Election brings news faces to several Harlan County offices

Published 11:05 am Thursday, November 10, 2022

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The General Election on Tuesday saw some new faces prevailing in Harlan County, with a new Harlan County Sheriff and a new Harlan County Clerk getting set to take office in the new year.

In possibly the biggest upset of the night, Ashley Sullivan will take over as Harlan County Clerk after defeating long-time Harlan County Clerk Donna Hoskins.

“First of all, I have to thank God for his will and helping me throughout this journey,” Sullivan said. “I have to thank my friends and family.”

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Sullivan also had good words for Hoskins.

“I would also like to thank Donna for her many years of service and running a good, clean race,” Sullivan said. “Of course, I want to thank all of Harlan County for their votes and support.”

Sullivan said she is looking forward to getting to work.

“I’m excited to get in there and focus on the people of Harlan,” Sullivan said.

The Harlan County Sheriff’s Office will be under the direction of Chris Brewer, who, having defeated current Harlan County Sheriff Leslie “Smitty” Smith in the Primary Election, continued his winning streak by defeating Mike Lunsford in Tuesday’s contest.

Harlan County will also have a new County Coroner, as John Derrick Noe takes over the position after defeating Emanual Mason.

“I plan on keeping up the quality and professionalism the office has had over the years,” Noe said. “I look forward to working with Philip (current Harlan County Coroner Philip Bianchi) in transitioning. I think he’s done a tremendous job over the years, and I hope I can continue with the same quality of work.”

While there will be some changes, there are also many offices which will retain a familiar face. Circuit Judge Kent Hendrickson was successful in holding off challenger Karen Davenport for the position of Judge for the 26th Judicial Circuit.

“I want to thank the voters for entrusting me to another term as Circuit Judge,” Hendrickson said. “I’m anxious to get back to work. I love the job, and I love this county and the people in it. It’s a great honor to be elected to serve the people of the county.”

Hendrickson added he is looking forward to continuing the work he started.

“I feel like the work I’ve been trying to get done is unfinished, and I’m glad to get the opportunity to keep working,” Hendrickson said.

3rd District Magistrate Paul Browning held on to his seat on the Harlan County Fiscal Court and is looking forward to working with new city council members in his district, which includes the cities of Cumberland, Benham, and Lynch.

“It looks like we’re going to have several positions change on all three councils,” Browning said. “I’m super excited to see the new ideas and directions these new members have. I’m interested to see where we’re going to go. We’re going to not necessarily reinvent the wheel, but we’re going to take some of the best wheels from the region and put them on the car in District 3 and see if we can get a little better mileage.”

Browning also gave his appreciation to the voters.

“I’m very grateful to the voters of District 3 for basically hiring me again for the job, and I’m very excited,” Browning said. “I feel like we’re turning a page or two and reading a new script, and I’m excited to see what story is going to be told.”