Adam Edelen, one of the Democratic candidates for the Kentucky’s 2019 gubernatorial election, visited Bowling Green to speak at a forum on Tuesday.
The forum was hosted by the Warren County Democratic Party and took place at State Street Baptist Church, with about 50 people in attendance.
Edelen was elected Kentucky’s State Auditor in 2011. Before that, he served as the chief of staff for former Gov. Steve Beshear from 2008-11. This was the third time he visited Bowling Green as a gubernatorial candidate.
“I hope that demonstrates to you my commitment to engage with people on a personal level,” Edelen said.
At the forum, Edelen discussed his campaign, which is centered on a platform of supporting renewable energy sources to fight climate change and diversifying and modernizing Kentucky’s economy.
“If you don’t believe in climate change, that’s fine, but you’ve got to at least acknowledge that the markets are shifting in support of renewable energy,” Edelen said.
Edelen is the founder of Edelen Strategic Ventures, a company focused on bringing new jobs into Kentucky, and some of those new jobs have been in the energy technology and sustainability industries.
According to his campaign, one of his largest projects in his company included bringing solar and renewable jobs into Eastern Kentucky for out-of-work coal miners.
Edelen said he also supported reforming Kentucky’s criminal justice system and expanding voting rights to disenfranchised people, including former non-violent drug offenders.
Regarding the pension crisis in Kentucky, Edelen said Kentucky’s state legislators needed to protect the pension promises that they made to the state’s educators.
“The pension promise is not the best we can do,” Edelen said. “It’s the least we can do.”
Edelen’s platforms also included fully funding Kentucky’s education system, raising the minimum wage, and supporting rights for women’s reproductive health, among others.
Edelen said he believed he was the better candidate for Kentucky’s Democratic party because he has proven to create jobs in the state and he had a record of “fighting corruption” in the state.
“We need to stop running the government under an antiquated model,” Edelen said. “Our people are ready for something bold, and they’re ready for something that will give them hope.”
Charlene Rabold, chair of the Warren County Democratic Party executive committee, said the party decided to hold individual forums like Edelen’s because it engaged more people with the candidates.
Rabold said there were a similar number of attendees at Edelen’s forum as there were at Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear’s forum on March 25, and she expected a similar turnout at the next candidate forum.
“I think it’s a great time for us to take back some leadership roles and the governor being the first one,” Rabold said, regarding the importance of the election for the Democratic Party. “Once we are successful in doing that, then we can hopefully take back the legislature.”
The other three gubernatorial candidates in Kentucky’s Democratic primary include Beshear; Rocky Adkins, Kentucky House of Representatives Minority Leader; and Geoff Young, perennial candidate who ran for governor of Kentucky in 2015.
The next candidate forum will be for Rep. Rocky Adkins on May 7 at the Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library.
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.