Ricky Herring is looking toward a second term on the Houston County Commission.
Looking back on his first term representing District 3, Herring said he had some bumpy times along the way but never considered not running for a second term.
“You’re serving your constituents not only in your district but you’re also serving them throughout the whole county because decisions you make, what you do, affects people within the whole county whenever you’re on a commission,” Herring said.
Herring won Tuesday’s Republican runoff election against Richard Talley, receiving 2,218 votes, or 62.8%, to Talley’s 1,314 votes, or 37.2%, according to unofficial vote totals from the Alabama Secretary of State’s website. Herring originally faced four opponents in the May primary election.
Like other county commissioners, Herring said he has spent the last four years listening to the concerns of District 3 residents as well as those who live elsewhere in the county.
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“That’s what we should do as elected officials is to be there to be a listening ear, to hear what they have to say, their concerns, and try to do what we can to fix those issues,” he said.
The biggest bump during Herring’s first term was with the Houston County Health Care Authority, the governing board for Dothan’s Southeast Health. Herring had a lengthy dispute with the authority over the appointment process for authority members by the county commission, refusing to approve the authority’s recommendation for District 3 because the authority did not consider a candidate Herring had asked to be considered. The dispute nearly went as far as state legislation before it was resolved.
Herring, who works with the Houston County Sheriff’s Department, said he feels his re-election is a sign that voters supported that fight, and he said while he had no issues with current authority members, he plans to keep pushing for new members on the health care authority – even looking to make his next appointment someone with “boots on the ground” experience in health care.
Two new district commissioners – Tracy Adams in District 2 and James Ivey in District 4 – will take office in November. Current District 4 Commissioner Brandon Shoupe will fill the chairman’s seat after current Chairman Mark Culver chose not seek re-election. Shoupe defeated District 2 Commissioner Doug Sinquefield and Bobby Lewis for chairman during the Republican Primary in May. There are no Democratic challengers for the district seats or the chairman’s seat.
Herring said he looks forward to hearing new ideas for Houston County. His advice for the new district commissioners is not to expect anything to happen overnight. Governing takes communication and, at times, compromise, he said.
“They bring new things to the table, and our county’s growing – we’re growing really fast,” Herring said of working with new commissioners. “I think we’re the 11th largest county in the state of Alabama out of 67 counties. So there’s a lot that’s going on, a lot of things that they’ll see day in and day out, and they’re going to bring new opportunities to the table.”
In other local races, Chris Richardson won the Republican runoff against Seth Brooks for circuit judge in the 20th Judicial Circuit of Henry and Houston counties, ending up with nearly 53% of total votes cast in the two counties.
In Houston County, Richardson received 5,626 votes – 52.83% – to Brooks’ 5,024 votes, or 47.17%. In Henry County, Richardson received 1,438 votes, or 52.04%, while Brooks received 1,325 votes, or 47.96%.
Eric “EB” Blankenship won the Republican runoff for Henry County Sheriff against Joshua Moore with 1,698 votes, 60.21%, compared to Moore’s 1,122 votes, or 39.79%.
In the Republican runoff for Henry County Commission District 2, incumbent John Saunders won against Jason Burke with 394 votes, or 51.24%, to 375 votes, or 48.76%.
Peggy Ussery is a Dothan Eagle staff writer and can be reached at email@example.com or 334-712-7963. Support her work and that of other Eagle journalists by purchasing a digital subscription today at dothaneagle.com.