The Races 2012: House 53 - Kirby Copas Files to Replace Commissioner-Elect James Comer
House District 53, which currently consists of Cumberland, Green, Metcalfe and Monroe counties, has been represented since 2001 by Agriculture Commissioner-elect James Comer. Comer was a fair conservative in the House, ranking #4 on our 2010 Scorecard with a score of 71%.
Now he has been elected as the Commissioner of Agriculture, leaving an open seat in the 53rd House district.
The district has been solidly conservative in the past, but needs to gain population in redistricting along with many of its neighbors. Because of the open seat, the 53rd House district could look substantially different for the 2012 election.
That prospect has not deterred Republican Kirby Copas from filing for the seat. There is no date yet for a special election to fill Comer's seat, but it seems that Mr. Copas would like to stand for that election as well.
Ironically, the Republican Copas is a cousin to liberal Democratic Louisville Rep. Charles Miller, according to his Facebook Page.
Rep. Terry Mills has filed for reelection in the 24th House District, which currently consists of Casey and Marion counties and part of Pulaski. While redistricting may change the district, it does not need to be significantly altered because of population.
Mills was elected in a special election in 2010 and reelected in the general election the same year.
While he hasn't been in office long, he has already voted twice for over $180 million in tax increases (RS10 HB 290, RS10 HB 530) and $26 million in new health insurance mandates! (RS10 HB 159)
Currently, the filing deadline for the 2012 elections is January 31, 2012 at 4:00 PM Eastern. We'll be following the decisions and policy statements candidates make to keep citizens informed and give them the opportunity to hold their representatives accountable.
Jensen has been mentioned as a potential successor as Senate president by political observers -- including former Courier-Journal political reporter Al Cross and conservative columnist John David Dyche at recent media panel.
In the interview, Sen. Jensen would not state his support for Sen. Williams remaining as President (although there is no election until 2013).
He told Pure Politics that his intent is to protect incumbents while giving Louisville another legislative district. Here's what he said:
Protecting incumbents is the name of the game. Looking at the proposals for redistricting the US House of Representatives, it seems the only thing that House Speaker Greg Stumbo and Reps. Geoff Davis and Hal Rogers agree upon in entrenching Rep. Ben Chandler in Kentucky's Sixth District for life. As CN2 Politics explains:
The initial redistricting plan House Speaker Greg Stumbo released Tuesday would increase the number of registered Democrats in the 1st and 5th congressional districts by 30,000 while making the 2nd and 4th districts safer Republican seats, according to a Pure Politics analysis....
Stumbo's plan also makes the 6th District slightly more Democratic, which would benefit Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler.
While those statements don't seem to be supported by the numbers that show an Democratic tilt to the 4th district as well, it is otherwise correct.
When examining the "Congressional Delegation Map" that Stumbo contends that Kentucky's representatives suggested, the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd are unchanged relative to current registration proportions, while the 4th and 5th become more Republican and the 6th becomes more Democratic.
Either way, advantage for Chandler.
It is understandable that Stumbo would want to protect his fellow Democrat, but what about the federal delegation's Republican members?
Don't sever Jessamine County from the 6th Congressional District. We understand the district anchored by Lexington must lose territory because of population gains. Moving Republican-leaning Jessamine would help Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler in his expected rematch with Republican Andy Barr next year. We've endorsed Chandler in all his political races. But Fayette and Jessamine counties are economic and social partners, their futures are linked and splitting them would weaken their voice in Congress.
It seems no matter how often we write about the $1 million Lexington loses annually on golf, the Herald-Leader and select citizens refuse to acknowledge the reality of the problem.
The problem, simply put, is rapidly declining play. Not just on Lexington's golf courses, but everywhere.
While we don't have specific regional numbers, we do know the annual number of rounds played in Lexington. Here's the graph:
That graph, derived from Lexington's budget reports, shows a decline from 152,000 rounds in FY 2006 to only 107,565 in FY 2010. The 45,000 round decline is 50% higher than the total number of rounds played on Lexington's most popular golf course in 2009 (30,161 played at Lakeside). Lexington has lost 50% more than an entire golf course worth of rounds played.
