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Kentucky representative and minority floor leader Rocky Adkins announced his campaign for governor with Stephanie Horne at Steamers Seafood on November 20. 

Though the 2018 election cycle has just ended, candidates are already gearing up for the 2019 races.

Next November, Kentuckians will head to the polls to elect the next governor. Democratic candidates, state Attorney general Andy Beshear and State Representative Rocky Adkins, have filed paperwork to challenge incumbent governor and presumptive Republican nominee Matt Bevin,.

Adkins, a native of Morehead, hosted a meet and greet in Bowling Green Tuesday, Nov. 20, to tout reform measures he would implement as governor.

Bill Harris, a retired judge from Simpson County, was one of the citizens in attendance.

“I believe we have a strong field of Democrats for the nomination,” Harris said, “But I think that Rocky Adkins has the best appeal to rural voters.”

“Stephanie and I came here because West Kentucky is important to us,” Adkins said. “The issues you face here are the same issues I face where I am from.”

Healthcare reform is an aspect Adkins said he considers especially important. As a 23-year cancer survivor, Adkins wrote on his campaign site he believes in affordable healthcare as a right to everyone.

“We must pass sensible policies that keep Kentucky healthy, while supporting our health care providers,” Adkins wrote on the campaign site. “It is imperative to the future of our Commonwealth that we work to curb the opioid epidemic. We must pass sensible legislation that will keep our neighborhoods safe and increase access to treatment programs.”

Adkins also spoke on education, an issue that has come to the forefront in recent months. “Our campaign is going to be about how we strengthen public education and make it work with workforce development,” Adkins said.

Adkins is running on a Democratic primary ticket along with Stephanie Horne as Lieutenant Governor. Horne is a resident of Jefferson County and works as an attorney and a small business owner.

Horne said she is an advocate of mental help for veterans. Her husband served in Iraq and once he returned she said she met families of veterans with mental health problems. 

"We need to make veterans a priority,” Horne said.

Horne is also a member of the Jefferson County School Board and, like Adkins, is a firm supporter of public education.

“The language coming from our Governor degrading and disrespecting our public educators, I’m not going to stand for it.”

State Representatives Wilson Stone, Jody Richards and the newly elected Patti Minter were in attendance at the event, and were thanked and congratulated by Adkins for their achievements.

Adkins finished his speech with a thanks to those who attended, and his vision for the future of the campaign.

“This campaign is not about us,” Adkins said, “It’s about you.”

 Reporter Jack Dobbs can be reached at 270-745-0655 and jack.dobbs469@topper.wku.edu.