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Darrell Link began his career in politics with an appointment to the Grant County Tourism Commission. He went on from there to be elected to the fiscal court as a magistrate, followed by a successful run for judge-executive in 1998.
He’s served on numerous boards and commissions and received awards for partnering with other agencies on programs, for being a good neighbor, an outstanding official and for his work in the community.
Link, a Grant County native, can now add another title – 2013 Grant Countian of the Year. He was presented Grant County’s top honor at the annual Grant County Chamber of Commerce banquet on April 27.
Link was nominated by Peggy Updike, county treasurer.
In addition to his duties as county judge-executive, Link has also finds time to be active in several organizations, including the F & AM Grant Lodge, Scottish Rite, Oleika Shrine and Gideon’s International.
He is also a member of Mt. Olivet Church of Christ.
Some of his professional involvement includes being a past president and current board member of the Kentucky County Judge-Executive’s Association, director of the Northern Kentucky Independent Health District, a member of the Grant County Extension Board, KACo and Kentucky Animal Standards Board. He’s also chairman of the Spears Foundation Food Kitchen and the Northern Kentucky University Foundation.
“I was surprised and think a tremendous amount of people in Grant County are far more worthy as I merely was doing my job,” he said.
He is a graduate of Grant County High School and Northern Kentucky University.
Former Rep. Royce Adams presented Link the award. His smile widened as he saw his wife, Candy, and son, Derrick and daughter, Kelsee and her husband, enter the WHS gym on April 27.
Link thanked his family for their support and gave credit to the county having good employees and people, which made his job easier.
Making clean, affordable water available to all areas of the county was one of the accomplishments he said he’s most proud of since he was first elected to office.
“My philosophy has been not to increase taxes, but increase revenues by growing the tax base by making good policy decisions and building infrastructure,” he said.
Link said that during the next two years, he’s already set some goals, which include replacing railroad bridges on Blanchet, Delaney and Eagle Tunnel roads, building a new fire station in Corinth, purchasing a new fire truck for Corinth, seeing the 154 Interchange reconstructed and moving the county’s emergency services to a new location.
“In my opinion, Grant County is well positioned for the future as The Ark Encounter will create a stronger local economy directly and indirectly providing jobs and a demand for new business and homes, which should make for a larger tax base and lower property taxes,” Link said.
In her nomination letter, Updike credited Link for many of Grant County’s larger projects, including a new Grant County Detention Center, new road barn and location for the Grant Co. Road Department, new Grant County Public Library, Kentucky Veterans Cemetery, new and improved animal shelter, new judicial center, improved parks and recreation facilities and Grant County being named a “Certified Clean County.”
“One only need to look around at the changes in Grant County in the past 12 years to appreciate the changes that Judge Link has implemented,” Updike wrote.
While Link has seen many projects come to fruition, he’s also seen others get buried.
“The greatest disappointment was (being) unable to overcome the federal beauraucratic government to increase the size of Lake Williamstown and not identifying a champion at the federal level to help us,” he said.
“I was absolutely despondent by the hateful arson of Rosenwald School,” he added, referring to the Grant County Black History Museum, which was destroyed in a suspicious fire last year.
Link said he sees the job of judge executive as a balancing act.
“The demands by citizens has not been as great as the demand from department heads to provide better services and programs. It has been my job to balance the two, and to work within our means, and not take the easy way out by just asking for more tax dollars from hard-working families,” Link said.
As far as his future, Link said he’s taking his cue from the Bible.
“I am going to do my best to follow the Gospel of Matthew; therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its’ own. I will leave the worrying to someone else. I hope to spend an inordinate amount of time with my wife, family and church family,” he said.