Three Republicans will seek their party's nod in the state representative's race next Tuesday.
John "Bam" Carney, Russell Montgomery and Asa James Swan and will compete in the 51st District state representative's race. The 51st District encompasses Taylor and Adair counties.
The winner of the Republican primary will face lone Democratic candidate Doug Mullins in November.
Current State Rep. Russ Mobley, R-Campbellsville, will not seek re-election.
In a press release issued earlier this year, Mobley cited health issues as his reason for stepping down after eight years in office.
John "Bam" Carney
John "Bam" Carney vows to serve the people, not special interest groups, if elected as state representative of the 51st District.
"I pledge to work hard, listen to the needs of the people and answer to God and the citizens of the district, not special interests."
For the past three years, Carney, who has lived nearly all of his life in Taylor County, has taught social studies at Taylor County High School, where he also coaches basketball and football. Carney has been a teacher for 12 years. If elected, he'll take unpaid leave while in Frankfort. A certified social studies teacher will teach in his absence.
Carney graduated from Berea College in 1991, earning a degree in history with an emphasis in political science. He earned his teaching certification from Campbellsville University.
He and his wife, Jennifer Martin Carney, have two children - Chase, 10, and Ethan, 8.
"I am running for state rep for many reasons," Carney says. "One is for my children and all young people in our society. We need to look at what we're doing. Kentucky is still conservative, but I'm concerned that if we are not careful, it may not be so."
Carney said his family background offers him insight into the issues concerning residents of the 51st District. After retiring, Carney's mother has had to return to work so that she could have health insurance. One of his brothers is a tobacco farmer. His oldest sister is a social worker. His youngest sister co-owns a small business with her husband.
Among the top issues the state will face are budget crunches, Carney said.
Wasteful spending must be cut, he said. The state shouldn't contribute large amounts of funding for projects that benefit only a few.
The state should direct more funding towards education, he said.
"In our district alone - all three school systems - we are going to face more than 50 cuts to the staff," Carney said. "You can't lose that many people without our children losing quality of service."
Opposed to new income taxes, Carney is in favor of increased cigarette and alcohol taxes as long as those funds are funneled into education, health care and agriculture. Carney said the cigarette tax should be no more than 30 cents.
Carney says an increased cigarette tax would boost funding and also encourage some to quit smoking, therefore improving the health of many Kentuckians and easing the strain on the health care system.
Carney also wants to see more competition in health care. He's in favor of more health care insurance providers, limits on malpractice lawsuits and loan forgiveness for medical students from rural Kentucky who attend a state-funded university and return home to practice medicine.
Carney also says the state adoption system needs to be addressed. He would like to see more families adopting local children rather than having to go overseas. However, he said, bureaucracy and cost make that option difficult for many. Carney said there is also a fear that the birth mother may seek to regain custody. Legislation should be drafted, Carney said, to ensure that can't happen.
Carney is opposed to benefits for unmarried couples who work at state facilities. However, he added, "We must respect everyone. We can't legislate morality, but we can create a culture of morality."
Carney said he'd also focus his attention on small businesses and farmers and getting a trade/technical school in the 51st district.
By the Numbers
According to Carney's 32-day pre-primary finance report, the first of a series that all candidates must submit to the state, Carney has raised $6,303 and spent $5,393.06.
Aside from himself, Carney's top contributors are:
- Amy Farmer $300.
- Mark Carney $200.
- Allen Burress $200.
Russell Montgomery believes a state representative's work shouldn't end when the legislative session comes to close. And he says he has the time and energy to put in the needed full-time hours.
"This is more than just a part-time job. I feel like you need to spend more time in Frankfort to get the things the community needs - jobs, roads and education funding. You need to be able to work anytime and spend time in Frankfort. I have that time to spend."
Born and raised on an Adair County farm, Montgomery is a graduate of Adair County High School. He married Adair County native Gladys Riggins in 1957 and the couple has two children - Barry Russell Montgomery of Birmingham, Ala. and Kimberly Montgomery Mills of Lexington. They also have four grandchildren.
In 1960, Montgomery went to work for Coca-Cola, spending 38 years with the company, including 33 years as general manager. During his tenure, the plant's revenue increased from $275,000 to $10 million.
Montgomery retired in 1998. However, he stayed with the company as a consultant and currently serves on the Kentucky Beverage Association Board. He also serves on the Campbellsville/Taylor County Economic Development Authority Board, a position he says he'd likely resign if elected state representative to avoid possible conflicts.
Montgomery said his experience lobbying for the Kentucky Beverage Association in Frankfort for the past 30 years, his successful track record at Coca-Cola and friendships with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle qualify him for the job.
"The economy is one the biggest issues. The price of oil is breaking our backs and it is hurting the working man more than anyone else. He's got to buy gasoline to get to work."
