As of earlier this month, two first-time officials took a seat as magistrate on the Clinton County Fiscal Court. Among them was 48-year old Terry Buster, who won the seat in the November general election to fill out an unexpired term to represent the 3rd Magisterial District of Piney Woods, Snow and Seventy-Six precincts.
Buster is a life long resident of the Piney Woods Community of Clinton County and a 1982 graduate of Clinton County High School.
Almost immediately after high school, Buster began working for veterinarian Dr. Charles Daley, where he worked for some 22 years. Beginning in 2000, and for about a four-year period, he began with the City of Albany at the water treatment plant, where he is currently employed today, being a Class 4 plant operator.
The new magistrate first got into politics two years ago when he ran unsuccessfully for the same office he now holds, losing a close election to former Magistrate Willard Johnson, who resigned earlier this spring to take a position as bank president.
Although Buster only began his active career in local politics a couple of years ago, the Republican magistrate said he had been interested in politics since his teenage years, when he first worked for former State Representative Richard Fryman during his campaign in the 1970s. The two were neighbors in the Piney Woods Community, Buster noted.
Buster also has a sister, Carol McWhorter, who served as Deputy Judge/Executive in the 1980s.
“I’ve always been interested in politics and see it as a way to pay back to the community which has been so good to me,” Buster said.
He noted that a few years ago, he and his family went through a tragedy, with the loss of his first wife in an automobile accident, and that the community was very supportive of him and his family during that time.
“We always hear about bad people and the bad things that happen,” said Buster, but added, “good people don’t make the news” and says during his two recent campaigns, he had met all kinds of good people, saying he was blessed to live in a place like Clinton County.
Buster noted that over the years, the county has progressed and grown but “we always need to remember where we’ve come from,” he added.
Buster became the first magistrate from the Piney Woods precinct since Danny McFall, a Democrat, was elected in the late 1970s and said he had heard he may have been the first Republican from that district to win a seat on the court since the 1940s.
He said in an interview with the Clinton County News last week that he had considered seeking the office “two or three terms ago,” but because he worked two jobs for awhile, he didn’t have the time needed to put into it then.
Buster said that he wanted to see a place for his kids to stay and make a living if they chose to do so, noting that he was one of six members of his family and all of them were still living in Clinton County.
The newest magistrate, who has attended two call meetings since being elected, is well aware of the pressing issues the county faces and seems more than willing and ready to take on the challenge.
“Being a taxpayer, I believe in spending people’s tax dollars wisely,” he said.
The county’s financial situation, by far, is the most pressing issue he feels the fiscal court faces, at all levels of government. “We have to buckle down and cut back on waste…cut it out if it’s not needed.”
Buster feels, among overseeing the county’s finances, that his duties include helping the people in his own district as much as possible, including providing safe roads and keeping needed services, such as the ambulance service, solvent.
“It’s a struggle to keep it (ambulance service) going but it’s a top priority,” said Buster.
Buster said he hadn’t had the time to look deeply in the county’s current year budget, but is aware that the most costly expenditures from the occupational tax fund right now is the ambulance service and jail, both of which he noted just about lived off the OT fund. He also indicated that the county has not been receiving any state or federal grant funds over the past few years due to the overall national economy crisis.
“We need more jobs…more jobs creates more revenue that can be used for services,” Buster said.
Buster feels some of the primary assets Clinton County has is its educational system, noting there were a lot of smart people in the county and more and more young people getting college educations. He also added that due to our proximity to the lakes, we live in one of the finest parts of Kentucky.
“We need something for our young people to do (work)” and give them the opportunity to live here after they receive an education, he said. That is a primary reason he feels attracting more industry and business to bring in more jobs to the county is so important.
Buster said that thus far, he has enjoyed being on the fiscal court and learning as he goes. He also added that even the short time as magistrate so far that “a lot of people don’t see what all goes on…it’s more complicated than what many people would think.”
Buster also said that he did intend to seek a full term on the court in the next local election.
The new magistrate is now remarried to the former Carol Thrasher Barber. He has two children, Terrance and Taylor and two step-children, whom he said he feels are his own, Sonya Speck and Levi Barber. He parents, Ruth and Melvin Buster, are also life-long natives of Clinton County.
“I plan on seeking a full term in the next election and I hope I can help make a difference in the two-year period I have on the court now. I would really like to see people…including former elected officials, pull together for the good of the county,” Buster said.
Buster concluded by thanking God and family and the people of the third district for their hospitality, support and confidence they have placed in him. “I’m going to do my best to be an elected servant to the people and try to live up to their expectations,” he said.