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Diane Ford-Benningfield is now a Campbellsville City Council member.
In an 8-2 roll call vote, the council chose Ford-Benningfield to fill the seat vacated by late council member Vangie Ford at its regular meeting on Monday.
“I think it’s very unfortunate the vacancy we have due to Vangie’s untimely death,” Councilman Dr. Jimmy Ewing said, “but it does give us an opportunity to fill the vacancy with someone who is interested in serving the city.”
He then made a motion to appoint Ford-Benningfield. Sharon Hoskins-Sanders seconded.
According to Ewing, Betty Hord-Johnston, a retired teacher, and Ronnie Dooley, who recently retired from Campbellsville/Taylor County E-911, had also been suggested as possible candidates for the seat.
Councilman Greg Rice said that while any of the three would be “excellent,” he said Ford-Benningfield received the next highest number of votes in November’s council election.
Council members Paul Osborne, Greg Rice, Stan McKinney, Jimmy Ewing, Terry Keltner, Sharon Hoskins-Sanders, Vicki Mullins and Mike Hall Jr. voted to appoint Ford-Benningfield.
Councilwoman Patti Phillips voted “no” because she said she does not know Ford-Benningfield.
Councilman Randall Herron also voted “no” and said he had already made a commitment to another candidate.
Councilman Dave Nunery abstained from the vote.
Campbellsville Mayor Tony Young said Ford served 10 years on the council and she cared about the community and attended every meeting that she could.
“We have a tremendous loss, Mrs. Ford,” Young said, “and I just wanted to say that I hate to see her go. We all do. Our prayers are with the family and the friends in their loss and our loss.”
Ford-Benningfield was sworn in by Taylor Circuit Court Judge Allan Bertram on Tuesday.
“I’m happy and sad at the same time because Mrs. Ford was such a powerful staple in the community,” Ford-Benningfield said.
“I hope she’ll be proud to have me step into her shoes because I’m very similar. I’m very community oriented, I come from a background of politics and also to the fact that I’m not afraid to speak my mind or let my voice be heard.”
Young said that while he is just getting to know Ford-Benningfield, he can already tell by looking at her past and current involvement in the community that she will be a great asset to the council.
“She serves on the site-based decision council at Taylor County schools and she’s very active in supporting that program, and I think she’ll do the same with the city and the city will benefit by the things that she’ll bring in to the council, so I’m looking forward to her coming on,” Young said.
For more from the council’s meeting, see Monday’s issue.