Yet, Lexington continues to keep operating without change, devoting tax dollars to maintaining a singular type of recreation for fewer and fewer people.
The Lexington Herald-Leader's editorial board supports this policy of 'no change in subsidizing Lexington's golfers no matter what it costs'. When Councilman Doug Martin recently proposed reducing Lexington's golf surplus, the board falsely editorialized that:
Whatever the aim, the effort remains what it always was: a cynical and heavy-handed attempt by a handful of developers who overreached during the '90s golf boom, to use the pinched city budget to redirect play from the city courses onto their own.
Pot meet kettle. This is the most cynical sentence that could be written. There is no play to redirect! Golf play is declining. It is a fact.
Councilman Martin should be commended for beginning the process of a necessary realignment.
Each decision gave the impression that he is completely unconcerned about appropriate use of the taxpayer's dollar.
Today we learn that he isn't just passively unconcerned, but belligerently, recklessly unethical.
State Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer hired his girlfriend as a "special assistant" in his department during the waning days of the 2011 gubernatorial campaign, in which he was a candidate for lieutenant governor.
According to the state Personnel Cabinet, Stephanie L. Sandmann was hired as a non-merit employee in the Department of Agriculture, to start work on Oct. 31, and is earning $5,000 a month, equal to $60,000 a year.
Typically, a candidate has to win the Governor's race and be sworn in before he finds out that his running mate is trouble. David Williams didn't even get to that stage:
But Senate President David Williams, Farmer's running mate, confirmed Thursday that Sandmann is Farmer's girlfriend and said he had no idea Farmer had put her on the state's payroll eight days before the Nov. 8 election. He said he met her while on the campaign trail with Farmer.
"She told me she worked for a gynecologist," said Williams, the unsuccessful Republican candidate for governor.
It stinks whenever a public official puts themselves ahead of the taxpayer. It is disappointing that the media in Kentucky never seems interested in holding Democrats accountable for similar actions. Anyone with any commonsense would be able to advise Mr. Farmer that his actions are wrong, wrong and wrong.
Which is the most putrid part -- he clearly does not care that he is wrong. He clearly does not care that he embarrasses an entire slate of candidates, an entire political party.
He does not care that he is creating challenges for the new commissioner before he is even sworn in.
Richie Farmer clearly does not know right from wrong.
"According to recent testimony from the Governor's Budget Director, our Commonwealth is facing a potential $337 million hole in our next budget. It is simply wrong for us to spend taxpayers' money at an approximate cost of $60,000 a day on a Special Session to deal with redistricting.
We should concern ourselves with redistricting in the 2012 session, and not waste time and taxpayer money on an unneeded and unnecessary Special Session."
Rumor has it that, faced with almost inevitable gains by Republicans in the redistricting process, Stumbo really wants to postpone the House redistricting until after the 2012 elections. Perhaps he is just setting the stage to make excuses about why he can't get the job done.
Eleven economically distressed Eastern Kentucky counties will benefit initially from the Appalachian philanthropy initiative. They are Bell, Clay, Elliott, Knott, Knox, Lawrence, Letcher, Lewis, Magoffin, Martin and Whitley, according to Beshear's office.
The grants were announced at The Center for Rural Development by Beshear; U.S. Rep. Harold "Hal" Rogers, a Republican who helped found the center and represents much of Eastern and Southern Kentucky; Earl Gohl, federal co-chair of the ARC; and Tony Wilder, commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Local Government.
Senate President David Williams, who has carried Rep. Rogers' water on issues like the decongestant ban, can't be very appreciative of the deliberate timing of the announcement.
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* Free market principles
* Lowering taxes
* Reducing spending
* Decreasing the size of government
* Judicial reform
* Protecting property rights
* Expanding school choice
* Reducing needless regulation
We will hold endorsed candidates accountable for these principles by monitoring each candidate on a vote-by-vote basis. As a Club member, you will receive candidate monitoring updates and scorecards on a regular basis. Join us today.