By Linda Waggener, assistant director of university communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – House Speaker and Kentucky gubernatorial candidate Jody Richards was guest speaker at the April Taylor County Chamber of Commerce meeting. It occurred in conjunction with the sixth in a series of candidate forums held by Campbellsville University’s Kentucky Heartland Institute for Public Policy (KHIPP) and Team Taylor County.
Richards, the longest serving Speaker in the history of Kentucky, told the audience that one of his top priorities ‘when elected’ would be to push the Heartland Parkway.
The proposed Heartland Parkway will be a connector road between the Bluegrass Parkway north of Springfield and the Louie B. Nunn Parkway in Columbia. The LBN (former Cumberland) Parkway is also the future route of I-66. “Good jobs follow good roads,” Richards said, “and I am pledged to this project.
“In talks with Judge Rogers, I have also committed to work on Green River Lodge as another very important priority for Taylor County. We will make certain that the lodge is built in a Richards-Brown administration.”
He said he will back education reform, raising the minimum wage, protecting teachers’ and state employees’ health insurance, and ensuring equal pay for equal work.
Richards had praise for his running mate. “In John Y. Brown III, I have chosen a man who has served Kentucky with a strong work ethic and an honest approach to government,” he said. “We share a common vision – improving education, protecting working families, and ensuring an administration that every Kentuckian can be proud to elect.”
Richards says that he bases his campaign in a large measure on the public’s perception of him as a principled, honest and experienced leader. “There will be no scandal in a Richards-Brown administration,” he said, referring to his years in Kentucky leadership.
Richards first ran for office in 1975, winning the 20th District seat in the Kentucky House of Representatives, a position he holds to this day. In 1987 he was chosen by his Democratic colleagues in the House to serve as their Majority Caucus Chairman, one of the body’s five leadership positions. In 1995 he was chosen Speaker of the House.
He is the owner of Superior Books, Inc., a wholesale book sales and distribution company in Bowling Green. He and his wife Neva have two children, Roger and Ellen, and a granddaughter, Holly Beth. They are long-time members of Bowling Green’s Greenwood Park Church of Christ.
John Chowning, vice president for church and external relations at CU and executive assistant to the president, the founder of KHIPP, said all major gubernatorial candidates have agreed to participate in the forums, and each event is open to the public.
Chowning said each of the candidates will also be featured on his TV-4 television show, “Dialogue on Public Issues” which is shown Mondays at 6:30 p.m. and Wednesdays at 7 p.m.
“We at Campbellsville University and at Team Taylor County are honored to be able to host these gubernatorial forums,” Chowning said, “Our goal is to allow the public to listen to the major candidates, hear their goals and platforms, and then make educated judgments on who to vote for in the May 22 primary election.”
Campbellsville University, now celebrating her Centennial year, is a private, comprehensive institution located in South Central Kentucky. Founded in 1906, Campbellsville University is affiliated with the Kentucky Baptist Convention and has an enrollment of 2,310 students who represent 100 Kentucky counties, 32 states and 28 foreign nations. Listed in U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges” 14 consecutive years as one of the leading Southern master’s colleges and universities, Campbellsville University is located 82 miles southwest of Lexington, Ky., and 80 miles southeast of Louisville, Ky. Dr. Michael V. Carter is in his eighth year as president.