Sunday, November 30, 2014

Don't Look Now, But Bell County's New Jailer Is Black

Bell County is in the southeastern corner of Kentucky, nestled against east Tennessee and southwestern Virginia.  It's coal country, its mountains scarred by mining and endemic poverty.

But not racism. At least not in one election for a native son.

WYMT in Hazard:

“I’ve been publisher and general manager for the paper for the last 11 years,” Ferguson said. “It gave me the opportunity to meet all sorts of people.”

He was also a state police trooper for nearly 10 years and worked for the United States Marshals Service. Ferguson said both positions prepared him to take on new challenges and responsibility.

“To get nearly 4,500 votes means there were a lot of people that believed in me and I just feel an obligation to make all of them proud,” said Ferguson.

This was his first time running for public office.

“My father, James Ferguson, is 85-years-old and the Bell County Detention Center was built in 1941,” Ferguson said. “He told me he stood on the corner and watched that jail being built and he can’t believe that now his son is the Bell County jailer.”

“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Ferguson said. “Forget about the color of my skin because I have a job to do.”

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