MOREHEAD “Common sense for the commonwealth.”
That was the message, now turned campaign slogan, for State Rep. Rocky Adkins, D-Sandy Hook, to a capacity crowd at the Morehead Conference Center Wednesday afternoon when he formally announced his 2019 bid for Kentucky governor.
The current state representative of the 99th District, which serves Elliott, Lewis and Rowan counties, has served as Majority Floor Leader and is the Minority Floor Leader.
Now his mission’s focus has turned toward the state’s highest seat, which will require a primary election clash against, at minimum, Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, and then Gov. Matt Bevin next fall.
“As governor I will work for you day in and day out, not for special interests, but for you,” Adkins told the standing room only crowd of more than 1,000. “I’ll work toward a better Kentucky for your family and mine, for those who’ve worked hard to put food on the table and a roof over their family’s head.”
Adkins, 59, was joined by Kentucky’s 59th governor, Paul Patton. The two worked together in Frankfort during Patton’s two terms. “He (Rocky) understands what Kentucky wants ... good jobs,” Patton said. “There’s no harder working people than here in Kentucky.”
Patton said thanks to Adkins’ efforts during his 31 years of service in the House, the Elliott County native has brought thousands of jobs into Kentucky.
“Rocky knows that good jobs also depend on education,” the former governor said. “That’s how we move forward.”
Adkins was also joined by his running mate, Stephanie Horne.
Horne is a small business owner, attorney, veteran’s wife and a Jefferson County School Board member.
The prospective lieutenant governor said she was proud to stand up for the future of Kentucky and education, much like she stood up for Jefferson County Schools when threatened to be taken over by the state.
“I will stand up for students in every county,” Horne said. “Access to education is so important to our youth. We can do better, be better and work together for the sake of our children.”
Adkins said he wants to fight to restore the American dream in Kentucky, along with funding the pensions of public employees.
“I want to fight for a better tomorrow for our youth, who deserve the best opportunities possible at their fingertips,” he said. “I will also fight for our public employees, firefighters, police officers, educators, janitors, cooks and school bus drivers that shouldn’t have to beg for the pension that they were promised. A pension is a promise that must be kept and as governor I will keep that promise.”
Adkins went on to take a subtle jab at the current governor who attempted to overhaul public employee’s pensions through SB 151, “the sewer bill.”
“A governor who declares war on the very people he takes an oath to serve is not only out of order, but should be out of office,” Adkins asserted.
Adkins also touched on diversifying the economy of rural Kentucky, fighting for veterans and their affordable health care, election issues such early voting and the continuing efforts of combating the opioid epidemic.
“The great people of this state deserve better,” he said. “This is about people over politics and restoring common sense to the commonwealth. It will not be easy, but we don’t do what’s easy. We do what is necessary and right.”
The former Morehead State University basketball player said the fight to make these changes is one that the residents of Kentucky do not have to fight for alone any longer.
“You don’t have to fight alone for better roads, health care, educations and jobs,” Adkins said. “I will stand shoulder to shoulder with you as we make Kentucky a better place.
“I’m proud to be from rural eastern Kentucky, but I will be a governor for all of Kentucky.”
The evening concluded with Adkins joining the local traditional music group, “The Rocky Toppers,” by playing guitar and singing lead for “Rollin’ In My Sweet Baby’s Arms.”
The 2019 primary election will be May 21.
Other Democrats believed likely to file before the Jan. 28 deadline are former state Auditor Adam Edelen, Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes and state Rep. Attica Scott.
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