Local doctor appointed commissioner
IRONTON — Dr. Colton Copley, an emergency room doctor at Cabell Huntington Hospital, has been selected as the new Lawrence County commissioner and will serve in that post through 2020.
Copley, a Republican, was named to fill the unexpired two-year term of the late Commissioner Bill Pratt. He was selected during a meeting Thursday night of the Lawrence County Republican central committee.
A father of five, Copley said he had five good reasons to be county commissioner. They are Adyson, Kota, Korie, Andie-Kate and Kip.
“I love my children with everything I have, and I see the potential for our county to be a place they will call home forever,” he said. “I truly want to see not only my children, but every child living in our county, dream to be anything that they desire and know that they can do that right here in Lawrence County.”
Among the top priorities Copley will have to deal with is the overcrowding problem, which forces Lawrence County to spend close to $1 million to house prisoners at other Ohio jails.
Copley’s first regular meeting as county commissioner is scheduled as an organizational meeting Jan. 14 at the Lawrence County Courthouse.
“I want to talk to the other two commissioners,” Copley said. “This is a team effort. I’ll listen to them and share my vision. We can compromise. We have all said we want to do what is best for Lawrence County. I believe we will be able to work as a team.
“We must put the days of division behind us and recognize that we will not always agree on every issue, but we must stick together and remain on the same team.”
One of the most important issues Copley said he will be dealing with is the drug problems the county is facing.
“I want to look at the budget,” he said. “The Lawrence County grand jury has returned 550-plus indictments this year, the highest ever. The vast majority of those cases involve drugs.
“There are no easy answers to the prisoner housing problem,” Copley said. “If that were the case, it would already have been done.”
One area he wants to explore is an inpatient lockdown unit to deal with drug offenders, Copley said.
“He’ll do an excellent job as county commissioner,” said County Auditor Jason Stephens, head of the county’s Republican central committee and a former county commissioner. “He’s bright. He’s energetic, and he’s ready to serve.”