E’town council sworn in for new term

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Bennett joins ranks as Ashlock says goodbye

By Marty Finley

Bill Bennett said those who have a strong relationship with God, family and friends can achieve success despite past failures.

Bennett took the oath of office Monday, becoming the newest member of Elizabethtown City Council. He replaces Larry Ashlock, who grew emotional when saying goodbye to city government.

Bennett, a perennial council contender, finally broke through in November, defeating challengers Arnold Myers, Bob Hack and Terry Shipp to claim the vacant seat on the council.

As a coach, teacher and former athlete, Bennett said he always has lauded perseverance.

“You can’t give up,” he said. “If it’s something you want to achieve and it’s important to you, you can’t give up.”

Bennett plans to meet with the mayor and department heads soon to “educate” himself. Elizabethtown is one of the fastest growing cities in the state and that influx can bring growing pains the city must endure while being good stewards of taxpayer money, he said. The city, in addition, should continue to combat drainage problems and improve its infrastructure, he continued.

A fierce critic of the restaurant tax and Elizabethtown Sports Park, Bennett said the city has pooled millions into the facility and must attract large numbers of tournaments without going overboard on spending.

“We want it to succeed,” he said of the park. “There’s a lot of money invested in it. It needs to succeed.”

Mayor Tim Walker welcomed Bennett into the fold with a handshake, telling him they will “hit the ground running” in 2013.

Ashlock also extended his hand to Bennett and told him to call if he needed advice or help in his new role.

A local attorney, Ashlock has spent the last four years on the council and said he has enjoyed working with residents in the community, hearing their concerns and suggestions about the city’s future and his role in shaping that future.

“It’s not about the power and prestige the office comes with, but the people that make it great,” he said.

Ashlock, who opted not to run for a third term to spend more time with his two children and focus on his private law practice, said he knows he has erred at times in his decision making on the council but hopes his time in the “arena” reaped some positive benefits.

Walker presented Ashlock with a plaque commemorating his four years of service and invited him back to give the council advice. Several of Ashlock’s colleagues offered him bear hugs as going away presents.

Hardin Circuit Judge Ken Howard, who presided over the swearing in ceremony, said he appreciated Ashlock’s dedication and the willingness of men to stand on the front line.

“It’s not an easy task,” Howard said. “We need good men willing to do that.”

All five incumbents — Edna Berger, Tony Bishop, Kenny Lewis, Marty Fulkerson and Ron Thomas — retained their seats and were sworn in alongside Bennett for another two-year term.

Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or mfinley@thenewsenterprise.com.