New commission takes office, gets down to business

By JENNIFER COHRON, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 11/17/16

New and returning members of the Walker County Commission looked to the future after taking the oath of office Wednesday morning.

“The election is over. Let’s all work together,” incoming chairman Jerry Bishop told the crowd of relatives, …

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New commission takes office, gets down to business

Posted

New and returning members of the Walker County Commission looked to the future after taking the oath of office Wednesday morning.

“The election is over. Let’s all work together,” incoming chairman Jerry Bishop told the crowd of relatives, elected officials and other well-wishers gathered in front of the Walker County Courthouse for the inauguration ceremony.

After presiding over his first meeting, Bishop closed with a word of inspiration.

“History is in the past. Tomorrow is the future. Today is the present. Let us start a change today. With the help of the people in this room and the help of our leaders and the people in Walker County, we can. I look forward to being part of that,” Bishop said.

Bishop is one of three new additions to the commission.

District 2 Commissioner Jeff Burrough and District 3 Commissioner Ralph Williams took their seats for the first time on Wednesday.

“I’m humbled and honored that I have received the votes to hold this office. I will always look to the Lord to guide and direct me,” Burrough said after being sworn in by presiding Circuit Judge Jerry Selman.

Williams, a retired Walker County Sheriff’s Office investigator and former coal miner, said he could not have imagined one year ago that he would be holding public office.

He summed up his thoughts on this new phase of his life by retelling a story from election night.

“A gentleman asked me, ‘Now that you’re a commissioner, who is your boss? Who do you answer to?’ I looked at him and said, ‘You’re my boss, along with all the other citizens of my district.’ That’s the way I look at it,” Williams said.

In welcoming the commissioners to a new term, county attorney Eddie Jackson noted that they were elected during a sea change in local politics.

“I feel a current of hope in this community in regard to where we are going to go, and they [voters] have expectations. I think we have the people in place to meet those expectations. We have some challenges, no question, but from weaknesses arise opportunities, and you have an opportunity to do something really special in this county,” Jackson said.

District 1 Commissioner Keith Davis, who is beginning his second term, said the people of Walker County have reason to be hopeful.

“There are a lot of things going on positively for this county and also in the city of Jasper. I look forward to working with the new council and mayor not only in Jasper but across this county and working hard to move us in the right direction, which is forward. There is no sense in talking about past things anymore. It’s time to work hard and find solutions to the problems that face this county,” Davis said.

District 4 Commissioner Steven Aderholt, also starting a second term, said the citizens have given their representatives a chance to lead in challenging times.

“I hope that’s what we do in the next four years is provide leadership, tackle our problems head on and take the good points of this county and push them forward,” Aderholt said.