Two individuals will be running for the seat of Logan County Coroner in the general election on Nov. 8, 2022. This position is currently held by Democrat Mary L. Givens who is seeking reelection for this seat in the 2022 race.
The News-Democrat & Leader reached out to the candidates asking them to submit a little information about themselves as well as answering why each felt they would make a good coroner for our county, and what they would bring to the position if elected.
The following is what candidates Givens and Ben Kemplin, Republican, submitted. To assure fairness, the newspaper asked that each candidate submit 500 words or less and provide a photograph of themselves. The placement follows in alphabetical order.
MARY L. GIVENSMy name is Mary L. Givens and I am your Logan County Coroner. I served as your Deputy Coroner from 2004 to 2006.
You elected me coroner in 2007. I worked for Dr. Dewey Wood for three years. I have worked for 28 years at Auburn Healthcare. While serving as a coroner, I have seen many legislative changes some of which involve going from paper charting and death certificates to an electronic death registration system or KY EDRS.
Our office has made all of these transitions smoothly including the challenges that came with the COVID-19 pandemic and the guidelines that followed.
I have achieved a close working relationship with our city and county law enforcement, as well as state police on death investigations.
I can’t say enough about the support of our EMS, fire departments, hospital, doctors, search and rescue, fish and wildlife, funeral homes, the health department, DCBS, and chaplains.
All of these, as well as others, help my office in collecting data and giving support, beginning with our dispatch center.
Your calls trickle down to one of several of these agencies to assist.
I chair the Logan County Child Fatality Team where I work with our schools, attorneys, health department, doctors, and other agencies on specific child deaths. I have set up a liaison with the local government in the event of deaths here but also those who may reside outside of our county.
In 2016, I received my Master Coroner, which is the highest level a coroner can achieve. I have completed training through the Department of Criminal Justice, trained in mass fatalities, child death, fire, overdose, ATV and motor vehicle, homicide, suicide, courtroom, and office management, to name a few. I have completed hundreds of autopsies. A few of our neighboring counties do not have hospitals, so we see cases brought here to the ER. I have worked with those coroners completing death investigations, as well. I have also helped other counties with mass fatalities or other deaths.
I have seen our county pull together during tornadoes, fires, and numerous deaths. I’m so proud to be a part of a community where when there is a need, we meet that need and become neighbors to strangers.
In Kentucky, you have to be a doctor, licensed coroner, or licensed deputy coroner to sign a death certificate. I’m the only person in this election that is a certified coroner. I am asking for your vote of support to continue serving you and your families as your Logan County Coroner.
My name is Ben Kemplin, my wife Katina and I live in Auburn along with our son, Jackson. We attend Dripping Spring Baptist Church, in the Olmstead community. I have a Master of Science Degree from Murray State University. I have been an educator for 30 years, serving as the Director of Human Resources for Logan County Schools for the last eight years and previously serving as the Principal of Olmstead School for 16 years.
I am a licensed Funeral Director, I have worked in the funeral business for 28 years during which time I gained much experience working coroner cases, as the funeral director I worked for was the coroner for the county in which I lived. I am more than qualified to hold the office of Coroner. The Kentucky State Statutes list the qualifications for coroner as; must be at least 24 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, complete 40 hrs of training AFTER being sworn into office, and 18 hrs of continuing education every year thereafter. ALL newly elected Coroners or deputy Coroners must meet these requirements when first taking office.
I believe in giving back to the community. I have always been a servant leader and as I approach the end of my educational administration career, I am looking for other ways to serve my community. I believe in using one’s gifts and talents, as they are God-given for a reason. My ability to work with the deceased is a gift that not everyone has but that God has given me and therefore I should use it to help others.
I feel I would make an excellent coroner because of my dedication to my community and my God-given gifts and talents. I believe I can make a difference in the coroner’s office, not only by meeting the legal obligations to the deceased person but also by being caring and compassionate with the relatives and next of kin to the deceased. Giving someone the worst news of their lives, that someone they love is no longer with us, is a heavy responsibility. I feel the coroner has an obligation not only to the deceased but also to the family to be understanding, show care, and give dignity to their loved ones. It is also very important to follow the letter of the law and work in a timely fashion to conduct your investigations and get your findings to all the necessary local officials. Providing thorough investigations and protecting evidence is vital to running a coroner’s office. Cultivating good working relationships with the local police and sheriff’s departments, fire and rescue, as well as the commonwealth attorney is essential to running an effective and efficient coroner’s office. I also believe it is important to be impartial in relation to local funeral establishments and to have good working relationships with all.
I encourage everyone to exercise your right to vote and consider me for your next coroner. Your vote would be very much appreciated.