Kentucky House Minority Leader Rocky Adkins officially announced his candidacy for governor of Kentucky on Nov. 14. On Tuesday, Adkins visited Owensboro with his newly appointed lieutenant governor running mate, Stephanie Horne.
Adkins will be running in the democratic primary election against Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear, who announced his candidacy for governor in July 2018. While others may still announce their candidacies for the upcoming primary election for governor, Adkins and Beshear are expected to lead the race in the Democratic primary in 2019.
Government experience is on Adkins’ side in the upcoming election. Adkins has served in the House of Representatives since 1987, and he currently serves as the State House Democratic Leader, the Democrats’ highest leadership position in the Commonwealth.
“You know, I’ve been encouraged to run for governor from all over Kentucky, from Pikeville to Paducah, here in Owensboro and Daviess County as well,” Adkins said. “People have asked me to run because they believe that I know Kentucky, I understand Kentucky. They believe I’m the candidate that can bring seasoned experience along with proven leadership because of my public service over the years, and the leadership I’ve provided as majority leader in the Kentucky House.”
Adkins unapologetically described the ways in which he disagrees with Republican and current Governor Matt Bevin’s stance on governmental policies and state leadership. As a former teacher and someone whose father taught for 39 years, Adkins said he understands the duress public educators have been under since Bevin’s election.
“There’s no question that the agenda in Frankfort from this government is an agenda I don’t agree with,” Adkins said. “His [Bevin’s] agenda of public education — his agenda on the passage of charter schools, trying to privatize public education and, again, his disrespecting teachers and public employees — I don’t agree with this.
“I don’t agree with this government agenda when it comes to trying to privatize public pensions,” Adkins added. “A promise made is a promise that must be kept. This past session, I stood with teachers and public employees and working families. I stood there day after day, rallying with them and supporting them. I understand the importance of having a strong, public pension system.”
Aside from education, Adkins also disagrees with Bevin’s policies on taxes, working families and healthcare, stating that the tax bill that passed — raising taxes for 95 percent of Kentuckians while lowering them for the top 5 percent — was bad tax policy.
“It didn’t exempt taxes on nonprofits in this community and others across Kentucky,” Adkins said of the tax bill.
As for healthcare, Adkins is a cancer survivor who feels passionately that Bevin’s attempt to strip Kentuckians of their health insurance was not only a bad move for individuals, but a bad move for the healthcare industry.
“I’m a cancer survivor, and to try and take a hundred thousand people off of health insurance, people that had it for the first time, working two to three jobs a day — I think that’s wrong,” Adkins said. “When the healthcare industry across Kentucky hurts thousands of people across the Commonwealth — thousands of people — that has an impact on every economy across this great Commonwealth.”