Boone County judge-executive candidates finally trade jabs face to face

05/15/2014 02:30 PM

BURLINGTON – Boone County Judge-Executive Gary Moore and challenger Matt Dedden finally exchanged jabs in person for the first time on Thursday night at a debate sponsored by the Boone County Republican Party.

Dedden, a current Boone County commissioner, had been a no-show at previous debates including one last month sponsored by the Northern Kentucky business PAC.

Dedden explained to the more than 100 people in attendance his reasons for skipping previous meetings. He said he had problems both with the Kentucky Enquirer newspaper and the Northern Kentucky Business PAC, which sponsored one one of the debates.

“Clearly, from the get go, they’ve (the Enquirer) been in favor of Gary,” Dedden said.
“It even goes to the chamber of commerce and the so called Business PAC that is nothing more than a bunch of corporate bureaucrats.”

As for the issues, both talked about how the area must recover from losing 1,600 jobs when the Toyota regional headquarters moves to Texas in two years.

Moore says that the additional jobs will come from companies that are already in Boone County.

“Last year, almost 80 percent of the new jobs created in Boone County were created by companies that are already here,” Moore said.

Dedden said he thinks local officials should have done more to keep Toyota from leaving in the first place.

“I wish that we would have had a retention policy and plan which we didn’t,” said Dedden. “The jobs that Gary’s talking about creating aren’t those quality jobs. Those jobs there are going to be very hard to get back.”

As for the Cincinnati-Northern Kentucky Airport board, both agreed that Boone County needed to have more representation on that board, which is dominated by Kenton County appointees — a vestige of decades ago when the airport was founded and Boone County was just a rural county.

Moore says an audit of the board’s spending practices that is being conducted by State Auditor Adam Edelen might offer a window into how to increase Boone County’s representation.

“I believe that you will find that our attorney general, our state auditor and possibly our state legislator will be weighing in in the near future on the makeup of the airport board,” said Moore.

Dedden would like to see the judge-executive play a key role in getting more representation on the board.

“We need to work very hard at going to the airport and working with them, said Dedden. “I’m talking about the judge-executive prepared to go to the airport board and the airport employees and say, look, I want to travel with you to the next major airlines. I want to offer the largest tax incentives that we possibly can to get these people in and let’s build this airport.”

Moore and Dedden agreed that they want to see no tolls to fund a new Brent Spence Bridge.

Moore said the majority of the funding should come from the federal government.

“This bridge qualifies for 80/20 dollars — 80 percent federal and 20 percent local,” Moore said.

Dedden believes improving other highways in the area will eliminate some of the
traffic on the bridge and decrease the urgency to complete the project quickly and give in to tolls.

“Why aren’t we looking at putting a cross county highway in, extending 71 south of Richwood across southern Kenton County into Campbell County, meeting 275 and 471,” said Dedden.

During their closing arguments, Moore said that he deserved another term because he has worked to lower taxes while Boone County has seen a lower unemployment rate than most of the state.

Dedden told the crowd that they have a choice bewteen a career politician in Moore and a guy who wants to do the right thing for the county.


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