Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Columns

April 25, 2014

RONNIE ELLIS: Never bored on the political beat

GLASGOW — My job is never boring.

Well, maybe that’s not entirely accurate. There are those never-ending nights toward the end of a legislative session. Or the early days of the session when hours are spent each day introducing pages, guests and resolutions.  

There are several lawmakers who simply can’t stop themselves from making long-winded speeches any more than their listeners can stop themselves from falling asleep. My job does require me to listen to the same political speech in Somerset that I heard last week in Glasgow which I previously listened to in Richmond after hearing it the first time at Fancy Farm.

Uh, but you know, other than that . . . I’m never bored.

There was nothing boring about Thursday. Crit Luallen announced she won’t run for governor. It’s difficult to think of anyone who has more hands-on experience and training to be governor. She’s worked for six governors in a variety of capacities; she’s highly respected by members of both parties and she has a well-earned reputation for integrity.

She is also the rare politician who has both a genuine desire to serve and the understanding and skill to manage a budget responsibly while prioritizing spending. Most lawmakers either sympathize with the need for government action but don’t know how to pay for it or in the converse are determined to balance the budget without raising taxes no matter the human cost. Luallen knows how to balance both perspectives.

Critics say she doesn’t have the stomach for a rough-and-tumble campaign or she can’t raise the money. Supporters see the importance Luallen places on her family and personal lives. It’s a shame that the very qualities we say we admire are the ones which make it difficult to go into public service.

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