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Republican Julie McRay Waits is preparing her bid for Washington County Clerk, but she won’t know who her opponent will be in November until Democratic incumbent Glenn Black and challenger Richard “Richie” Hamilton face off in the primary on May 18.
Now finishing his second term as Washington County County Clerk, Glenn Black is seeking another four-year term. Elected in 2002, he first sought the office in 1998, but was edged out by then-incumbent A.H. “Bubba” Robertson by just six votes. As county clerk, Black knows all too well the importance of each individual vote.
Black is a 1962 graduate of Mackville High School. After completing high school, he earned a degree in education from Campbellsville University. Next, he spent three years teaching in Oldham County. In 1970, he returned home, where he taught health and physical education at Mackville Elementary, all the while earning his master’s in education and Rank I certification in administration from Eastern Kentucky University.
“I ended up teaching at Mackville, Willisburg and the old junior high school where the board of education is now,” he added. “I also taught at Washington County High School for a few years, and in 1985, I went back to Mackville as principal and stayed there until it closed, and then spent a year and a half at North Washington Elementary as assistant principal.”
After retiring from a career in education that spanned almost 34 years, Black got interested in politics as something to do.
“I’ve dabbled a little in politics all along, and I decided that I needed to do something else,” said Black. “I just thought I’d try it, and things worked out.”
While the county clerk’s office is known mostly for license plates and collecting property taxes on vehicles, Black said there’s more to the job than just those tasks.
“We also file deeds and mortgages for all properties, issue marriage licenses, and we actually have to hold the elections and see that they are performed. That’s probably one of the bigger jobs,” he added. “We also have to keep the county’s archives and do research. We have records going all the way back to 1792. We also have to keep minutes of all of the fiscal court meetings. There’s more to the job than what people see on the outside. I learned a lot as I came in. I had two ladies who had worked for the previous clerk, and they helped me adjust. Today, I still have to ask them questions. Something different comes up every day.”
Black and his wife Nancy have been married for 43 years and they have two sons – Scott, 41, of Springfield and Eric, 34, who lives in Dallas, Texas.
In his spare time, Black keeps the scorebook for the Washington County Commanders basketball team and runs the game clock for the Commander football team. He has been involved in sports in the county for many years, and he was elected into the 5th Region Hall of Fame. He is also involved in the Lions Club, is on the board for Communicare in Elizabethtown and is a member of Thompsonville Baptist Church.
Part of Black’s job as clerk involves preparing for elections in the county, from ordering supplies to budgeting for poll workers’ salaries and accounting for every cent spent and every vote cast.
“It’s going to cost somewhere between $20,000 and $25,000 to put this election on, and it costs the same whether there’s one vote or 5,000 votes,” said Black. “That’s why I encourage people to vote and, of course, I’d like for them to vote for me, but even if they don’t, they can still voice their opinion. I hope everyone in the county has had a good experience and a friendly atmosphere when they come in. I think I’ve done a good job, and I’d like to continue for another four years. I’d like to keep serving the people of Washington County, and I appreciate their vote.”
Hoping to play the spoiler in Black’s re-election bid is challenger Richard “Richie” Hamilton, who is seeking his first political office. He grew up in Springfield in the Rosary Heights area and he continues to live there today.
Hamilton graduated from Washington County High School in 1986. He has attended some college courses in the past and is currently enrolled online with Kaplan University, working on his degree in business administration with an emphasis on human resource management.
Hamilton has served in several roles in Central Kentucky Community Action, including human resource assistant and administrative assistant. His last position was as director of the senior companion program, for which he served two years and was voted as the 2009 employee of the year.
“In the director’s spot, I was responsible for seeking out volunteers age 65 and over and placing them in a home setting with clients who are homebound,” said Hamilton. “The volunteers performed light housekeeping, running errands, helping with doctor visits and things like that. With human resources, I was responsible for drug screenings for employees, orientation for new hires, typing and just about everything that needed to be done for the executive director and the human resources director. I’ve also worked with low-income clients with the community action block grant program, helping with heating bills, rent or any other items that they may need.”
Hamilton believes that he has the qualifications to be county clerk.
“I think I have the management experience and I’ve supervised over 55 people at one length of time,” Hamilton said. “I’m great with the public, I’ve worked with both the city and the county fiscal court in my role with community action. I’ve been on one side of the table, now I’d like to be on the other. I’m very interested in running. I think I could do a good job for the citizens of Washington County, and they are my main focus.”
One thing Hamilton said he would like to see change is extended hours for the county clerk’s office on weekends. He said the office is currently only open from 9 a.m. until noon on Saturdays.
“At noon, I think the people are really rushed, especially if they are working half a day, to get off work,” he added. “It’s not giving them time to get in and do what they need to do. I’d also like to have a survey put out and I’d like to see what the citizens of the county want and what their needs are.”
Hamilton and his wife Crystal have been married for almost two years. He has one autistic son, Quinton, age 15, from a previous marriage. He also has four stepchildren – James, 11, Joseph, 10, Skylar, 9 and Nicholas, 7.
Hamilton is also involved in the community by serving as the secretary of Club Unity since the organization’s founding in 2008.
“We work with the youth of Washington County,” he added. “We come together and have events and activities for the youth in the county. That gives them something to do besides being bored or on the street. We also have activities for adults. It’s all about coming together as one.”
When it comes down to why people in the county should vote for him, Hamilton said it’s all about his desire to serve the community.
“I’m seeking the office because I’m a people person,” he said. “I enjoy working with the public. When you work for the public, you have to give them service with a smile, always. The citizens of Washington County come first. I’d like to do everything possible to meet their needs when they come into the office, for whatever it may be. I would appreciate their vote on May 18. As I say in my campaign slogan, ‘Help me help you.’”