Charlie Borders has represented the 18th District in the state Senate for 16 years now.

He’s also moved into one of the most powerful positions in the General Assembly as chairman of the Appropriations and Revenue Committee, which controls spending for the entire state.

But Borders, R-Grayson, faces a candidate in the Nov. 7 general election who has her own unique experience where the 18th District — which covers Bracken, Carter, Greenup, Lewis, Mason and Robertson counties — is concerned.

After all, Carol Rice Allen’s late husband, Nelson Allen, was the district’s senator for 18 years.

“You don’t go 18 years married to a senator without learning how it works,” Carol Allen said.

More recently, Nelson Allen was a two-term member of Greenup County Fiscal Court. He died in office last year.

He had requested that his wife fulfill his term, but Gov. Ernie Fletcher appointed a Republican for the spot.

Allen, D-Bellefonte, said she originally intended to run for the fiscal court this fall, but was persuaded by the state Democratic Party to set her sights on the larger post her husband previously occupied.

“I was drafted, and I spent a long time in prayer,” Allen said. “Then I accepted.”

Allen said the major reason she decided to run was to try and “turn things around for the middle class” of Kentucky.

The way to do that, she said, is to work to bring high-wage jobs into the district and find ways to provide working families with health-care plans they can afford.

But also tied to the issue, she said, is education.

“Education has not been adequately funded,” she said. “In the past four years, we’ve gone backwards because of it.

“Economic development and education go hand-in-hand.”

Education, health care and jobs have also been a big part of Borders’ campaign.

“Those are the major initiatives,” the incumbent said. “We need to make sure we continue to fund education, continue to build our infrastructure to bring in new jobs and make sure everyone has affordable, quality health care.”

Borders said he doesn’t believe bi-partisan cooperation has ever been better among politicians in Frankfort, and points to special sessions that resulted in better health- care plans for teachers and state workers and a tax modernization plan as evidence.

He said the cooperation is particularly strong among legislators from northeastern Kentucky.

“I think we’re a team now, and we’re winning for our district,” he said. “We don’t look as someone’s voter registration, we just look at the problem, and see how we can go out and get it solved.”

Borders is proud of his experience, noting that he’s worked in the Senate under five different administrations, and now in the majority and heading up one of the legislature’s most important committees.

“You have someone with 16 years experience in a position of leadership,” he said. “We have to ask ourselves when we go to the polls, should we make changes?”

Allen argued experience is only as good as what has been accomplished in that time.

“(Borders) votes with his party 90 percent of the time, and he hasn’t utilized his experience to bring programs and policies to help Kentucky’s economy and education,” she said. “He’s done a lot for an out-of-district hospital in King’s Daughters, and he’s let (Our Lady of) Bellefonte, which is in his district, flounder.

“I want to roll up my sleeves and help people in this district. Right now, they’re not getting the help they need.”

Borders defended his accomplishments while in the Senate, saying a foundation has been built for future success as well.

“If (Allen) is elected, she won’t be able to chair a committee like appropriations and revenue; she won’t even be on the committee,” he said. “I’m not putting anyone down, but you have to look at the facts.

“When the team is winning, you don’t mess with the lineup.”

BEN FIELDS can be reached at or (606) 326-2651.

State Senate,

18th District

Charlie Borders, Republican

Age: 58

Occupation: Director of Administrative Services, King’s Daughters Medical Center; Executive Director, KDMC Health Foundation.

Education: Graduate, Hitchins High School, 1966; bachelor’s degree, Morehead State University, 1975; master’s degree, MSU, 1977.

Political experience: State Senator, 18th District, 1990-present.

No. 1 goal: To build off of the bi-partisan foundation laid in the region for the betterment of the residents of the 18th District.

Carol Rice Allen, Democrat

Age: 63

Occupation: Retired teacher, Russell Independent School District, Marshall University.

Education: Graduate, Ashland High School, 1961; bachelor’s degree, Morehead State University, 1965; master’s degree, MSU, 1970.

Political experience: First run for elected office; member of the Greenup County Tourism Commission (appointed), 2003-present.

No. 1 goal: To make life better for working class families in the 18th District.

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