I am a candidate for the office of Commonwealth's Attorney for the 29th Judicial District of Kentucky in Adair and Casey Counties. The Commonwealth’s Attorney serves as prosecutor in the Circuit Courts of the district, dealing with the most serious crimes that disrupt our community.
In the 1970s my wife Sheila and I chose to return to this area, where we both have deep family roots, to make our home and to raise our children. During more than forty years as an attorney and a Judge in Adair and Casey Counties, I saw first-hand and participated directly in the long struggle to keep our beautiful part of Kentucky a safe and desirable place to make our homes and to raise our families. That struggle is not over, for our community or for me.
Every child in our community deserves the opportunity that we and our kids had -- to grow up in a close-knit and safe environment. We are all blessed to live in a beautiful place, and to be surrounded by a wealth of people who are - for the most part - dedicated to making this a home we can all enjoy. Just last week a local lady with whom I was discussing the community put it this way: “There are a lot of good people here. We have some problems, but there a lot of good people.”
Many of the problems in our community can be traced to the rising tide of the nationwide drug abuse epidemic, which has touched every corner of society. Most troubling to me are the number of children who fall victim to the addictions of the adults around them.
During 2017 I did a great deal of work in our Court's Juvenile Divisions, representing the interests of children who have been removed from their homes because those homes have been rendered unsafe or non-functional due to drugs. It is striking to see the flood of children and young people being raised by grandparents and older relatives who must step in when parents are unable or unwilling to stay off drugs even long enough to come to court to participate in the efforts being made to protect their families. Time and time again I have talked with fellow community members who, when they should be enjoying retirement, are starting over again raising their grandchildren, because their own adult children are lost to drugs. Most of us know someone caught in this vicious spiral.
I hear from the law enforcement officers who do their best to stem the flow of drugs into our communities that they need help. The Commonwealth’s Attorney should play a major role in providing support to law enforcement and the courts as they work to eradicate drug addiction and associated crimes from our district. Should I be privileged to serve in this role, I am prepared to work with energy and focus to provide this support.
To serve as Commonwealth’s Attorney is a large responsibility, one for which I believe my long career in public service has prepared me well. Most importantly, I stand ready to execute the duties of the position in line with my core belief that all people deserve to be treated in a respectful manner.
Growing up in Yosemite in Casey County, I learned from my parents James and Maxine Coffey Elliott some hard truths and important lessons: With authority comes responsibility. Do the right thing, not the easy thing. Leave the world a better place than you found it. Push your work, don't let it push you. If you ask for a job, have the courage to do it.
Together I believe that we can keep this a good place to call home. We can make changes to preserve all that is good about our communities and way of life, and to fight against the scourge of drugs and crime that threatens our families. We can, and will, give the next generation of Adair and Casey County natives the home they deserve.
One of the most important freedoms we have is the right to decide by free and fair election who we want as our public officials. On May 22, 2018, please help me with your vote so I can work for you to make our home what it should be.
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