A spiritual calling to run for office

David Kennedy

David Kennedy sees it as a spiritual calling to make a run at being the next Garvin County commissioner to oversee the district where he's lived and worked for so long now.

Kennedy has been around Elmore City his whole life; plus, he's got plenty of experience working in District 2.

Now he believes the time is right to run for the commissioner's office as he and incumbent Gary Ayres go against each other during the upcoming general election on Nov. 3.

“Over a year ago God started putting something on my heart and that was that I should be running for commissioner,” Kennedy tells the PV Democrat.

“I felt like this is the direction God was telling me to go.

“I had people come to me wanting me to run back then,” he said, referring to 2016, “and it just didn't feel right. I started praying about it, and I'm just following what he's telling me to do. I'm following his lead.”

A 1979 graduate of Elmore City High School, it was about 20 years later when Kennedy was working as a welder in the Davis area when a friend told him that District 2 was looking to hire. Kennedy was hired by then commissioner Rex Carlton.

“We did anything the county yard would do – patching holes in the county roads, cutting tree limbs, operating heavy equipment and rebuilding roads,” he said.

“I like being outside and there was a lot of that with this job.”

Kennedy worked on the district's road crew from 2002 to 2007 before becoming road foreman for the next District 2 commissioner, Shon Richardson.

He served as the foreman until 2016 – that's when Richardson stepped down as Kennedy took the role of deputy commissioner from April to July until an election that year was won by Ayres, who stepped right in as the new commissioner and became Kennedy's boss.

Kennedy says he did learn lot from Richardson about the way things really are, such as it's the three commissioners who do so many things, like oversee the courthouse building and work with legislators to come up with legislation that's beneficial to rural areas in the state.

“When I worked as the road foreman I learned there's a lot more to working for the county; more to a commissioner than just doing the roads. A lot of people think the roads is all a commissioner does. There's a lot more to it than what most people think,” he said.

“I would say 10 to 25 percent of what a commissioner actually does is roads. I didn't realize that until I was the road foreman.

“A lot of legislators only look at the big cities. I learned our commissioners work with legislators to make sure people out here in the rural areas are heard.”

He knows a big part of being commissioner is overseeing the state and federal funds used to maintain roads and bridges in the county, while also working to secure grant money.

“You do the best you can at maintaining everything. Then you look down the road five to 10 years and see what things you're going to need.”

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Kennedy says there's no hard feelings as he was terminated in early April from his District 2 road crew job right after filing to run for the commissioner's office.

“I was terminated after I filed,” Kennedy said, adding no specific reason was given.

“Gary is a good man. I have nothing bad to say about him. We worked side by side for a long time.

“I'm not mad. He did what he thought he needed to do.”

Since leaving the job Kennedy has been farming, looking out for family members dealing with health conditions and campaigning.

He doesn't believe there's much difference between the two candidates as both have worked for District 2 for many years.

“We've been there basically the same amount of time,” Kennedy said. “He's been commissioner the last four years and I was commissioner for a few months. All in all we have a lot of the same work experience.

“I can do the job. I think I proved that. I think I can do this county a good job. I'll give them 110 percent.

“My experience with roads; I know how roads need to be built. I will bring to this job hopefully more clarity to people through communication. I lot of people don't know where to go when they have a problem.

“As commissioner I would stress to people to call before they get mad about something; call the county yard or commissioner's office in the courthouse and let us know about the problem. We may have just missed it. Call us right away and report it before the problem gets too big.”

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