The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

November 6, 2012

Commissioner Barksdale bids farewell after 20 years

By Kim West
kwest@athensnews-courier.com

— During a protracted discussion about the removal of a pair of cedar trees at the Limestone County Courthouse, outgoing District 2 Commissioner Gerald Barksdale injected some levity into the county commission meeting when he removed his brass nameplate and tucked it into his jacket.

Barksdale’s gesture sparked an outburst of laughter, marking the end of his 20-year tenure, which included serving from 1985-89 and 1996 to 2012. His District 2 seat will be filled by Steve “Ned” Turner, 42, a Republican, who won a four-year term after defeating Richard Lauderdale in a run-off election April 24

The District 4 race between incumbent Bill Daws, a Democrat, and Republican challenger Ben Harrison will be decided in today’s election.

“When I took office, my goal and my dream was to have the best roads you could find anywhere,” said Barksdale, who turns 73 in January and plans to spend his retirement gardening, working in his wood shop and traveling. “The old courthouse is a beautiful building, and I wanted to preserve it and make improvements.

“I feel good, and my health is good. I just wanted the liberty to be on my own and relax, and to have the time to do the things I wanted to do. I’d like to go all the way to Alaska and travel to Key West, Florida.

“I just want to thank the people of District 2 and the county for letting me serve this length of time.”