Three candidates seek two seats in Piatt County Board District 1

Three candidates seek two seats in Piatt County Board District 1

Three candidates are running for two openings for the Piatt County Board's District 1, which is the only contested county board district on Nov. 6. Democratic challenger Kathleen Piatt is on the ballot against incumbent Republicans Jerry Brazelton and Randy Jo Keith for the district, which encompasses the top half of the county.

Jerry Brazelton of Monticello hopes to continue to improve the infrastructure of the county. His biggest campaign issues are to "maintain a balanced budget, improve roads and infrastructure in the county of Piatt, and try to get more business into Piatt County."

He would also like to see the county sell its empty annex building, improve on the offices that moved to the old Kirby Hospital property, and to continue on the path to add fiber optic Internet cable to the county.

"I'd also like to see improvement in bridges like the one on Shady Rest Road, a new garage for the (county) transportation department, and a new garage at the Piatt County Office Building."

Brazelton has been a county board member since 2002.

Randy Jo Keith, 60, of Monticello has been on the county board since 2010 and has held public meetings during that time to gain citizen input. It is a practice he hopes to continue if re-elected.

"The meetings give people the opportunity to ask questions, meet their county board representative and express their opinions," Keith said.

He is also proud the county passes balanced budgets, but does not like the fact that board members have been able to phone in votes in the past.

"That is not something that sets well with me," Keith said. "I believe that public servants should cast their vote on public issues out in the open and in front of people. I will continue working towards changing this policy."

Most of all, he said the county board needs to continue to "be good stewards of the people's money and keep taxes as low as possible. During these troubling economic times, we need to ensure that our nursing home is still able to care for residents while remaining fiscally sound," he added.

Keith is also in favor of the joint fiber optic project with the city of Monticello, Monticello schools and the Allerton Public Library.

Kathleen Piatt, 61, also of Monticello is running for county board for the first time. One change she would like to see is when the county board meets, which is typically at 9 a.m. the second Tuesday of each month.

"It limits the access of a vast majority of working community members the board is bound to represent," she said. "Open, accessible meetings ensure that public business is conducted in public view."

On that same theme, Piatt said, she would like to make more information available through the county website.

She also feels the all-male board could use a little diversity.

"The current board lacks a woman's perspective. Changing the overwhelming dominance of one-party male members on our county board would provide a new viewpoint," she said.

Piatt said she has met with township officials during the campaign in order to "serve faithfully, make well researched, sound decisions" if elected.

Piatt has not held political office before, but points out she has been in community leadership positions such as parent-teacher organization president, assistant director for the Kirby Derby run and on union committees while she was a teacher.