A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

The Primary: Dawn Gentry, Kenton Family Court Judge; Tony Wilson, Boone County Sheriff

The NKyTribune is offering an opportunity for those in contested NKY races in the primary election to make their case — and themselves — better known to voters. This opportunity is open and free: 800 words max., positive FOR your candidacy. Send to news@nkytrib.com. None will appear after May 20.

Kenton Family Court

As a wife and the mother of two daughters, the child of a single mother, a former family-law practitioner, and a judge since 2016, I believe I am uniquely qualified to continue my important work serving as Kenton County Family Court Judge.

Professional experience

In addition to being your current Family Court Judge, I practiced family law for more than 10 years before being appointed as judge. This work included collaborative law, which enables couples separating or ending their marriages to resolve their cases out of the courtroom without the time and stress of litigation, and working as a pro-bono lawyer in Casey’s Law cases, which allows parents, relatives, and friends of substance-impaired persons to petition the court to seek treatment for these individuals.

Judge Dawn Gentry

As a Family Court Judge, nearly every day I fight on the front line the heroin-opiate epidemic, where I regularly confront the ravages and aftereffects it wreaks. Drug addiction often rears its ugly head first in Family Court, particularly cases involving dependency, neglect, and abuse of children. As a judge, I make tough decisions and undertake interdiction efforts to protect children in these harrowing situations, attempting to address this addictive behavior before it creates even larger problems for families and children.

When I decide cases involving children, the first question I always ask myself is, “What is in the best interest of this child or children?” If appropriate, I try to reunify children with their parents, but only if these parents are capable of providing the love and support their children need. In other cases, my only choice is to remove children from the dangerous environments in which they live and place them in more appropriate settings, such as foster homes.

Life experience

As one of two daughters raised by a single mother in Erlanger, I have experienced firsthand the Kenton County family-court system. That experience, as well as my role as a mother and my work as a family-law practitioner, has made me acutely aware of how important this system is for children and families. My own experience gives me a deeply personal understanding of what children and parents go through during a divorce or separation.

My two half-sisters lived with foster families while growing up. From this experience, I learned of the importance of the foster-care system and how critical this safety net is for children whose biological parents are not suited or unavailable to fulfill their parental duties, whether because of addiction or other reasons. And I’ve come to rely upon these important caregivers to help protect children when their parents are not capable of doing so themselves.

My mother’s experience helped me to understand and appreciate that single parents can raise successful, accomplished adults on their own, even without the help of child support. As a graduate of Covington Latin School, Northern Kentucky University, and Salmon P. Chase College of Law and now as Kenton County Family Court Judge, I’m a living example of this truth.

As a wife and working mother of two young daughters, I’ve also come to understand how fortunate it is when both parents are involved in the lives of their children and working together for the benefit of their children.

Changes that Save Time and Money

After being appointed to the bench in 2016, I implemented numerous changes in my courtroom to make it more efficient and to save time and money. One of the first changes I made was to the Guardian Ad Litem (GAL) system. GAL attorneys represent children and sometimes, indigent parents involved in child protection related matters. The Commonwealth of Kentucky, using taxpayer-funded dollars, pays for the services provided by these attorneys.

As result of changes I have made in my division, I have reduced GAL costs in my courtroom by more than $1 million since I began my work on the bench.

Another change I implemented was modifying the duties of a case specialist in my courtroom with a trained mediator, who now provides free mediation services to litigants and lawyers. Professional mediators charge litigants, but these services are absolutely free in my courtroom. This service not only saves money but it also means that more cases are settled outside of court, which also saves time, money, and animosity.

As the only candidate with judicial experience and because of my professional and life experiences, I believe I am the best possible choice for Kenton Family Court Judge.

See Judge Dawn Gentry’s campaign Facebook page.

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Boone County Sheriff

I am Tony Wilson and I am running for Boone County Sheriff.

I am a 49-year-old husband, father of three and grandfather of two as well.

I spent the last 25 years as an Erlanger Police Officer. I started as a patrolman in 1992 and rose up through the ranks eventually becoming the Chief in May of 2015. I held every position at the Department except for SRO and K-9 Officer.

I have lived in Boone County for the last 28 years and would love to continue my public service as your next Boone County Sheriff.

Tony Wilson

I have seen the downward spiral of the current Department over the years and can no longer idly stand by and watch it get worse. When I am elected Sheriff you can expect several changes within the Department as well as programs that affect the public.

I will work day in and day out 40 hours-plus weekly to make Boone County SO the very best it can be. There will be more deputies on the street, in the schools and in investigations attacking the very serious problems that our communities are facing daily. There will be less waste in the budget, less waste in the office, and less waste altogether in the SO.

I will expand training to ensure deputies are up to date with the most current trends, and to be the most professional Law Enforcement Boone County has seen in recent history.

I will expand on community outreach programs and work directly with Boone County School Board Members to enhance the safety in Boone County Schools.

I will dismantle the “good ole boy” system that currently exists, and promote deputies that have devoted their career and life to serving Boone County.

I will also hire new deputies based on quality individuals who want to make Boone County SO their home for many years to come.

I will attack the heroin problem head on and work directly with our Federal partners to deter drug dealers and drug users from doing business in Boone County.

I will uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States!

I will defend the rights of everyone in Boone County.

I will ensure transparency and open communication with the public.

I will attend public meetings and forums and I will not be “hard to find.”

I will have open hours for public meetings so that their concerns can be addressed directly face to face.

I grew up in a hard-working blue-collar family and have worked hard my entire life to earn what I have and to serve others. That work ethic will follow me into the Sheriffs Office as well.

The people of Boone County will get more from the Sheriff’s department than ever before. They will have an honest, ethical, and morally sound department, a department that is honest and open with the public and one that is enthusiastic about providing professional Law Enforcement to the people that we are serving. I will work tirelessly to ensure the best service available as well as the best Sheriff’s Office in Kentucky.

It is time for a change in Boone County, I will provide Boone County with the Law Enforcement/service that you are entitled to. Vote for Tony Wilson on May 22 and get the Sheriff Boone County deserves.

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