Jefferson County voters have a difficult decision in the election for the Jan. 3 term of county commissioner.
Tom Gentile, the incumbent and a Democrat, is being challenged by Billy Petrella, a nonpartisan candidate.
We believe Gentile deserves the vote.
Gentile works well with his fellow commissioners, Thomas Graham and David Maple.
The commissioners have done good work during Gentile's four years as commissioner.
Gentile, 57, brings 35 years of business experience to the office, especially in the field of energy. He has experience in water, sewer and road construction and real estate development. His knowledge on the energy side is valuable at a time when oil and gas drilling is beginning to take off in the county. He knows the companies that are involved in the oil and gas industry.
As a licensed pilot, he has a clear idea of what is needed at the Jefferson County Airpark. He pushed for the county airport runway to be extended and widened so larger commercial jets can safely use the facility, and he worked hard to secure $1.5 million in state grants and got his fellow commissioners to pledge $500,000 in county money for the runway expansion.
Gentile also has pushed for the water system in the south end of the county to be upgraded. A new pumping station and water line will be built in the months ahead to, hopefully, bring water to residents who have been asking for it for years.
Gentile also meets with prospective business developers interested in coming into the county. Those meetings are aided by the fact that Gentile is an experienced business owner himself.
Also, Gentile has worked hard to end the misconception that the county is corrupt and mismanaged.
Petrella, 25, brings much to the table.
He has proven himself to be a sharp businessman and has a long histoy of community involvement through numerous boards and activities. He has been a good candidate, and has run a good campaign.
It's good to see younger people throw their hats into the political ring. While we are confident Petrella will continue to play an active role in our community, we encourage him to remain involved in politics.
In this race, though, our endorsement goes to Gentile..