Judge-Executive candidates who showed up at debate call for Boone Co. to take larger role in Cincy airport

04/23/2014 05:31 PM

FLORENCE – It’s tough to have a meaningful debate of the issues when one of the two major primary candidates is absent, as was the case in Florence Wednesday at the Boone County Judge-Executive debate sponsored by the Northern Kentucky Business PAC.

Judge-Executive Gary Moore showed up to defend his record and ask voters for a fifth term. But Boone County Commissioner Matt Dedden, who is challenging Moore in the May 20 primary, skipped the debate because of a scheduling conflict. Libertarian candidate John (J. Kyle) Sweeney did attend.

This was not the first time that Dedden has missed an opportunity to discuss the issues.

Because of a work conflict, Dedden did not participate in a series of interviews conducted by NKY Forum, which is an initiative with NKU’s Scripps Howard Center for Civic Engagement, which spotlighted the judge-executive candidates in the three Northern Kentucky counties.

Responding to a question of how to improve the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, which is in Boone County but is owned and operated by Kenton County, Moore would like to see more Boone representation on the airport board. The members are chosen by the Kenton County judge-executive stemming from when the airport was built and Boone County was a rural county.

“It is really just unreasonable, totally unreasonable, that an 8,000 acre airport, international airport, with all of the things that we know, which is entirely in Boone County, all of CVG is on Boone County, we get one appointment and that’s an advisory board appointment,” said Moore.

As a libertarian, Sweeney will be on the November ballot.

Sweeney said that he would like to see Boone County look into the possibility of one day buying the airport.

“One of the things that we’d like to explore is purchasing the airport from Kenton County to grow the airport related businesses and airport related revenue that are coming into our county,” said Sweeney.

Many of the other topics discussed were similar to those in the Campbell County debate on Tuesday between Judge-Executive Steve Pendery and challenger Kevin Sell.

Gary Moore told the 30 people who were in attendance that it’s up to the state legislature to get the ball rolling in the Brent Spence Bridge project.

“When it comes down to it, this is a responsibility of the state legislature and Frankfort,” said Moore. “What just happened in the legislature? About $700,000 goes to widening and improving the Mountain Parkway which used to be considered the bridge to no where and it’s still not much different. That money allocated to the Brent Spence Bridge would have done wonders to move this project forward.”

Sweeney says that it should be the federal governments responsibility.

“It is the interstate highway system not the Kentucky highway system,” said Sweeney.

Moore also praised the work of Tri-ED, The Northern Kentucky Tri-County Economic Development Corporation, which, as a non-profit organization, blends public and private funds to enhance the business climate and foster a spirit of regional cooperation among Boone, Kenton and Campbell counties.

On Tuesday, at the Campbell County Judge-executive debate, challenger Kevin Sell said that he would favor Campbell County trying to attract businesses, even it it meant competing against Boone or Kenton County.

“It would be a huge mistake to tear that down and put up barriers between the counties,” said Moore.

Sweeney was in agreement with Moore.

“I think that Tri-ED is fundamental and for the Northern Kentucky region to work together is absolutely crucial to increasing the value across the entire region,” said Sweeney.

The final Northern Kentucky Business PAC judge-executive debate will be in Kenton County on April 29.

Both incumbent Steve Arlinghaus and challenger Kris Knochelmann have confirmed that they will be in attendance.


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