By Rachel Dove
WILLIAMSON - With the final votes counted in the Mingo County 2014 primary election and the results announced, those who won the positions they had campaigned hard for shared their thoughts, along with their plans for their upcoming terms with the Daily News.
Family Court Judge Miki Thompson will soon take on the new title of Circuit Court judge, becoming the first female to fill that seat. The position has recently been filled by senior status judges, following the resignation of former judge Michael Thornsbury, who was indicted on federal charges and is awaiting sentencing in June.
The Daily News spoke with Thompson at her home the evening of the election as she was joined by family and friends who gathered to celebrate her victory. Although the campaign had been an exhausting one that took a lot of time and effort, the newly elected judge said she would go back and do it all again.
“I can’t begin to say how very much my family and I enjoyed meeting people throughout this county,” Thompson said.”We had a great time during the campaign.”
Thompson said that everywhere they visited, they heard similar remarks about trust issues with elected officials and the need to see honesty and integrity returned to the courthouse.
“I’ve had people ask me if I am nervous or dread being under the microscope,” the judge said. “My answer is the exact opposite. I embrace it. I want everyone to see how their judicial system is being operated. I want them to never have reasons to doubt my word, or my ability to do my job.”
Thompson told the Daily News that she is humbled to know that the residents of Mingo County had enough faith,trust and confidence in her, especially in these times of trials and tribulations, to place her above the other three candidates vying for that seat.
“I know things will be a little hectic when I first take office and I will be required to devote a lot of time to learning everything I need to know and becoming familiar with my new role, but I have never shied away from hard work,” the judge said. “I couldn’t ask for a more supportive family, and they will be there every step of the way offering encouragement or assistance. My friends have been amazing through this election and I know they will continue to do so in the future.
“I am blessed,” she said.
Mingo County Sheriff James Smith easily defeated his opponent Roy Tiller by a margin of more than 80 percent, and is excited to continue the work he started after his appointment to that office following the death of former Sheriff Eugene Crum.
It’s never about him getting the glory or the praise, Smith says. He is quick to tell you all the thanks goes to the men who serve in his department and put their lives on the line each and every day to protect the citizens of the county.
“I want to extend a big thank-you to everyone who voted for me to remain in office as your sheriff,” Smith said. “No matter who you cast your vote for, always know I am here to help with whatever needs you may have.”
Smith said he is very excited about continuing to move his department into the future, and feels that every piece of new equipment they receive and every hour of additional training obtained is a step in the right direction. The sheriff has already, within the short period of time he has been in office, accomplished quite a few of the goals he had set for himself. With the assistance and dedication of his Chief Deputy, Sgt. Joe Smith and the remainder of his competent staff, he is confident the journey ahead will be a prosperous one.
Smith also asked to express to his family how much he appreciated their patience, understanding and never-ending support during the campaign, saying he is very blessed to have them in his life.
Justin Marcum, the 20th District member of the House of Delegates, who won his bid for re-election over challenger Mike Baisden, had a few words to share about his victory.
“I am proud, yet humbled, to once again be elected to represent the 20th District,” Marcum said. “These divide-and-conquer tactics that have run rampant during this primary election need to cease. They need to be gone. They need to be a thing of the past. In order to succeed and see Mingo County flourish, we’ve all got to put our personal feelings aside and work for the betterment of our county.
“If we all can’t do that, we’re already defeated,” he said. “I won’t ever stop fighting for all the people that call this county home - they deserve nothing less.”
Jim Harvey, a Chattaroy native who came out as the top vote-getter in the Mingo County magistrate’s race, defeated four other candidates and will soon assume the position that has been filled by a senior status magistrate since the resignation of former magistrate Dallas Toler, who pleaded guilty in federal court to an election violation.
Harvey, a self-employed businessman with a passion for bluegrass music, is as down to earth as any man can get. He is outgoing, friendly and respectful, and easily made a lot of friends along the campaign trail.
“People feel comfortable around me,” Harvey said. “What you see is exactly what you get. I’m the real deal.”
Harvey told the Daily News he is very excited about what his future as an elected official holds, but more than anything, he wants to know in his heart that he will go home every day knowing that he has treated everyone equally and fairly to see that justice was served.
“All people, no matter who they are, their social status, where they’re from, who their family is or where they work have got to be treated the same,” Harvey said. “You can’t have double-standards or more than one set of rules - that type of behavior or mentality has no place in the courtroom.”
“It’s high time that residents of Mingo County have confidence in those elected to serve them,” he said. “There should not be a question as to whether the right thing was done - that should be a given.”
Harvey offered his sincere thanks to everyone who supported him and asked that they continue to have faith in him as he takes his seat as magistrate.
Prosecutor Teresa Maynard successfully defended her seat against Charles “Butch” West by a slim margin on Tuesday, and is eager to continue serving in that role. She said that without those who stood beside her during the tiring campaign, especially her family, the campaign would have been much more difficult.
Maynard has for years been an avid supporter and defender for children who are the victims in cases that come through the court system, and pledges to continue that trend.
“The children of this county are my top concern,” the prosecutor said. “They are the innocent victims that need someone to protect them and to stand firm for their rights, and that is exactly what I do.
“I’m honored that the voters trust my experience, dedication and commitment to do this job, and I promise that I do not take that lightly. I have a huge responsibility to see that justice prevails for everyone, whether for a victim of a crime or a defendant in a case, I will always do the best job I can.”
Mingo County Commission President Greg “Hootie” Smith narrowly defeated his challenger, former sheriff Lonnie Hannah, for the seat he now holds. Smith was approached after the election for a comment about his victory, along with a photo for the front page, but declined and told the two reporters present that “I will never give anything to the Williamson Daily News again.”