The newly elected Henderson County Commissioners are ready to step into their anticipated roles at the helm of Road and Bridge Precincts 1 and 4. Neither Pct. 1 Republican runoff winner Wendy Kinabrew Spivey, nor Pct. 4 winner Mark Richardson, has a Democratic opponent in November.
Spivey in Pct. 1 has the distinction of being the first woman elected to serve as commissioner since the 60s. She is also the first woman elected commissioner in the county without first being appointed to serve an unexpired term.
“It will be challenging, but well worth it.” Spivey said of her new position.
Spivey is the granddaughter of Leo Kinabrew, who was Pct. 1 Commissioner for two terms in the 60s and 70s.
“I know he is smiling down on me from heaven,” Spivey said. “I hope this opens the door for more women to rise up and be a leader in that community.”
Shelly Siegrist of the Henderson County Historical Commission researched the more than 150 years of commissioners and determined that only two women had served as commissioner during that time.
The most recent was Leona Boshart in the early 1960s. Before that was Linney Stegall, in the 1950s.
In each case, they were appointed after their husbands died as sitting commissioners. They were subsequently elected to full terms.
Meanwhile, in Precinct 4, Richardson is pleased with the support of the voters and is ready to begin his stay as an elected official.
“I’m excited and thank those who came out to vote for me,” Richardson said. “Runoffs sometimes
have a low turnout and I hope the presidential election in November has a big turnout.”
Richardson was sitting in on a county budget workshop on Thursday. Helping prepare the budget will be a big part of his duties when he takes office.
“The job at barn will not be that much different,” Richardson said. “I’ve been mechanic and road foreman.”
Pct. 4 Commissioner Ken Geeslin died in December. Richardson said the time spent working as superintenent under Geeslin has been valuable.
“He always shared a lot with me,” Richardson said.
Commissioners are elected from a particular precinct and have a responsibility to maintain that precinct’s roads, but there’s more to the job than that.
“They also make decisions for the whole county,” Richardson said. “A lot of people don't understand that.”
Precinct 3 Commissioner Chuck McHam was elected unopposed in March and Pct. 2 Commissioner Scott Tuley is in his first term. It’ll be fairy new group of commissioners when the new year begins.
“Fortunately, County Judge Wade McKinney spent 20 years as commissioner before he became judge,” Richardson said. “There’s a lot of value in that.”