Jessamine County

Jessamine County judge-executive confirms he's stepping down in 2014

NICHOLASVILLE — Jessamine County Judge-Executive Neal Cassity confirmed publicly Monday night that he would not seek re-election next year.

Cassity, 75, and others said it was the first public notice about his plans, although he had shared his intentions privately with some people in recent months. His term ends in December 2014.

"My energy level is not what it needs to be and what this office deserves," Cassity said during an interview. "It's time for me to let somebody else take hold of the reins."

He spoke during a joint meeting of Jessamine Fiscal Court, Nicholasville City Commission and Wilmore City Council, and administrators from Jessamine County Schools. They meet periodically to discuss issues and share news.

Cassity has been judge-executive since1990. He made clear during the interview and to the people at Monday's meeting that he would not endorse anyone who seeks to be his successor.

"I have not and will not support any candidate that runs for county judge-executive," Cassity said during the meeting. Then, his voice cracking, he said, "I appreciate the support everybody has given me. I love y'all."

The group responded with a standing ovation.

Two Democrats have announced they are running for judge-executive.

State Rep. Bob Damron, D-Nicholasville, 54, who has served in the state legislature for 21 years, announced his candidacy last month.

Additionally, Jessamine Fiscal Court Magistrate George Dean, 65, said he was running. "With 27 years of local government experience, I am fully prepared to lead Jessamine County as judge-executive," Dean said in a statement.

On the Republican side, Magistrate Terry Meckstroth, 65, said Monday that he was "tossing around" the idea of running.

Former Jessamine County Jailer Frank Hubbard, 49, also said he was considering a run. Hubbard was a Democrat at one time but now is a Republican.

"I've had a bunch of people ask me about it," Hubbard said. "I've been humbled and flattered about it, but I haven't come to that conclusion yet."

Cassity said he was proudest of the good working relationships forged with the cities of Nicholasville and Wilmore.

"That's the only thing I lay claim to, trying to keep everybody working together," he said.

Cassity also said he was proud that Camp Nelson, a Civil War site south of Nicholasville, was restored during his time in office.

"But like I said, it's not a one-cat show. It's been people working together to make it possible," he said.

Cassity said opposition to the proposed connector road from Nicholasville to Interstate 75 in Madison County "had absolutely nothing to do with" his decision to retire. He has been a proponent of the road, which he argues is necessary for job growth.

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