Paul Smiley: Smiley, 63, is seeking his first term on the City Commission but is no stranger to city committees and public service.
He is a former Ethics Committee member, served 13 years on the Danville Board of Education and was a former board chair for the local chapter of the American Red Cross. If elected, he hopes to help see the water plant project to its completion, continue to enhance what he called already excellent police and fire departments, and increase indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities for people of all ages.
“The people in the community need to feel safe,” Smiley said. “We cannot do any budget cuts” relating to public safety.
Smiley spent 28 years as an athletic director and teacher at Kentucky School for the Deaf until retiring in 2007, though he still volunteers and substitute teaches at the school on a weekly basis.
Smiley, who holds two master’s degrees, first earned a bachelor’s degree in health and physical education from the University of Maryland. American University in Washington, D.C. awarded his first master’s in supervision and administration, and Maryland’s McDaniel College awarded Smiley his second master’s in deaf education. He and his wife, Pat, moved to Danville 33 years ago and have three sons who were born and raised here.
“A lot of friends encouraged me to run because of my background and my experience,” Smiley said.
“And I believe in public service.”
Smiley acknowledged that his candidacy has drawn some controversy and some people have labeled him as a “yes man” for Mayor Bernie Hunstad. Smiley said such rumors are unfounded and unfairly attack his personal integrity. Smiley stressed he is an independent who only wants what is best for all residents of Danville.
“I will listen to everyone,” he said. “I believe I am an independent decision maker using common sense on all issues to support the improvement of quality of life in Danville.
“I have friends on both sides, but I am going to make independent decisions. Because I’m not going to be a ‘yes man’ to anybody. That’s not going to happen.”
Paige Dyche Stevens: Stevens, 63, a professional educator, first joined City Commission in 2006 to finish the remaining five months of her late husband Alex’s term.
"I'm excited about following in Alex's footsteps," Stevens told The Advocate-Messenger at the time of her swearing-in ceremony. She added that her heart belonged to her husband and his to the city, so she would do her best to make the right decisions.
Stevens, a native of London, first moved to Danville to attend Centre College. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education and later completed a master’s in education from Indiana University and multiple administrative certifications from Eastern Kentucky University.¿Stevens works part-time administering grants for public schools in Jessamine County. During her career, she has worked in a number of teaching and administrative capacities for area school districts including Danville and Lincoln County.
“I’ve lived my life here,”¿Stevens said. “I love this town.”
The public discord among some members of the current City Commission has the potential to prevent Danville from moving forward, she said.
“I would love to see us spend our energies on making Danville a better place for all of the citizens,” Stevens said. “I feel like there are so many important issues that we could be addressing in the community.
“It’s just not productive to spend it all on acrimony and we’ve had so much of that. I worry about how it makes us appear to people who might want to come here, think about bringing their business here, think about starting a business or bringing employees or other members of their family...”
While Stevens acknowledges the need for executive sessions for issues such as pending litigation, she feels there have been too many closed-door meetings in the last two years.
“To the extent that we’re able to operate in front of the citizens, that’s what needs to be done. That’s what I’m accustomed to with school councils and school boards. They’re very good about following” open meetings laws “and I think that’s what city government needs to do as well.”
Stevens says her campaign slogan, “No Agenda But Danville,” will govern her votes if the citizens elect her to City Commission on Tuesday.