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Incumbent Ballard County judge-executive running unopposed

Todd Cooper, incumbent judge-executive of Ballard County, is running unopposed for the top county post in 2022.
Derek Operle
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Todd Cooper, incumbent judge-executive of Ballard County, is running unopposed for the top county post in 2022.

Ballard County’s incumbent judge-executive is running unopposed for the top county post in 2022.

After serving two decades as the county’s sheriff, Todd Cooper was appointed as judge-executive by Gov. Matt Bevin in June 2017 and was elected by the public for that role again in January 2019. Cooper does not have a Republican opponent, making the upcoming primary election unnecessary, and there is no Democratic candidate set to compete with him in this fall’s general election.

Cooper said he aimed to “calm things down and bring people together” following federal fraud charges against the former county treasurer and economic development was a top priority.

“One of the primary goals was to bring some new jobs because we had lost jobs for about 12 straight years,” Cooper said. “It is a team effort. There is no one person. So I believe it’s my responsibility to the community to work extremely hard to provide the best services we can but also create some new growth.”

A recent development on this front is the reopening of and investment in the Phoenix Paper Mill in Wickliffe. Other growing businesses Cooper cited include James Marine Inc., the Economy Boat Store and American River Transportation Company.

“It’s been an all-hands-on-deck approach,” he said. “We changed some leaders and some of our county departments, and they’ve all done a tremendous job with limited resources. It’s a continual change in the culture for the county employees, trying to make it a better culture, give them pay raises to keep good employees here.”

Cooper hopes to continue to serve the local business community with the recently implemented business retention and expansion program, especially following the tribulations of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve only lost two businesses to COVID, and one of those businesses actually reinvented itself and turned into another business in the automotive industry and actually grew,” he said. “So they were in one sector of the economy and said, ‘We can’t make it,’ and they revamped and partnered with somebody else, and they increased employment from two to six people.”

Developing new projects in Ballard County and beyond is also of interest to Cooper, pending available property options.

Above all, Cooper said his intent is to secure a better future for his grandchildren and others, partnering with Murray-Calloway Economic Development Corporation Director Mark Manning to make this happen.

“Where are they going to go to work when they get out of high school and college or rotech school?” Cooper said. “Whatever happens in Murray is good for Ballard County; whatever happens in Ballard County is good for Murray. To me, that’s what it's about: partnerships and trying to help people maintain and grow.”

The 2022 primary elections will take place on May 17. Learn more about races in the region in our Primary Election Voter Guide.

Dustin Wilcox is a television production student at Murray State University. He graduated from Hopkinsville High School in 2019.
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