Thursday, January 17, 2008

37th State Senate Race

Metro Councilman Doug Hawkins (R-25) announced on January 14, 2008 that he intends to run for the 37th State Senate seat currently held by Perry Clark (D). Wow. Doug has long been one of the most outspoken members of the Metro Council; often refusing to “rubber stamp” proposed legislation like the recent “revised” smoking ban which just passed. Only James Peden (R-23) and Hawkins had the courage of their convictions to vote “no” while Cheri Hamilton (D-5) voted “present". Doug is a governmental minimalist and prefers seeing more personal responsibility. Perry is the son of the highly popular former Democrat State Legislator, Paul Clark. Perry, a Navy veteran, is politically a conservative libertarian (unusual for a Democrat to say the least). I thought I would have to think about this one, but you know what? The decision was really made for me. Let me tell you why.

I’ve known Perry Clark for about 15 years or so. I had helped Perry on some of his races after he won his father’s seat in the Kentucky State Legislature. About a year before merger between the county and city governments was put on the ballot, Perry started talking to me about running for the new Metro Council. Once merger was issue passed (I was opposed to it), Perry really turned up the heat for me to run (along with a number of other party folks). Well, I filed and was off with bang. However, I noticed Perry’s numerous promises of support began to fade until they became nonexistent. Heck, Perry was no where to be found most of the time! I was later told that Perry was “encouraged” to change sides because of pressure from the Frankfort bunch trying to manipulate our local elections. Towards the end of the race, he was out helping my opponent, a political nobody, who went on to win the race without so much as a “by your leave”. So much for years of friendship and loyalty.

Perry Clark got a chance to run for the 37th State Senate seat as a result of one of the most bizarre episodes in Kentucky political history. Long time Democratic activist, Virginia Woodward ran against Republican Dana Seum Stephenson, daughter of 38th State Senator Dan Seum (R) and nemesis of Ms. Woodward for the vacant 37th State Senate seat. Dana won the election, but as a result of a lawsuit filed by Woodward, was deemed ineligible because she wasn’t a resident of the district. Now, you would think the grateful Democrats would have gladly let Virginia run for the seat after the court ordered a special election. Nope. They snubbed her and gave it Perry Clark. This left Perry’s 37th House seat open, and can you guess who was tapped to run for it? Yelp, the political nobody who won the Metro Council race against me. So that tells you about Perry. Now let me tell you about Doug Hawkins.

Doug is a conservative (which is an understatement). He’s actually a dyed-in-the-wool evangelical uber-conservative. Now, I’m not quite that religious (or that far Right for that matter), but I’m alright with that because Doug’s beliefs (agree with them or not) are sincere and from the heart. I can respect that while still disagreeing with him on some of the issues. Doug is a very passionate man when it comes to things he believes in, like the role of government and personal responsibilities. Of course, Doug’s passion does get him in trouble from time to time (he has a tendency to get carried away). Doug has held the District 25 Metro Council seat from the outset.

So, who do I like in this race? Well, Perry and Doug are equally conservative. Both have ties to the Evangelical Right. Both are anti-abortion and pro-gun (Perry has been known to spend time with local militia groups). But for me, it goes back to who can you believe in. Whether you like where he is on the issues or not, Doug stands by his word. I’ve heard that about him time and again from friends and foes alike, and that goes to character. Perry didn’t stand by his word when it came to me, and I’ve repeatedly heard others talk about how Perry has “changed” over the years, and not for the better. I’ve been involved in politics for close to 30 years, and in my book, it’s all about integrity.

District 14 Race

Speaking of the Metro Council, I alluded to a new entry in the District 14 race in my last issue. Former independent candidate for Metro Mayor, Ed Springston has thrown his hat into the ring. Ed will be trying to unseat incumbent Bob Henderson (D). I had an opportunity to ask Mr. Springston, who’s returned to his Democratic roots, why he decided to run again. Here are my questions and Ed’s answers:

AO: Ed, why are you motivated to run for Metro Council?

ES: I am motivated to run for Council simply because it is time for change. The 14th District IMO has not been fairly represented by our current Councilman. Issues important to us like less Government interference, job growth overall including the hospitality sector, low income housing, illegal immigration. These are issues that the 14th deserves to be addressed and they are not. Our Councilman, and the Council in general IMO, have chosen to make priorities like smoking bans the priority of today. We must get back to basic leadership in Government and address the issues that affect us all. Our economy, safety, infrastructure. These are issues that are lacking and someone needs to make them priorities.

AO: If elected, what is the single most important item you want to accomplish by the end of your term in 4 years?

ES: A more responsive government to the needs of the people not the wants of a select few. I will work on prioritizing the issues that are important not waste time on nanny mentality. We do not need a rubber stamp Council rep for this Mayor. We need someone making our issues relevant to this Mayor. I want to be that someone.

AO: What is the one thing you will not do under any circumstances as a member of Metro Council?

ES: I will NOT VOTE BLINDLY because I was told to without knowing ALL the facts. We have a rubber stamp representative now. I will not do that. I will look at all evidence in regards to issues and vote accordingly.

AO: Will you go to the mat in support of organized labor?

ES: I am a huge supporter of organized labor. I am an ex UAW member today as well as a former Teamster. I have always gone to the mat for organized labor and will continue to do so. One primary example of that is during the Mayor race of 2006 of which I was a candidate. I was the ONLY Candidate who stood for a PLA in regards to the arena. A stand I take great pride

Ed will have plenty of company in the primary. Besides Bob Henderson, there will be political novice Michael Bowman and the more experienced Jack Wood. If you want to learn more about Ed Springston, I suggest you visit his webpage at Ed Springston for Metro Council District 14 2008. Chris Thieneman and Gordon Richie will fill out the ticket on the Republican side.

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