Sheriff candidates hit the stump at festival
Campaigns go ‘old style’ with Fourth of July stump speeches
By Tara DeRock Mahoney
Senior Staff Writer
Three candidates for Morgan County Sheriff visited the local Sunflower Festival in Rutledge to give old-fashioned stump speeches (stump actually provided) to the crowds in attendance.
Republican candidate Robert Markley, independent candidate Keith Fitzgerald, and Democratic candidate Terry Scoggins each gave a brief description of their positions and requested votes from local citizens at the Fourth of July gathering. Republican candidate Kenny Pritchett was not in attendance at the festival.
Markley, who is finishing his second four-year term as sheriff, spoke first after a drawing numbers from a hat to determine order.
“We’ve looked after your safety by reducing response times in Morgan County,” said Markley. “It’s about 13 minutes anywhere in the county. We actually have the lowest crime rate of any county touching Morgan County, and we’re far below the state average.
“We’re currently in the process of building a 192-bed jail…unfortunately, we need that, but we believe that will take us many, many years into the future,” said Markley.
Fitzgerald stressed the need for drug education programs for the county’s youth.
“We have not had a drug [education] program here…for the past seven years,” said Fitzgerald. “Drugs have increased…when I found out that we don’t even have a D.A.R.E. program here in Morgan, it concerned me.
“We need to educate our children about drugs…I want to keep Morgan County safe,” said Fitzgerald.
“You will never stop drugs—they will be here forever…all you can do is keep them cut back and maintained.”
Scoggins referenced his experiences watching growth overrun his hometown of Norcross.
“I had an opportunity to see firsthand what growth and crime can do to a community,” said Scoggins from the stump. “I made a decision to run for sheriff because I have a lot at stake…the crime that growth brings is like a fire ant hill—if you don’t have aggressive leadership, it can get out of control.”
Referencing the knee-high boots, vest, pocket watch and tall felt hat that he was wearing at the Sunflower Festival, Scoggins acknowledged that his dress was non-conventional.
Sheriff candidates hit the stump at festival“I know I look a little old-fashioned today, but I’m making a point,” he said. “We need to get back to [traditional] law enforcement.”