State representative discusses gubernatorial campaign at open forum

Rocky Adkins

Nicole Ziege

Rep. Rocky Adkins, one of the Democratic candidates for Kentucky’s 2019 Democratic gubernatorial election, visited Bowling Green to speak at a forum on Tuesday.

The forum, which saw about 40 attendees, was hosted by the Warren County Democratic Party and took place at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library.

Adkins is currently the Kentucky House of Representatives minority leader, and he represents the 99th District, which covers Elliott, Lewis and Rowan counties. He has served in the House for 32 years, since 1987.

“This country’s economy was not built from the top down,” Adkins said. “It was built from the bottom up and the middle up, and I believe that middle-class and working-class families are worth fighting for.”

Adkins said he hopes to bring “dignity and respect” back to the governor’s office, and he wants Kentucky to come together and work as a team, which he said he has had experience in doing while serving in the state legislature.

During the forum, Adkins discussed his campaign, which centered on supporting education through funding.  

Additionally, Adkins said he wanted to expand and support more programs for younger students around the ages of 3 and 4, to help give them a head start in their education.

Adkins said he also wanted to focus more state funding into public universities in order to stop rising tuition costs, which he said has been harshly affecting working class families and students in the state.

One of Adkins’ education policies he expressed support for was investing more into Kentucky’s technical colleges to help more students pursue two-year degrees and certificate programs.

With this, Adkins said he supported creating tuition-free technical college programs to help more students go into trade fields. Currently, there are 17 states that offer tuition-free community college programs, including Tennessee, Illinois, New York and Maryland.

“We would be investing in that workforce,” Adkins said. “Not everyone is made for a four-year degree.”

Adkins said he supported the use of medical marijuana and more accessible healthcare for all Kentuckians. As a cancer survivor, he said he cared deeply about the affordability of healthcare for people in the state, as well as expanding the state’s healthcare industry.

Adkins said he supported taking Kentucky’s workforce into the 21st century by investing in more renewable energy research.

With other candidates running in the Democratic party, Adkins said he felt like he was the best candidate because he had the experience of working with both parties in the state legislature for many years.

“That’s what you need right now, someone who’s been in the trenches,” Adkins said. “I don’t need to go to school. I don’t need any classes or do any training for the job. I’ve had the training for the past 32 years.”

The other three gubernatorial candidates in Kentucky’s Democratic primary include Beshear; Adam Edelen, Kentucky’s former State Auditor and Geoff Young, perennial candidate who ran for governor of Kentucky in 2015.

Primary elections in Kentucky will take place May 21, 2019.

The gubernatorial candidates in Kentucky’s Republican primary include Incumbent Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin; Robert Goforth, Kentucky state representative; Ike Lawrence, 2018 candidate for mayor of Lexington and William Woods, 2012 candidate for the 66th District in the Kentucky House of Representatives.

News reporter Nicole Ziege can be reached at 270-745-6011 and [email protected] Follow her on Twitter at @NicoleZiege.