State races intensify in local districts: Ky. senate, representative seats up for grabs

While the U.S. presidential race between Republican Mitt Romney and incumbent Democrat Barack Obama comes to a head on Nov. 6, several other key state and regional elections will also be decided, making this election one of the most important in state history.

Calloway County, housed in District No. 1, has long been represented by Republican Ed Whitfield as a state U.S. representative. This year, however, he’s up against Paducah native and Marshall County resident Charles Hatchett (D), a fourth-generation real estate broker and principal auctioneer in the area.

Hatchett stands for revamping trade agreements to free and fair trade, ensuring companies using labor from Asia and Mexico will pay the equivalent to domestic minimum wage.

He also believes having a congressional council, similar to small city councils, will help balance powers in Congress, as the council will oversee the district affairs including the vote.

An attendee and speaker at the 132nd Fancy Farm Picnic this year, Hatchett channeled the past deeds of previous vice-president and west Kentucky native Alben Barkley and discussed his plans should he be elected for a U.S. Representative term.

“The servant or congressman needs to have a wise council of 10 people,” Hatchett said. “A small city mayor has a city council to help check and balance his action. We can no longer trust a congressman with 30 counties and no control on what he’s doing.”

In response, current Congressman Whitfield has taken a strong stance on jobs and the economy, west Kentucky’s importance in the energy sector, the National Healthcare Plan and the rising national debt.

“One of the best ways to spur economic growth and create new jobs is by investing in new energy technologies,” Whitfield said. “Kentucky has long been an energy leader, and I have worked to enact policies which utilize resources we have right in our own backyard, including coal, while lowering costs for consumers.”

Republican Ken Winters, a state senator for District No. 1 since 2005, will not be running for re-election this year.

New candidate Carroll Hubbard ran unopposed in the May 22 primary election and garnered the Democratic nod, while current Trigg County Judge-Executive Stan Humphries is the Republican nominee for next year’s vacant seat.

Long focused on improvements in education for the area, Winters told The Murray State News in February of his intentions to step down from position, citing family health as a key reason for his resignation.

“Every young person we have in Kentucky deserves the best experience in education we can provide for them,” Winters said. “Our state depends on young people coming through the system right now.”

A representative for the area from 1975-93, Hubbard served two years in prison after pleading guilty to violations of campaign finance laws, but has been running for re-election to the Kentucky Senate since 2006, losing by only 56 votes in his return bid to the seat.

Hubbard is a native of Murray and graduated from Georgetown College in 1959 and the Louis D. Bradies University of Louisville School of Law in 1962.

In 2006, Stan Humphries became the first Republican Judge-Executive in several decades, ending nearly 80 years of Democratic control of the county seat. A proponent of agriculture and small business, Humphries is making his first attempt at running for the General Assembly.

Both Hubbard and Humphries were also both in attendance at this year’s Fancy Farm Picnic.

“Calloway, Lyon and Trigg Counties will receive my full attention as to their needs and goals,” Hubbard said. “Fortunately, their unemployment rates are lower than (Fulton and Graves counties).”

Hubbard also discussed the vacating of plants such as Johnson Controls in Cadiz, Ky., and General Tire in Mayfield, Ky., as well as the lack of industry in Carlisle County and Hickman County.

“I know where the problems are and I know how to fix them,” Humphries said. “I’ve lived in Western Kentucky all my life, and I’m from Trigg County and proud of it.”

Story by Edward Marlowe, Staff writer.