In light of next Tuesday’s primary election, Heather French Henry visited Owensboro on Tuesday to speak about her candidacy for Kentucky Secretary of State. French Henry, an advocate for veterans and one of four candidates competing in the democratic primary for the position, spoke to a group of around 100 people about her past political experience, her plans and hopes for the future and her ongoing dedication to military veterans across the Commonwealth.
Daviess County Sheriff Keith Cain introduced French Henry before the crowd and told those present that her campaign — which should lead to a fairly easy primary win, according to Cain — still needed financial support heading into the November general election.
“These elections do cost money,” Cain said. “We do need your help — financially and otherwise. Please keep that in mind tonight.”
Cain spoke of French Henry’s past political experience, acknowledging her 20 years of support toward veterans, her ability to cross party lines by having served as commissioner and deputy commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs under Governors Steve Beshear (D) and Matt Bevin (R) and the legislative policies she developed to best utilize her department’s $100 million dollar annual budget.
French Henry, who won the titles of Miss Kentucky in 1999 and Miss America in 2000, spoke highly of Owensboro before diving into her campaign speech. French Henry’s connection to the local area stems largely from her husband and former Kentucky Lieutenant Governor Steve Henry’s side of the family being raised in Owensboro.
“Our girls feel like they’re from Owensboro as well, and many of you all have been our friends and family for many, many years,” French Henry said.
Eight years ago, French Henry said she was balancing running a business and her family, causing her to hold off on a campaign for Secretary of State. That year, the office went to Alison Lundergan Grimes, who’s held the position since 2012.
Now, French Henry said, is her time to run.
“When I knew this race was coming back around, after five years of leading the Kentucky Department of Veterans Affairs, I felt I was ready,” she said. “One, because I knew I had the experience it took to lead a large department state-wide, and to really effectuate change in state government. I think all of us can agree that at the end of everything in Frankfort, we just want great work to get done.”
French Henry said being able to work both sides of the aisle would be a key component in leading a successful election and, if all goes according to her plan, a successful four years as Secretary of State.
“The Secretary of State’s office is a vitally important office that very little is known about from citizens of the Commonwealth,” French Henry said. “We think about someone who is there to be a watchdog, make sure all your votes count, to make sure all your votes are secure, to make sure that there is great cyber security put in place so that next Tuesday, when ya’ll go vote for Heather French Henry that you can be confident that the process that’s been put in place is one of the utmost security.”
French Henry said many programs in state government can be streamlined and made easier for the citizens of Kentucky to access. Even more, Kentucky’s history is something French Henry wants to focus on preserving if she’s elected to office. Unbeknownst to many, she said, the Secretary of State’s office houses all of the historic land grants that make up the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
“It’s a lesser known program, but I really love the inner workings of state government. How can you know where you want to go if you don’t know who you are, or where you’re from?” she asked. “I think that’s important — especially for our young people — to let them understand the history of our great Commonwealth, so we can look beyond to the future.”