Richards expected to make gubernatorial campaign announcement today

Dave Shinall

Former College Heights Herald faculty adviser Jody Richards, D-Bowling Green, was scheduled to officially announce his candidacy for governor in an 8 a.m. press conference today at South Campus.

Richards has been Speaker of the Kentucky House of Representatives since 1995 and has represented House District 20 since 1976.

“Now, I want to serve all of the people of Kentucky to the best of my abilities as their governor,” he said in a news release.

Richards was scheduled to announce Jefferson Circuit Court Clerk Tony Miller as his running mate.

“Together, I am certain that we can strengthen our economy, build on educational excellence and bring greater prosperity and security to all Kentuckians,” he said in the release.

Miller balances and improves the ticket’s chance at winning the Democratic primary in May, said Saundra Ardrey, head of Western’s government department.

“Richards may have problems with name recognition outside this area, and Tony Miller, coming from Jefferson County, will strengthen his chances,” she said.

Fellow Democrat Rob Wilkey, District 22 representative from Franklin, called Richard’s bid to become Kentucky’s 60th chief executive “a logical extension of legislative politics.”

“I’m very excited about Speaker Richards’ candidacy,” Wilkey said. “We need great leaders. I think he’s the most experienced and most qualified for the job.”

Richards, 64, taught journalism at Western from 1964 until 1973. He served as student newspaper adviser from 1964 until 1970.

Richards owns wholesale book distributor Superior Books, Inc.

He calls education his “signal issue.” In his first term in the legislature, he chaired the House Education Committee and later helped draft Kentucky’s Education Reform Act.

After their scheduled announcement in Bowling Green today, Richards and Miller were slated to make a similar announcement in Miller’s hometown of Louisville, Newport and Frankfort.

Richards will be the second Democrat to officially announce his candidacy for governor after today. Attorney General Ben Chandler, with Louisville businessman Charlie Owen as his running mate, made his campaign announcement in Chandler’s hometown of Versailles Tuesday.

Sixth District U.S. Representative Ernie Fletcher, of Lexington, is the only full-fledged Republican gubernatorial candidate so far. He made his announcement Monday. Hunter Baxter, a former aide to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell is Fletcher’s pick for lieutenant governor.

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