, riding a wave of Republican sentiment, to oust Lawrence Kuhl from office after eight years.

Westerfield has always run strong campaigns, as a London city councilman and magistrate and now judge-executive. He showed he had widespread support across the county when he handily defeated an impressive field of Republican candidates in the primary.

After many years in supporting roles, Westerfield finally gets to sit in the captain’s chair.

Kuhl was denied a third term in office, but he should take solace in the fact that he was twice elected to head a county where Republicans outnumber Democrats 4-1.

Despite being badly outnumbered, Kuhl’s rise to the top was directly attributable to his long and varied public service to Laurel County. It’s doubtful his contributions to the county will cease even though he lost the election. That’s the type of man he is.

In the race for mayor of London, voters apparently liked the status quo in sending Troy Rudder back to city hall for a second term.

They looked around and saw all the good things happening in London — a beautiful downtown, a comprehensive recycling plan, money in the bank, debts paid off, a healthful smoking ban — and gave Rudder credit for his leadership.

Former mayor Ken Smith ran a spirited campaign and had his own accomplishments to bank on. But there were too many positives in Rudder’s favor for him to overcome.

Jamie Mosley was relieved Tuesday night to finally close out a hard-fought campaign for jailer. But voters won’t feel that relief until he takes office, throws open the doors to the jail and airs out the place, figuratively speaking.

Let’s hope that Mosley can fulfill all his campaign promises to run the jail in a more progressive and economical manner. Being available to answer questions from the fiscal court, public and media is the first step in the process.

Newly-elected sheriff John Root is saying and doing all the right things in his first run at public office and his popularity is on the rise. That’s easy to do, of course, before the first patrol shift is undertaken and the responsibilities and dangers begin.

New blood on the fiscal court hopefully will usher in greater fiscal discipline and accountability, as well as better cooperation with the city council.

We have a lot of great things happening here in London and Laurel County, and that’s due to foward-thinking leaders and a can-do attitude.

New people may be at the helm the first of the year, but that philosophy and outlook should never change.

Publisher Willie Sawyers can be reached by e-mail at

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