U.S. senator, representative candidates set to face off

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State has two senatorial seats up for grabs

By Calen McKinney


Several people want to represent Kentucky as either a U.S. representative or senator. But before they can battle for the two spots in the November general election, the candidates must win at the primary level on May 20.

In the 1st District U.S. representative race, Democrats Wesley Seaton Bolin and Charles Kendall Hatchett will square off in the May primary. The winner will face Ed Whitfield, the Republican incumbent, in the fall.

In the race for one of Kentucky's two U.S. senator seats, Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell will face Matt Bevin, James Bradley Copas, Chris Payne and Shawna Sterling in the primary election.

The Democratic primary pits Allison Lundergan Grimes, Burrel Charles Farnsley, Gregory Brent Leichty and Tom Recktenwald against each other.

The winners of the primary races will face off in November to see who will sit in the senator's seat come January.

Central Kentucky News-Journal staff members mailed candidate questionnaires to all the U.S. representative or senator candidates on the primary ballot.

Hatchett, Grimes, Leichty and Recktenwald responded and their responses are printed below. See their complete questionnaires with this story online at www.cknj.com.


Charles Kendall Hatchett

Hatchett, 62, has two children and three grandchildren. He has an associate's degree in banking and is a real estate broker and auctioneer.

Hatchett has six years' experience in banking and worked for five years as a chemical operator. He was also a supervisor at General Electric.

He wrote on his questionnaire that he is running for office because he wants to oversee Congress.

"I want to change the way government is run," he stated.

The three most important issues facing the 1st District U.S. representative's office are the economy, jobs and opportunity.

He also wrote that the hydrogen process and hydroelectric are important to him, as are clean energy, coal gasification and "no fracking!"

Hatchett said he believes he is the best candidate in his race.

"Because I am going to give the office back to the people. I will be Christ-like in my conduct toward the president, protect the seniors and stand up for the weak. Tariff slave wage overseas taking jobs away from middle class!!"


Allison Lundergan Grimes

Grimes, 35, is married to Andrew Grimes. She completed a Bachelor of Arts degree at Rhodes College and a juris doctor at American University. She has worked as an attorney, and since 2012 has served as Kentucky's Secretary of State.

Grimes stated that she is running for office because she is an advocate for Kentucky families.

"Growing up in central Kentucky, I learned the value of public service at an early age by volunteering with my family every year to serve Thanksgiving dinners to the homeless. As a successful business attorney in Lexington, I helped businesses open, expand and thrive in Kentucky, allowing them to create jobs and foster economic growth," she wrote.

The three most important issues facing the U.S. senator's office, Grimes stated, are jobs, raising minimum wage and education.

"Kentuckians deserve a senator who will fight for the middle class. I am the only candidate in this race to put forth a jobs plan - my forward-looking plan will help increase incomes, encourage business growth, and create jobs," she wrote.

Grimes states that she believes raising minimum wage is smart, and she will make that her first order of business once elected. She will also work to make sure all residents have access to education.

"Education is the passport out of poverty and the gateway to good-paying jobs, economic growth and a strong middle class," she wrote. "It is critical that we work together - with families, educators and schools - to prepare our children for success. As Kentucky's next senator, I will lead on this issue to ensure our children are equipped with the tools and resources necessary to succeed."

Grimes states that she believes she is the best candidate because her top priority will be addressing unemployment and underemployment.

"My action plan to grow our economy takes full advantage of the natural resources and people we have, expands science, math and computer education, invests in our infrastructure, and diversifies our economy to attract more businesses.

"From leading the nation in calls to increase the minimum wage, to fighting to close the gender pay gap, and bringing our American jobs back from overseas, I will continue to stand with Kentucky's hardworking families in the U.S. Senate."


Gregory Brent Leichty

Greg Leichty, 58, is married to Kathleen M. Leichty. He has two daughters, Jana Meyer and Kari Doty.

Leichty completed a sociology degree from Goshen College and masters and doctoral degrees in communication from University of Kentucky. He is a communications professor at University of Louisville.

The reason Leichty is running for office is because he believes Congress is dysfunctional.

"It is dysfunctional because the increasing cost of campaigns compels our representatives to spend 20 plus hours a week calling strangers out of state for money," he wrote.

"I am running for Senate not because I want to, but because I feel compelled to.  I care for my country and for the future of my children and grandchildren."

The three most important issues facing the senator's office, according to Leichty, are campaign finance and electoral reform, restoring effective regulation of the financial system and confronting climate change in the most economical way.

Leichty wrote that he believes he there are many people in Kentucky who are as qualified as he for the Senate office.

"Unfortunately, none of them are running for the Senate in Kentucky in 2014," he wrote. "I believe I have a good grasp of the problems we face. I believe I also have a good understanding of the causes of those problems. I am open to exploring the best means of addressing these problems with people with different points of view. Legislating and compromising with opponents is what the writers of our Constitution intended our congressional representatives to do."

Leichty states that, if elected, he won't serve more than two terms in office, because he is a citizen first.

"I am committed to seeking every available means to restore the legislative branch to effective functioning again. The integrity of our Republic itself is at stake."


Tom Recktenwald

Tom Recktenwald, 67, is married to Carol Recktenwald. He has a daughter, who is married and has three children.

Recktenwald completed an Associate in Science degree at Jefferson Community College and has worked at the Naval Ordnance Station Louisville for 30 years and at the Naval Ordnance Credit Union and St. Lawrence School/Notre Dame Academy in Louisville.

Recktenwald stated that he is running for office to support gun laws and to work to neutralize the power of the "very rich."

"I strongly support common sense gun laws and I want to pass legislation that will reduce the devastation caused by mass shootings. I believe in a ban on assault weapons, background checks and 10-round maximum magazines. If the 10-round maximum had been in effect, many lives could have already been saved."

Recktenwald stated that the "very rich" are making their voices heard by donating money to the McConnell and Grimes campaigns.

"I will not accept any donations to my campaign, and, as Kentucky's senator, I pledge to middle-class and poor Kentuckians that they will have a voice in Washington. Most importantly, I hope that by winning this election, I can inspire other middle-class and poor Kentuckians, more qualified than I am, to run in the future. When they see it's possible to win without participating in the distasteful task of bowing to rich donors for money, they will accept the challenge to run."

The three most important issues facing the senator's office are passing common sense gun laws, comprehensive tax reform that helps the poor lift themselves from poverty and environmental protection that reverses global warming and provides clean air and water for all Americans.

Recktenwald states that he is the best candidate because he has lived his life as a member of the middle class.

"Those of us in the middle class have largely been ignored by Congress for at least the last 30 years," he wrote. "I have experienced the pain of worrying about a mid-career job loss and wondering where the dollars would come from for braces and college tuition for my kids."