Republican state candidates state cases for Logan votes
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

Bolstered by the belief that Republican nominees can sweep the Constitutional offices in Kentucky this year, several of the party’s most well-known political figures gathered in Russellville Jan. 29 to make their pitches for support from Logan County’s most active Republicans.
State Senate President David Williams, considered one of Kentucky’s three most powerful figures along with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell and Governor Steve Beshear, was one of the speakers at the Logan County Lincoln Day Dinner at the Sportsman Club at City-County Park.
Williams, who is seeking the office of governor with Commissioner of Agriculture Richie Farmer as his running mate, has significant competition for the Republican nomination before meeting Beshear in November. The man who may be his more formidable challenger, Louisville entrepreneur Phil Moffett, also spoke at the dinner. His running mate for lieutenant governor, Representative Mike Harmon of Boyle County, also was among the campaigners.
Also speaking were candidates for secretary of state Bill Johnson and Hilda Legg, auditor Addia Wuchner and John Kemper, commissioner of agriculture Jamie Coker, and attorney general Todd P'Pool.
Larry Noe, who ran well as the Republican nominee for state representative last November, served as master of ceremonies. Retired representative Sheldon Baugh, who was praised by many of the candidates, conducted a fund-raising auction for Republican activities. Long-time party activist J.R. Cundiff said 107 people paid for tickets to the event, about four times as many as attended when the event started just a few years earlier.
Representatives of Congressman Ed Whitfield and U.S. Senators McConnell and Rand Paul all spoke briefly to the group.
Governor/Lt. Governor
Williams, who was accompanied by his wife Robin, a former district judge, has presided over the Kentucky Senate for a decade. “We now have enough votes to pass an amendment and let citizens decide if they want to require a balanced budget,” he said. “I’m old enough to remember when people thought Barry Goldwater was too conservative. Public sentiment has gone much further than that now. We welcome representatives of the tea party movement and the ideas they bring in.”
He talked about his standing up to repeated attempts to expand legalized gambling in the state. He said he was warned how powerful wealthy advocates of gambling can be. “I told them they don’t know they are dealing with the most independent poor person in the world.”
Williams promised open access to state government if he is living in the governor’s mansion, which he says he will do in contrast to the Beshears, who have continued to live in their private home. “People should not dread calling state government,” he said.
A resident of Cumberland County whose father was a basketball coach, Williams said he remembers coming to Logan County every other year on overnight trips to play against Auburn and Lewisburg high schools. He also talked emotionally about his grandmother, who came to Russellville to college, setting the example for education in his family.
Williams and his opponent, Moffett, clashed on one educational issue. Moffett said he thinks disruptive students should be expelled from schools because they are “stealing minutes of education from others who want to learn.” Williams, however, said it’s important to work with problem students and do everything we can to educate them so they can lead productive lives.
Moffett has worked at improving educational opportunities in Louisville. He is co-founder of School Choice Scholarships, a charity providing low-income parents the opportunity to send their children to the private school of their choice. His campaign literature says, “Since 1998, SCS has provided over 3,000 scholarships. These children have made incredible academic gains. Phil believes all parents should be empowered with public school choice so they can find schools where their children thrive.”
Also in discussing education at the dinner, he noted one-third of students drop out before graduating and that only one of four Kentucky graduates are prepared for college without some remedial education. Moffett advocates allowing superintendents to “run schools like a business” and the creation of charter schools.
Moffett expressed deep concerns about the state’s bonded indebtedness. He said Kentucky “has been ranked as the worst run state and the eighth most likely state to default” on its debts.
Moffett is a self-made businessman who owns a technology company based in Louisville. “My father was a career felon. My mother is a school dropout. Other family members have had their troubles. “I’m living the American dream,” he said.
His running mate, Harmon, said that he was the first Republican elected state representative from his district in 102 years. He has been elected to that office five times and feels he can help make similar changes in Kentucky.
Secretary of State
Bill Johnson lives in Todd County and was a candidate for the U.S. Senate last year. He calls himself a Ronald Reagan Republican. An electrical engineering graduate of the University of Kentucky, he has a Masters degree in business administration from William & Mary. He was selected for the U.S. Navy Nuclear Propulsion Program and earned numerous prestigious honors during his 10 years in the military.
He has worked in the private sector the last 13 years, working in positions that took him to vver 20 countries. He is a private pilot and aircraft mechanic. His wife Delinda is a teacher, and Bill volunteers in the Todd County school system.
Hilda Legg has managed several complex organizations dedicated to improving people’s lives, from the Center for Rural Development in Somerset to her recent tenure as Administrator of the USDA Rural Utilities Service in Washington D.C. This is her first run for public office.
A native of rural Adair County, Legg began her career as a social studies teacher and was then appointed to President Reagan’s Department of Education in Washington. At the Appalachian Regional Commission and USDA, she worked to provide essential infrastructure to rural America, including electricity, water, and broadband telecommunication. She was McConnell’s first field representative for the Bowling Green area.
She said she helped secure clean water for Logan and Todd counties while working in the Bush Administration. Styling herself as a “grassroots conservative,” she said she appreciates good water, since she was 10 before Adair County had running water.
Auditor of Public Accounts
Addia Wuchner is a state representative from Boone County in Northern Kentucky. She is a former nurse and hospital administrator who is also a breast cancer survivor. She has devoted much of her legislative time to try to improve health care for children and seniors. She also advocates “meaningful support for military families, excellence in education, Second Amendment rights and prevention of child abuse and fatalities.”
She is a graduate of Bellarmine University, attended the University of Louisville, and continued her studies in bioethics at Regina Apostolorum Pontifical University, School of Bioethics in Rome, Italy. She holds an honorary doctorate from Thomas More College.
John Kemper is from Lexington and ran for a seat in Congress last year. He is interested in making Kentucky debt-free without raising taxes.
Commissioner of Agriculture
Representative James ‘Jamie’ Coker is a full-time family farmer from Monroe County. He earned a degree in agriculture from Western Kentucky University and served as state FFA president. The land he farms has been in his family for six generations. He says agriculture is the “most important industry in the world,” and it faces attacks from excessive regulations.
He notes that he has raised more money for his campaign than the other six candidates for the office combined.
Attorney General
The first Republican elected in Hopkins County since the Civil War, Todd P’Pool is a two-time county attorney who is the son of a coal miner. As a law student at the University of Kentucky, he interned in the Kentucky House of Representatives while Baugh was a member.
If he is elected, one of the first things he will do is file legal action to get what Republicans call ‘Obamacare’ declared unconstitutional.

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