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Judicial candidates speak out

By John Miller, 10/17/22 9:25 AM

PRESCOTT – Interviews were held for both candidates seeking to become the next Nevada County Judge.

Each was asked the same questions and given the opportunity to respond as they chose.

First question: Why are you running for this office?

Mike Otwell: The current judge is leaving. I’ve had people ask me to run. The county’s roads need work and I want to help my friends.

Bob Cummings: I want to correct things I see and make the roads better for the people of Nevada County. I plan to change the status quo. I see things wrong and want to make it better. I’m on the Nevada County Quorum Court, but the court has no power over the roads, only the county judge has.

Second question: What are your plans for office?

Cummings: First, I plan to buy new equipment for the county. Second, the county has $1.6 million in ARPA money it can use for this. There’s no need to pave roads if you don’t have the equipment to fix them with. I’d like to add two bushhogs. The landfill needs a bulldozer. The county needs two dump trucks and two graders. If we buy new they’ll last longer, used is only someone else’s problems and you can’t buy used equipment with ARPA money. The biggest complaint in the county is roads, which is also the biggest expense.

Otwell: I plan to unite the people and work with the mayors of the cities in Nevada County. I’ll work to get the roads back in shape and make people happy.

Third question: Will you quit your current job?

Otwell: I will be a full-time judge.

Cummings: If elected I will retire. I’ve been on the quorum court for 22 years and have only missed 11 meetings. If I have a job to do, I’ll do it. I will be a full-time judge and take the job seriously.

Fourth question: What changes to you plan for the county if elected?

Cummings: I’ll show up on time, work with the court, road and bridge and put a lot of emphasis on roads. I won’t ban four-day weeks, but will make sure the courthouse is staffed all five days. Some will work Monday-Thursday, others Tuesday-Friday so everything will be covered. I plan to work with the city councils in the county to improve relationships. We all have problems and need to work together.

Otwell: Fixing the roads is the main thing. If we have the money, I’ll buy equipment, but the court controls the money.

Final question: Tell us about yourself?

Otwell: I’m a lifelong resident of Nevada County. My wife, Lorrie, and I have two daughters, Lauren and Samantha and four grandchildren. I’ve been self-employed all my life and have had to buy, sell and trade equipment and machinery. I’ve helped build five different businesses. I like to fish and love to mow and clean. My main goal is to help the people, but I can’t help if I’m not elected. I’m sorry if I wasn’t able to get by and see everyone, but the price of gas made it impossible. If elected, I hope to get by and see people, or they can come to the courthouse and see me.

Cummings: My wife, Lori, and I have been married 40 years. We have two children, Chance and Amanda, and four grandchildren. My dad was James H. “Booger Red” Cummings and mom was Joyce Cummings. I work for Centurylink, am a small farmer, the president of the Farm Bureau, Cattlemen’s Association, member of the quorum court and First Baptist Church. I’m a lifelong resident of the county and my children and I are graduates from the Prescott schools, where my grandchildren attend.