Montgomery says he's disappointed that President George W. Bush and the U.S. Congress have done nothing to help ease the burden. Oil companies, he says, are making billions of dollars at the expense of the people. We need alternatives, he said.
"We need to look at solar power and producing more fuel efficient vehicles," he said.
Montgomery said eliminating frivolous spending is a must.
"We need to look at the museums and things they're building, maybe the golf courses, and say, 'We need to put this on hold until we get in a little better shape financially.' I'd like to see a committee formed to examine the budget to see what we could weed out, what is unnecessary."
Montgomery doesn't support casino gambling as a means to boost funding. That, he said, would cause more problems because of gambling addictions.
"I think there has got to be another alternative," he said.
Lawmakers need to ensure that raises for state and education workers keep up with inflation. Also, he said, schools must have the tools needed to prepare students for the work force.
"We need provide our teachers and our administrators with the latest technology to prepare our kids for this century, for the computer age."
One way to help education funding, Montgomery said, is through grant writers.
The state also needs to work on incentives to bring industries to the area.
"We need more jobs in this area so that our young people don't have to leave."
This, Montgomery said, will not only provide jobs but also produce more tax revenue without having to raise taxes.
"I'm not for any additional taxes. The working man is strapped right now."
By the Numbers
According to Montgomery's 32-day pre-primary finance report, the first of a series that all candidates must submit to the state, Montgomery has raised $17,500 and spent $4,247.67.
Aside from himself, Montgomery's top contributors are:
- Ledeen Antle $1,000.
- Jeff Bland $1,000.
- Vicki Bland $1,000.
- Marion Forcht $1,000.
- Terry Forcht $1,000
- Dallas Clark $750.
Asa James Swan
Asa James Swan says he wants to be part of a new generation of leaders in Frankfort.
Swan, 29, grew up in Campbellsville and Columbia, living in one city for a number of years, then moving back to the other. He currently lives in Campbellsville.
A member of First United Methodist Church, Swan is a history professor at Lindsey Wilson College, where his parents, Terry and Cinda Swan, also teach in the Christian ministries department.
In 1999, Swan was an intern for Senator Elizabeth Dole, who he says he considers his mentor and role model. He says he admires that she has been able to keep Christian service in government.
"That's my goal, too," he said.
Swan has also worked as a legislative assistant for U.S. Rep. Ron Lewis and a legislative liaison for former Gov. Ernie Fletcher.
After working for Fletcher, Swan said, he wanted to take a break from politics. However, he said, current Rep. Russ Mobley, R-Campbellsville, encouraged him to pray about possibly running to take over his position.
"God did not tell me I would win," he said, "but I felt at peace."
Swan said he has a passion for public policy and he would focus on what will help make a difference in Kentucky. He said he should be elected because he is the only candidate who has experience writing bills.
"We're electing a legislator and I know how to legislate," he said. "I will be effective for the district on the first day [in office]."
Swan says he knows the majority of Kentucky's legislators and knows how to get votes needed to pass important legislation.
He says an important issue the state faces in the coming years is working toward economic development and becoming more economically competitive.
He says a recent study ranked Kentucky 46th in these areas, with neighboring state Tennessee as fifth. To work on this issue, he said, Kentucky should focus more on supporting small businesses. He said he supports Right to Work laws, unions and a complete overhaul of Kentucky's tax code.
Another issue Swan finds important deals with social justice for all of those living in Kentucky.
"I'm very passionately and devotedly pro-life," he said. "I will be a voice for the voiceless."
Other issues Swan finds important are education and health care, which he says go hand-in-hand.
Swan said he supports allowing Kentuckians to purchase health care from other states to hopefully create more competitive rates. He said he also supports creating more incentives for students to perform well on CATS tests and giving teachers more flexibility in what they teach in the classroom.
If elected, Swan says he will be sensitive to the needs of Kentucky's farmers. His grandfather, he said, was a farmer and he knows the issues they face today.
Swan said he believes his nearly seven years' experience in state government has prepared him for the state representative's position.
"I have experience that counts," he said. "I am a person of integrity [and a] man of my word. I know almost all the senators and they know they can trust me."
He said he will also work to keep the Heartland Parkway in front of legislators.
"I also want to put a third lane on KY 210 toward Hodgenville."
Swan says he has been a life-long conservative Republican.
"I will support the values we hold so dear," he said.
"This is my home. I'm proud to be part of this community. I would be honored and humbled to serve them."
For more information about Swan, he asks that those interested visit his Web site at www.asajamesswan.com.
By The Numbers
According to Asa Swan's 32-day pre-primary finance report, the first of a series that all candidates must submit to the state, Swan has raised $7,478 and spent $7,140.06.
Aside from himself, Swan's top contributors are:
- Phil Aaron $500.
- Michael Adams $500.
- Joshua James $101.
- Kevin Moolin $200.
- Patricia Phillips $250.
- Cinda Swan $1,000.
- Terry Swan $1,000.
- Mandi Walker $401.