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Calloway Judge/Exec. Candidates Discuss Library Expansion, Generating Revenue At Local Forum

Matt Markgraf
Democrat James Gallimore (left), Independent Bill Marcum (middle) and Republican Incumbent Kenny Imes (right).

Calloway County Judge/Executive candidates discussed local issues at a forum on Tuesday. Independent Bill Marcum, Democrat James Gallimore and recently-appointed Republican Incumbent Kenny Imes spoke about the library expansion, what to do with payroll tax revenue and calls to remove the Confederate monument on the court square among other issues.

Veterans Party of America candidate Vincent Costello did not attend the forum.

Supporting A Library Expansion

Marcum said he would like to expand and renovate the library to make it compliant with the American with Disabilities Act. He said he believes previous library boards have done well in saving money for an expansion.

Democrat James Gallimore said he would make “drastic changes” to the library and it’s board if elected. “The library is a very important part, it’s a cornerstone of education in this community and needs to be expanded upon. Marshall County has three libraries, we have one that’s terribly behind, it’s undersized,” he said.  

Imes said he wants to expand the children’s area and make it more secure. He said he believes libraries, along with good school districts, can help bolster economic development.

Opinions On Removing The Confederate Monument

Confederate statues have been a flash-point in the country and in Kentucky communities, including Paducah. When asked what, if anything, they would do about the statue on the court square in Murray, Imes said as long as he’s county judge the statue will not move. “The only time it would be removed is by a majority vote of the fiscal court, I would act under their direction, or in the case of federal Marshals hauling me off to Paducah and putting me in federal prison. They could do what they want to after that,” he said.

Gallimore said he believes there’s “a lot of heritage to the statue,” but said it should be removed if anyone is offended by it.

Marcum said removing the statue should be left up to the community.

Increasing Revenue In The County

Marcum said he believes the county is in a “good stable position” when it comes to finances. He said he appreciates the work done by county boards and that he would want to help “keep up” with what they’ve been doing if elected to Judge/Executive.

Gallimore said he wants to impose a transit tax on resorts and wants to see a vote to make the county ‘wet.’ Currently, Murray allows alcohol sales but it is still prohibited outside city limits in the rest of Calloway County. “We’ve got boaters that are going to Henry County, to Marshall County and all their resorts. Calloway County is getting shortchanged on that,” Gallimore said.

Imes said he believes the current tax structure in the county is “adequate.” He said he wants to focus on attracting people and their businesses to move to Calloway County.

Other Issues

On other issues, Marcum said his top priority is public safety. He said this is an umbrella that encompasses supporting the Sheriff’s Office, making sure roads are safe to drive on and staying ‘financially’ safe.

Imes touted recent Work Ready initiatives and companies coming in such as DAE-IL. Imes said there should be more collaboration to strengthen efforts combating the opioid epidemic.

Gallimore said community health is one of the community’s biggest problems. He also said the county should do more to improve parks and recreation such as upgrading the swimming pool.

Watch the full forum here

Matt Markgraf joined the WKMS team as a student in January 2007. He's served in a variety of roles over the years: as News Director March 2016-September 2019 and previously as the New Media & Promotions Coordinator beginning in 2011. Prior to that, he was a graduate and undergraduate assistant. He is currently the host of the international music show Imported on Sunday nights at 10 p.m.
Taylor is a recent Murray State University graduate where she studied journalism and history. When she's not reporting for WKMS, she enjoys creative writing and traveling. She loves writing stories that involve diversity, local culture and history, nature and recreation, art and music, and national or local politics. If you have a news tip or idea, shoot her an email at!